arson of Ramsey house
Man tries to burn Ramsey house
Camera Staff Writer
Friday, June 20, 1997
Police arrested a Denver man Thursday after he confessed to trying to burn down the house at 755 15th St. in Boulder where six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was found murdered on Dec. 26.
James Michael Thompson - charged with first degree arson and third degree criminal trespass - remained in Boulder County Jail Thursday night.
In late May, authorities arrested and interviewed Thompson, 33, after he allegedly stole log pages from the Boulder Community Hospital morgue that included the entry on JonBenet Ramsey.
Thompson also faces five counts of abuse of a corpse after he took photographs of bodies he had posed with various written messages.
On Wednesday afternoon Thompson came to the Daily Camera, asking to talk to a reporter. He obtained a copy of an obituary from the newspaper's library.
"Something is going to happen," he said. "This is it."
On Thursday, Thompson called Det. Ron Gosage, a Ramsey homicide investigator, and said "He (Thompson) had "done it again,'" according to a police report.
Thompson said he shoved burning papers - which reportedly included newspaper clippings about the Ramsey case - through the mail slot of the family's house. The fire didn't cause significant damage.
Gosage and Det. Steve Thomas then located Thompson and went to the Ramseys' home. The investigators discovered a book of matches propping open the mail slot and smelled a burning odor, the report said.
Later, at the Boulder County Jail, authorities confiscated from Thompson two packs of Circle K matches, a "yellow King brand butane-type" lighter and a handwritten letter dated Wednesday indicating "something must happen - today," the report said.
Before arriving at the jail, Thompson told investigators he spent a "good portion" of the evening sitting on the Ramseys' patio, "just staring at the house," the report said.
A guest at a neighbor's prayer meeting noticed a "strange man" seated on the entrance walkway to the family's house Wednesday evening, the report added.
In other developments:
Officials denied reports that police refused to share the results of handwriting analysis related to a ransom note found by Patsy Ramsey with the Boulder County District Attorney's Office.
"We are still analyzing the handwriting and no report has been issued," said Colorado Bureau of Investigation inspector Pete Mang.
Mang would not comment on whether investigators have completed the fingerprinting process concerning the document.
Patsy Ramsey supplied a fifth handwriting sample to investigators May 20.
The Ramseys gave permission Thursday to Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter and the Boulder Police Department to conduct another search of the home, family spokeswoman Rachelle Zimmer said.
According to a letter from Ramsey family attorneys to police in April, the couple agreed to allow authorities to search their home again without a search warrant. Investigators reportedly wished to destroy walls in the basement in hopes of locating evidence.
Zimmer could not confirm reports Thursday that the Ramseys had traveled to Atlanta from their summer home in Charlevoix, Mich., to complete buying a house in Atlanta. John and Patsy Ramsey haven't lived at the Boulder house since their daughter died and have put the home up for sale.
Bail at $50,000 in arson case
No contact with Ramseys allowed

Saturday, June 21, 1997

Bail was set at $50,000 Friday for a Denver man police say admitted to trying to set fire to the Boulder home of John and Patsy Ramsey - parents of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, found slain on Dec. 26 at the house at 755 15th St.

James Michael Thompson, 33, will be formally charged June 25. A judge ordered him not to make contact with the Ramseys or their property.

Thompson was arrested Thursday in connection with first-degree arson and third-degree criminal trespass after he allegedly called police to say he had "done it again."

According to a police report, Thompson shoved flaming papers through a mail slot that opened into the Ramsey's house, but little damage occurred.

Thompson remained in jail Friday evening.

Deputy public defender Cary Lacklen asked that an emergency hearing be set if jail officials or the court order a mental evaluation or commitment to a mental health hospital for Thompson.

Boulder County Judge Lael Montgomery promised to contact Lacklen if an evaluation or commitment is requested, but said she could not promise anything else.

Thompson protested deputy district attorney Colette Cribari's comment that he may be men tally unstable.

"Where is that coming from?" Thompson said from behind glass that separated prisoners from the courtroom.

Lacklen said he had not had a chance to talk to Thompson about his case or whether the self-proclaimed artist preferred to be represented by attorney Harvey Steinberg, who is representing Thompson in at least one other case.

Thompson faces five counts of abuse of a corpse for taking photographs of messages on cadavers.

Police arrested Thompson in late May on investigation of stealing log pages from the Boulder Community Hospital morgue that included an entry on JonBenet Ramsey.
Denver man charged with Ramsey home arson

Thursday, June 26, 1997

A Denver man accused of attempting to set fire to the 755 15th St. residence of John and Patsy Ramsey - the parents of JonBenet Ramsey, who was found murdered in the house Dec. 26 - was formally charged Wednesday with first degree arson.

A preliminary hearing on the charges against James Michael Thompson, 33, is scheduled July 14. Thompson was arrested June 19 in connection with shoving burning papers into a mail slot opening into the Ramsey home. Thompson is in Boulder County Jail, with bail set at $50,000.

Thompson is also scheduled for a July 7 pre-trial conference in Boulder County court on charges of theft and criminal mischief related to the removal of log sheets - including those pertaining to JonBenet - from the Boulder Community Hospital morgue.

'Colfax' free to be free spirit

By Karen Auge
Denver Post Staff Writer

July 14, 1999 - BOULDER - The city's most famous transporter of the dead and would-be arsonist walked out of Boulder County Jail on Tuesday, and got right to work at two of the things he does best: making himself a thorn in the side of law enforcement and making himself a public spectacle.

His followers organized a mysteriously named "1,000 Noodle March'' to protest their view of Boulder justice, and to celebrate the release of James Michael Thompson, better known to Web crawlers and JonBenet Ramsey investigation devotees across the country as J.T. Colfax.

But the event, advertised on some Web sites, might have been more appropriately named the "One Noodle March.''

Only a handful joined in the procession from Pasta Jay's restaurant (owned by Jay Elowsky, a friend of John and Patsy Ramsey) to the Boulder County Justice Center. Photographers and Boulder police, who followed at a discreet distance, far outnumbered marchers.

At the justice center, as confused passersby looked on and news photographers snapped pictures, Thompson admonished Boulder voters to "take the eel'' out of "re-election,'' in an obtuse reference to Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter. Hunter is considering whether to run for re-election in 2000.

Thompson said he felt some obligation to speak on behalf of Ramsey-case followers and his former colleagues at the jail.

He assured himself notoriety - and jail time - by ripping from a morgue log book a page containing a notation of the Dec. 26, 1996, death of JonBenet.

Colfax worked transporting bodies from morgues to funeral homes when he saw JonBene�t's name in the book at Boulder Community Hospital.

A month later, he went to the empty home where JonBene�t was found beaten and strangled, lit papers on fire and shoved them through the mail slot, in what he admitted was an attempt to burn down the house.

According to police reports, Thompson spent the night at the house, then called a detective working on the Ramsey case and told him what he had done. What he did was get himself a two-year stay in the county jail.

While there, Thompson-as-Colfax penned a diary of sorts, a rambling concoction that was part a rare glimpse of life behind bars and part clearinghouse for the Ramsey-case rumor mill.

His letters were faithfully posted on his Web site.

As he outlined for reporters his plans, a young woman walked up and asked "Are you J.T. Colfax?'' The woman held out a copy of Lawrence Schiller's book on the Ramsey case, "Perfect Murder, Perfect Town'' and asked the recent inmate to add his autograph.

He obliged.

"I'm a very jaded person, but I'm polite,'' he said.

Copyright 1999 The Denver Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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