The decision
Page 71
to fashion this bondage device, then it necessarily had to be an intruder who crafted the
Further, the end portion of the paintbrush and the cord used to construct the garrote were
never found in the house, or elsewhere, nor was the latter sourced to defendants. 34 (SMF
159; PSMF l59.) (SMF 162; PSMF 162.) The black duct tape used on JonBenet's mouth has
also never been sourced to defendants. ( SMF 170; PSMF 170.) Animal hair, alleged to be
from a beaver, was found on the duct tape. (SMF 183; PSMF 183.) Yet, nothing in defendants'
home matches the hair (SMF 183; PSMF 183.), thereby suggesting either that the duct tape
had been obtained from outside the home or that it had been carried outside the home at
some point. Dark animal hairs were also found on JonBenet's hands that have not been
matched to anything in defendants' home. (SMF 184; PSMF 184.)
The above evidence arguably suggests that whoever tied up JonBenet used some items
brought from outside the home to do so. In addition, other fiber evidence supports an
inference that some of these items from outside the home were, at one time, in the second
floor area near JonBenet's bedroom. That is; fibers consistent with those of the cord used to
make the slip knots and garrote were found on JonBenet's bed. (SMF 168; PSMF 168.)
34 The paintbrush, whose middle piece was used to fashion the garrote, was found in the
paint tray in the boiler room in the basement. Supra at 14.

Page 72
This evidence is inconsistent with plaintiff's proposed timeline of events. That is, plaintiff has
hypothesized that Mrs. Ramsey, in a moment of anger, had hit JonBenet's head against
something hard in the second floor bathroom, thereby rendering her child unconscious, and
then spent the rest of the night staging an elaborate kidnapping and torture scenario in the
basement. Discovery of cord fibers, used to tie JonBenet's hands, in the latter's bedroom
arguably undermines plaintiff's sequence of events.
Likewise, other items not belonging on the second floor were found there on the day after the
murder, thereby suggesting that some preparation or activity was ongoing in that area on the
night of the murder. Specifically, a rope was found inside a brown paper sack in the guest
bedroom on the second floor; defendants have indicated that neither of these items belonged
to them. (SMF 181; PSMF 181.) Regardless of its ownership, there is no explanation why a
bag containing a rope would be in the guest bedroom. Further, small pieces of the material on
this brown sack were found in the "vacuuming of JonBenet's bed and in the body bag that
was used to transport her body (SMF 181; PSMF 181), thereby suggesting that either the bag
had been near JonBenet or that someone who had touched the bag had also touched
JonBenet. 35
35 Finally, items were left behind that defendants assert they did not own. (Defs.' Br. In Supp.
Of Summ. J. <67> at 18-19.) A baseball bat not owned by the Ramseys found

Page 73
Plaintiff, of course, argues that any evidence suggesting an intruder was staged by
defendants. Even assuming that all the above evidence could have been staged, however,
defendants point to other evidence for which a theory of contrivance by them seems either
impossible or highly implausible. First, defendants note the existence of several
recently-made unidentified shoeprints containing a "HI-TEC" brand mark were found in the
basement imprinted in mold growing on the basement floor. (SMF 151-152; PSMF 151-152.)
Defendants do not own any "HI-TEC" brand shoes and none of their shoes match the
shoeprint marks. (SMF 153; PSMF 153.) Likewise, another similar partial shoeprint was found
near where JonBenet's body was found. (SMF 155; PSMF 155. ) The owner of the "HI-TEC"
shoe that made the footprints at the murder scene has never been identified. (SMF 154, 155;
PSMF 154, 155. ) In addition, on the wine-cellar door, there is a palmprint that does not match
either of defendants' palmprints. (SMF 156; PSMF 156.) The individual to whom it belongs
has never been identified. (SMF 156; PSMF 156.)
Of course, the existence of these shoeprints and palmprint is not dispositive, as they could
have been made prior to the time of
on the north side of the house has fibers consistent with fibers found in the carpet in the
basement where JonBenet's body was found. (SMF 185; PSMF 185.) Brown cotton fibers on
JonBenet's body, the paintbrush, the duct tape and on the ligature were not sourced and do
not match anything in the Ramsey home. (SMF 181; PSMF 181.)

Page 74
the murder, but they are clearly consistent with an argument that an intruder was in the
basement area. The defendants also offer other undisputed evidence that they contend
clearly establishes that another male was near JonBenet at the time she was murdered.
Specifically, defendants note that unidentified male DNA--which does not match that of a;ny
Ramsey- -was found under JonBenet's fingernails. 36 (SMF 173-174, 177; PSMF 173, 177. )
In addition, male DNA, again not matching any Ramsey, was found in JonBenet's underwear.
( SMF 175 ; PSMF 175.) Likewise, an unidentified Caucasian "pubic or auxiliary" hair, not
matching any Ramsey, was found on the blanket covering JonBenet' body. (SMF 179-180;
PSMF 179-180.) As noted, some wood fragments from the paintbrush used to create the
garotte were found in JonBenet's vagina. Thus, given the existence of undisputed evidence
that JonBenet was sexually assaulted and the discovery of DNA evidence on her person from
an unidentified male--as well as no DNA from any Ramsey--the defendants argue that the
inference of an intruder becomes almost insurmountable. As to the above described
evidence, plaintiff offers no explanation consistent with his theory of the crime. Finally,
defendants note the existence of evidence that they contend establishes, almost to a
certainty, that JonBenet was 36
36 As noted supra, there is evidence that JonBenet was alive at the time she was strangled
and that she may have struggled with her attacker. Supra at 16-17.

Page 75
taken from her bedroom and held against her will by an intruder. Specifically, defendants point
to evidence from the autopsy repor: indicating that a stun gun was used on JonBenet. (SMF
140.) Because it is logical to assume that JonBenet would struggle against an attacker she
did not already know, the use of a stun gun helps to explain why no evidence of a struggle
was found in any of the bedrooms in defendants' home. (SMF 143; PSMF 143,) Further,
defendants state that they have never owned nor operated a stun gun. (SMF 142.) In addition,
no stun gun was ever located at defendants' home nor is there any. evidence that defendants
have ever owned such a gun. Further, the parties agree that a stun gun could be used and
not heard in other rooms of a house. (SMF 141; PSMF 140-141.)
Plaintiff does not agree that a stun gun was used, however, arguing that the evidence
establishing the same is inconclusive. Yet, although plaintiff disputes that a stun gun was
used in the murder, he has failed to produce any evidence to suggest what caused the
burnlike marks on JonBenet. Specifically, defendants have presented photographs of
JonBenet taken Christmas morning that clearly reveal the absence of any marks on her neck.
(See Defs.' Ex. 33 attach. To Summ. J. Mot. <68> .) Yet, the autopsy report clearly shows
reddish, burn-type marks on JonBenet's neck and back. (See Autopsy Photos attach. as
Defs.' Ex. 27-30 to Smit. Dep.) Moreover, defendants have presented the testimony of

Page 76
Dr. Michael Doberson, a forensic pathologist who examined the Boulder Coroner's autopsy
report and autopsy photos, and who concluded that the injuries to "the right side of the face
as well as on the lower left back are patterned injuries most consistent with the application of
a stun gun." (Report of Michael Doberson, M.D., Ph.D. at 5(A) attach. as Ex. 3 to Defs.' Ex.
Vol. I, Part A. ) Defendants' evidence that a stun gun was used, then, stands unrebutted. In
other words, plaintiff has failed to produce evidence that creates a material dispute of fact on
this point or that offers an alternative explanation for the origin of these marks, other than a
stun gun. Accordingly, the Court concludes that the undisputed facts indicate that a stun gun
was used in the commission of the murder.
In addition, the Court notes that defendants have provided' compelling testimony from
homicide detective Andrew Louis Smit, who is widely regarded as an expert investigator, in
support of the intruder theory. (SMF 168; PSMF 168.) Detective Smit has reviewed the
evidence and prepared a comprehensive CD presentation that summarizes this evidence
and offers the inferences that can be logically drawn from that evidence. From a review of this
evidence, Detective Smit believes that JonBenet was subdued by a stun gun, taken from her
bedroom by an unknown intruder, and then sexually assaulted, tortured and murdered by this
intruder in the basement of the defendants' home in Boulder, Colorado. (SMF 3;

Page 77
PSMF 3.) Detective Smit's conclusion as to the cause and timing of JonBenet' s pre-mortem
injuries is shared by defendants' exper:, the coroner of Arapahoe County, Colorado, Dr.
Michael Doberson. (SMF 4; PSMF 4.)
Although most of Detective Smit' s conclusions derive from his analysis of physical evidence,
he has also testified that he has been unable to finds any motive for defendants to murder
their daughter. ( Smit . Dep. at 146.) Absent from the defendants' family history is any
evidence of criminal conduct, sexual abuse, drug or alcohol abuse or violent behavior. (SMF
117-119; PSMF 117-119.) In addition, there was no evidence that JonBenet's bed was wet on
the night of her murder. (Smit Dep. at 145.) 37
37 The Court has reviewed the autopsy photographs of JonBenet and they are gruesome.
They reveal deep ligature marks around her neck as a result of being strangled by a garotte.
As noted supra at 16-17, the evidence indicates that JonBenet was alive when strangled and
may have tried to pull the garotte off her neck. Indeed, a neighbor heard the sound of
screams. Likewise, part of the wood from the paint brush was found inside her vagina and the
evidence indicates that she was sexually assaulted at a time when she was still alive. Sadly,
JonBenet's last moments were painful and terrifying.
Admittedly, it is not unprecedented for parents to kill their children, sometimes even brutally.
Yet, plaintiff's theory of the motivation for the crime- -that Mrs. Ramsey accidentally hit
JonBenet's head on a hard object, thought she was dead, and then tried to stage a hoax
kidnapping--seems at odds with his belief that although Mrs. Ramsey later became aware
that JonBenet was alive, she nonetheless proceeded to garotte, torture, and sexually assault
her child. If Mrs. Ramsey had accidentally hit her child's head, one would think that, upon
becoming aware that the child was still alive, the mother would have been just as likely to call
an ambulance, as to commit a depraved torture/murder of the child.

Page 78
In contrast, Detective Smit opined that there were several factors that could have motivated
an intruder to commit this horrific crime. First, defendants were prominent in the community
and had thrown several large events at their home, thereby providing a large number of
people the opportunity to learn the house's floor plan. Second, Mr. Ramsey received
considerable attention due to the financial success of his company. In fact, news articles
were published that detailed the company's financial success and mentioned Mr. Ramsey in
great detail. (SMF 121 PSMF 121.) In the weeks leading up to the murder, Detective Smit
notes that defendants had a large party at their home in which they entertained hundreds of
people from their church. Also, Mr. Ramsey had spoken at his company's Christmas party
and praised the employees for passing the one billion dollar mark in 'sales. (Smit Dep. at
148.) Third, Detective Smit states that JonBenet was a "pedophile's dream come true." (SMF
122; PSMF 122. ) JonBenet received considerable public attention as "Little Miss Colorado"
and through several beauty pageants in which she participated. (SMF 121; PSMF 121.) On
December 6, 1996, three weeks before the murder, she was in the Lights of December
Parade, an event thousands of people attended. (Smit. Dep. at
Nevertheless, as any theory behind the motivation for Mrs. Ramsey to murder her child is just
that--a theory--the Court has not factored any of these suppositions into its legal analysis of
the evidence in the case.

Page 79
147. ) In addition, on December 25, 1996, while playing at the home of a neighborhood friend,
JonBenet told her friend's mother that "Santa Claus" was going to pay her a "special" visit
after Christmas and that it was a secret. (SMF 124; PSMF 124.) The person who may have
said this to JonBenet has never been identified. (SMF 125; PSMF 125.)
Based on the above undisputed evidence, defendants contend they are entitled to summary
judgment because there is virtually no evidence to support plaintiff's theory that they
murdered their child, but abundant evidence to support their belief that an intruder entered
their home at some point during the night of December 25, 1996 and killed their daughter. As
a legal matter, if plaintiff cannot prove, by clear and convincing evidence that defendants
committed this crime, he cannot demonstrate that their' statement concerning his status as a
suspect were made with the requisite malice. (Defs.' Br. In Supp. Of Summ. J. <67> at 17.)
Defendants further contend that their legal position is buttressed by the fact that plaintiff has
not yet been cleared as a suspect, by the Boulder Police Department. (Id. at 17-18.)
4. Evidence in Support of Plaintiff's Theory
Plaintiff admits that he has no direct evidence that Mrs. Ramsey committed the murder. (PI.'s
Br. In Opp. To Summ. J. <88> at 9, 11 & 21-22.) Rather, to show malice, he relies solely on
circumstantial evidence to prove that Mrs. Ramsey murdered her

Page 80
daughter and Mr. Ramsey assisted in the subsequent coverup. (Id. ) A plaintiff in a public
figure libel case may successfully prove actual malice by circumstantial evidence.
Harte-Hanks Communications v. Connaughton, 491 U.S. 657, 66B (1989); Herbert v. Lando,
441 U.S. 153, 160 (1979) . See also Hunt v. Liberty Lobby, 720 F.2d 631, 643 (11 th Cir.
19B3) ("Absent admission by defendant that he knew his material was false or that he
doubted its truth, a public figure in prosecuting a libel action must rely upon circumstantial
evidence to prove his case.")
Yet, other than a contention that Mrs. Ramsey authorized the Ransom Note, the
circumstantial evidence proffered in support of plaintiff's claim is based almost exclusively on
the theories espoused by former Detective Steve Thomas in his book.]8 (See ]
8 Plaintiff does offer two arguments, not involving the issue of the identity of the murderer, in
support of a finding of malice. First, plaintiff argues that Mrs. Ramsey's admission that she
destroyed her handwritten book notes is strong evidence of malice. (PI.'s Br. In Opp. To
Defs.' Summ. J. Mot. <88> at 21 (citing to Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. v. Jacobson,
827 F.2d 1119, 1134 (7th Cir. 1987) (stating that intentional destruction of evidence is "strong
evidence of malice").) The record, however, establishes that Mrs. Ramsey threw away her
handwritten book notes as she was writing the Book and did not destroy any documents once
this suit was filed. (P. Ramsey Dep. at 21.) Pre-litigation destruction of documents does not
indicate "actual malice." Strange v. Cox. Enters., Inc., 211 Ga. App. 731, 734,440 S.E.2d
503,507 (1994) .
Plaintiff further contends that Mr. Ramsey's admission that he avoided investigating any of the
facts concerning forensic evidence is also evidence of malice. (PI.'s Sr. In Opp. To Defs.'
Summ. J. Mot. . <88) at 22.) Mr. Ramsey did state that he had seen evidence concerning[BR> plaintiff's

Alert | IP
Printer-friendly page | Edit | Reply | Reply With Quote | Top
Charter Member
13317 posts
Apr-17-03, 04:24 PM (EST)

10. "RE: Carnes text"
In response to message #9

Page 81
generally PI.'s Sr. In Opp. To Defs.' Summ. J. Mot. <88> at 6, 21; PSDMF 44-75.) Further I
whereas Detective Smit's summary testimony concerning the investigation is based on
evidence, Detective Thomas' theories appear to lack substantial evidentiary support. (Id. )
Indeed, while Detective Smit is an experienced and respected homicide detective, Detective
Thomas had no investigative experience concerning homicide cases prior to this case. (Smit.
Dep. at 69.) In short, the plaintiff's evidence that the defendants killed their daughter and
covered up their crime is based on little more than the fact that defendants were present in
the house during the murder.
As the arguments in his brief opposing defendants' summary judgment motion are largely
restatements of the arguments he makes in support of his efforts to have the testimony of his
forensic' document examiners admitted, plaintiff implicitly acknowledges the dearth of
physical evidence supporting his argument. (See id. at 3, 5-6, 9-10, 13-19.) In short, the only
hard evidence, as
possible association with the case and received summaries of the Boulder authorities'
handwriting evidence, which concluded that Mrs. Ramsey probably did not write the Ransom
Note. (J. Ramsey Dep. at 12, 62 & 73-74.) He also asserts that he had no reason to doubt
any of this information. (Id. at 73-74.) As a matter of law, he is entitled to rely on this
information. See New York Times Co v. Conner, 365 F.2d 567, 576 (5th Cir. 1966) (defendant
entitled to rely on single source even if source one-sided). See also McFarlane v. Sheridan
Square Press, Inc., 91 F.3d 1501, 1510 (D.C. Cir. 1996) (stating there is no independent duty
to corroborate information, if no reason to doubt truthfulness.)

Page 82
opposed to theories, that plaintiff proffers to support his accusation that Mrs.Ramsey
murdered her child is evidence indicating that she wrote the Ransom Note. The Court agrees
with plaintiff that, if plaintiff adduced clear and convincing evidence from which a reasonable
jury could infer that Mrs. Ramsey wrote the Ransom Note, this evidence would then be
sufficient to create a jury issue as to whether Mrs. Ramsey killed her child. In other words, if
Mrs. Ramsey wrote the Ransom Note, this Court could conclude, as could a reasonable jury,
that she was involved in the murder of her child.
The question then is whether plaintiff has proffered such clear and convincing evidence. This
Court has earlier ruled that plaintiffs' expert, Mr. Epstein, is qualified to compare Mrs.
Ramsey's handwriting with that contained in the Ransom Note for' the purposes of pointing
out similarities in the two. The Court, however, has concluded that Epstein cannot properly
testify that he is certain that Mrs. Ramsey was the author of the Note. For purposes of
assessing whether plaintiff has met its burden of proof, however, the Court will analyze the
evidence, assuming that Epstein could testify as to his proffered conclusion, as well as
assuming that he could testify only as to similarities between both the Ransom Note and Mrs.
Ramsey's known handwriting samples.

Page 83
5 . Analysis of the Two Theories
a. Consideration of Epstein'. Testimony That There Were Similarities Between Mrs. Ramsey'.
Handwriting and the Ransom Note
As discussed supra, much of the physical evidence is consistent with an inference that an
intruder came into the Ramsey's home and murdered their child. Specifically, there was a
broken window in the basement and the window well for that window showed signs that
someone may have entered the house through it. Indeed, some of the foliage and debris from
that window well was found in the room where JonBenet's body was found. Further, the
evidence of stun gun injuries to JonBenet suggests that she was taken by someone who
wanted to keep her quiet as he removed her from her bedroom; a parent would not need a
stun gun to remove a child from her bedroom. Conversely, the use of a stun' gun by the killer
is totally at odds with plaintiff's theory that the violence against JonBenet began by Mrs.
Ramsey accidentally hit her daughter's head on the bathtub or bathroom floor. In addition, the
presence of a bag containing a rope in a guest bedroom near JonBenet s arguably supports a
notion that some premeditation and preparation attended the crime.
Other physical evidence is consistent with a theory that an intruder was in the home. There
was a recently made shoeprint, in a moldy area in the basement, that matched no shoes
owned by the Ramseys. There was also a palmprint on the door to the small room

Page 84
where JonBenet's body was found that did not match the Ramseys' prints. DNA evidence
was further consistent with the possibility of an intruder, as JonBenet had the DNA of an
unknown male under some of her fingernails and on her underpants. The evidence also
indicated that JonBenet had been sexually assaulted and her vagina contained wood fibers
from the paint brush used to fashion the garotte.
The method by which JonBenet was killed also suggests it more likely that she was killed by
an intruder than by her mother. JonBenet was strangled through the use of a garotte and
bondage device that was sophisticated and employed the use of a series of tightly and neatly
made knots that would appear to have taken some time to make. There is no evidence that
the defendants had the skill to create such a device. Moreover, it is plaintiff's theory' that, after
thinking she had accidentally killed her daughter, Mrs. Ramsey worked quickly, before the
household awoke, to set up a staged kidnapping scenario. The creation of this bondage
device would appear to have required more time and calm than one would think Mrs. Ramsey
could have mustered under the circumstances.
Plaintiff has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the Ramseys
murdered their child; they have no burden to prove that they did not commit the crime. The
above recited evidence falls well short of the requisite proof that the

Page 85
defendants killed their child. Plaintiff argues, however, that the Ransom Note provides this
necessary proof.
At first blush, and even without an appraisal of the handwriting, the Ransom Note seems to
support plaintiff's argument that the kidnapping was a hoax set up by someone in the house. It
is an extremely long and detailed note of over three pages. Moreover, an examination of the
notepad on which the note was written indicates that the writer had attempted some earlier
drafts of the note. In addition, the writer had apparently not even brought his own materials,
but instead had used a note pad and felt marker from the Ramsey's home. These facts
suggest that the killer had not come prepared with a ransom note already written, as one
would expect a diligent kidnapper to do. Further, one does not assume that an intruder, intent
on beating a hasty retreat, would take the time to practice writing a note or to write a long,
detailed note. These assumptions then might suggest that someone in the house contrived
the note.
Defendants have argued, however, that it is just as plausible that the killer had been hiding
away in the home for many hours, waiting for the household to go to sleep, before he sprung
into action. That waiting time would have allowed him the leisure to write a note. Further, the
length of time that it took to practice and write the note could also conceivably undermine a
notion that Mrs. Ramsey wrote it. Under plaintiff's scenario,

Page 86
Mrs. Ramsey was working quickly to create a staged crime scene before her husband and
son awoke. Given those time constraints, and presumably a desire to provide as little
handwriting as possible for purposes of future analysis, she arguably would not have written
such a long note. Accordingly, the existence of this peculiar, long Ransom Note does not
necessarily favor, as the killer, either an intruder or Mrs. Ramsey.
Thus, the only conceivable piece of evidence by which plaintiff can hope to carry his burden of
proof is evidence that indicates that Mrs. Ramsey actually wrote the note. Factoring into the
analysis the testimony of Mr. Epstein that there are similarities between Mrs. Ramsey's
handwriting and the Ransom Note does not, however, enable plaintiff to meet that burden.
The fact that there may be similarities between the two hardly constitutes persuasive
evidence that Mrs. Ramsey actually wrote the Note. Without that proof, plaintiff cannot show
that Mrs. Ramsey was the killer.
b. Consideration of Epstein'. Testimony That He Was Absolutely Certain that Mrs. Ramaey
Wrote the Ransom Note
The Court has earlier indicated its conclusion that there is insufficient reliability to Mr.
Epstein's methodology to permit him to state his conclusion that Mrs. Ramsey wrote the
Ransom Note. As noted supra, Epstein opined that he is "100 percent certain" that Patsy
Ramsey wrote the Ransom Note and that "there

Page 87
is absolutely no doubt" that she is the author. Supra at 51. The Court believes its conclusion
on the admissibility of this evidence to be correct. Further, as the identify of the writer is
virtually the only evidence that plaintiff can offer to shoulder its burden, then the question of
the identity of the writer is synonymous with the underlying question in this litigation: did Mrs.
Ramsey kill her child. Nevertheless, even if the Court were to permit Epstein to testify as to
the above conclusion, the Court does not believe his testimony would provide the "clear and
convincing evidence" necessary for a reasonable finder of fact to conclude that Mrs. Ramsey
wrote the note.
As stated before, "clear and convincing" evidence requires "a clear conviction, without
hesitancy of the truth." Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health, 497 U.S. 261, 2BS
n. 11 (1990) . The parties have agreed that handwriting analysis is, at best, an inexact and
subjective tool used to provide probative, but not clear and convincing evidence, of a
questioned document's author. (SMF 212; PSMF 212.) Nonetheless, the Court will assume
that there could be cases where the handwriting in question is either so obviously not the
handwriting of a particular individual or so close a match to that person's penmanship, that a
finder of fact could comfortably rely on the handwriting, alone, to reach a particular
conclusion. Indeed, well before the days of forensic handwriting experts, courts have allowed
lay witnesses to

Page 88
testify that they recognized the handwriting of particular documents as the handwriting of
someone with whose penmanship they were familiar. Further, appropriate testimony of
forensic experts can greatly assist the jury in its undertaking.
That said, while there may be cases in which handwriting examination, alone, can be
dispositive, this case is not one of that group. Here, as noted, several factors necessarily
reduce the weight a reasonable juror could give to Epstein's conclusion. First, Epstein did not
consult the original Ransom Note nor obtain original exemplars from Mrs. Ramsey. Second,
as noted by defendants, Epstein deviated from the very methodology that he has previously
asserted was necessary to make a reasoned judgment. Most significant to the Court in its
determination that Epstein's conclusion cannot carry the day for plaintiff, however, is the
unanimity of opinion among six other experts that Mrs. Ramsey cannot be determined to have
been the writer of the Note. As noted supra, the Boulder Police Department and District
Attorney's Office had consulted six other handwriting experts, all of whom reviewed the
original Ransom Note and exemplars. Supra at 21-22. Although two of these experts were
hired by defendants, four were independent experts hired by the pol ice. None of these six
experts were able to identify Mrs. Ramsey as the author of the Ransom Note. Instead, their
consensus was that she "probably did not" write the Ransom Note. Supra at n. 14.

Page 89
Given the contrary opinion of six other experts, whose ability to examine the documents was
necessarily superior to Epstein's, and given Epstein's failure to explain the methodology by
which he can make absolute pronouncements concerning the authorship of a document, this
Court does not believe that a reasonable jury could conclude that Mrs. Ramsey was the
author of the Ransom Note, solely on the basis of Epstein's professed opinion to that effect.
In reaching this conclusion, the Court is aware that it is not permitted to make credibility
judgments in ruling on summary judgment motions. For example, were there six
eyewitnesses on one side of a question and one eyewitness on the other side, the Court
would not take from a jury the factual question on which these witnesses were testifying. With
regard to Epstein's testimony, however, the Court is not attempting to assess credibility. Mr.
Epstein may sincerely believe that Mrs. Ramsey wrote the Note and the jury may well credit
his sincerity. Nevertheless, no matter how earnest Epstein may be, the fact remains that he
has not explained his basis for reaching absolute certainty in his conclusion and, accordingly,
the weight and impact of his testimony would necessarily be less than the weight of the
contrary testimony of six other experts.39
39 The Court's judgment on this matter is the same whether these other six experts were as
vague concerning their methodology as was Epstein or whether they, ip fact, gave solid
explanations for their reasoning.

Page 90
In sum, plaintiff has failed to prove that Mrs. Ramsey wrote the Ransom Note and has thereby
necessarily failed to prove that she murdered her daughter. ) Moreover, the"weight of the
evidence is more consistent with a theory that an intruder murdered JonBenet than it is with a
theory that Mrs. Ramsey did so. For that reason, plaintiff has failed to establish that when
defendants wrote the Book, they "in fact entertained serious doubts as to the truth of the
publication." St. Amant v. Thompson, 390 U.S. 727, 731 (1968); Hemenway v. Blanchard, 163
Ga. App. 668, 671-72, 294 S.E.2d 603, 606 (1982). Accordingly, the Court GRANTS
defendants' motion for summary judgment as to plaintiff's libel claim.
III. Slander
In addition to his claims for libel, plaintiff asserts that. several statements made by defendants
to the press fit within one of the categories of slander per se recognized by Georgia law:
imputing to another a crime punishable by law. O.C.G.A. § 51-5-4 (a) . In particular, plaintiff
refers to defendants' March 24, 2000 appearance on the Today Show with host Katie Couric.
During. the course of the broadcast, the following conversation occurred:
Katie Couric: You pepper the book with fleeting references to some other people that you
seem to question. You talk about Bill McReynolds, who played Santa at your Christmas party.
You also mention his wife who, in a strange twist, wrote a

Page 91
play years before about a girl murdered in a basement.
John Ramsey: The point in the book was to clarify from our viewpoint why these people have
been mentioned a lot in the media, and also to point out that there are legitimate leads that
need to be followed.
. . . .
Katie Couric: You also mention Chris Wolfe, a total stranger whose girlfriend reported that he
disappeared on Christmas night and was very agitated, rather--when he watched the news of
the murder on TV.
John Ramsey: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Katie Couric: Why do you mention him.
John Ramsey: Because he'd been widely mentioned in the news. And we wanted to clarify
the facts that we knew.
John Ramsey: I can tell you when--when we first started looking at--at one particular lead
early on--My reaction was, -This is it. This is the killer." And our investigator said, -"Whoa,
whoa, whoa." He'd say, "Don't do a Boulder Police on me. Don't rush to conclusions."
(Transcript of Today Show, March 24, 2000.) (emphasis added) The parties agree that, as
Mr. Ramsey made the last statement, NBC displayed a picture of Chris Wolf on the screen.
As with the libelous statements discussed above, while not textbook, these statements are
arguably slanderous. With the

Page 92
slander claim, however, the factual predicate for plaintiff's malice argument is weaker than
with the libel claim. Specifically, although the emphasized quote suggests Mr. Ramsey's
belief that an unnamed suspect might be the killer--which was a malicious statement, if Mr.
Ramsey knew that his wife was the killer--plaintiff has not demonstrated that defendant John
Ramsey intended to refer to plaintiff when he made that statement. Moreover, even though
the photograph of plaintiff appeared on the screen when defendant made the statement, it is
undisputed that defendant had no control over NBC's editing decisions.
Nevertheless, even had defendant intended to refer to plaintiff, the statements are still not
malicious, for the reasons discussed supra, with regard to the libel claim. Accordingly, the
Court GRANTS defendants' motion for summary judgment as to, plaintiff's slander claim.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court GRANTS defendants' motion for summary judgment
<67>; GRANTS as to Ms. Wong and GRANTS in part and DENIES in part as to Mr. Epstein
defendants' motion in limine to exclude the testimony of Cina Wong and Gideon Epstein <68>;
and DENIES defendants' motion for oral argument <79>.

Page 93
SO ORDERED, this 31 day of March, 2003.
Julie E. Carnes
United States District Judge

Messages In This Thread
The decision - by jameson245 - 02-01-2017, 06:26 PM
RE: The decision - by Moop - 02-06-2017, 05:31 PM
RE: The decision - by jameson245 - 02-14-2019, 10:25 AM
RE: The decision - by jameson245 - 02-14-2019, 10:26 AM
RE: The decision - by jameson245 - 02-14-2019, 10:28 AM
RE: The decision - by jameson245 - 02-14-2019, 10:29 AM
RE: The decision - by jameson245 - 02-14-2019, 10:29 AM
RE: The decision - by jameson245 - 02-14-2019, 10:30 AM
RE: The decision - by jameson245 - 02-14-2019, 10:30 AM
RE: The decision - by jameson245 - 02-14-2019, 10:31 AM

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)