Judith in her own words~~PMPT and interview
Judith in her own words

185-192 Perfect Murder Perfect Town

I was a schoolteacher in Chicago and got bored with teaching. Got divorced. Got into the computer business and moved to Dallas.  Met my second husband, Robert Phillips, who was the author of a software program.  He lived in Atlanta and before long, I joined him there. It was a fairy tale. 

Ten years ago, we moved to Boulder. My husband changed his profession at age 44.  He went to law school and passed the bar.  I tried painting, then some sculpting, and soon discovered I wanted to be a photographer. A black and white portrait photographer.  I love to photograph women.

I met Patsy and John back in '84, in Atlanta.  They were already married, but none of us had moved to Boulder.  Patsy worked with my husband at Hayes Micro Computer in Millcrest, GA. She was in charge of marketing his product, a sophisticated management system. Patsy was definitely a career woman.

She was friendly, lots of fun, a happy person, and a workaholic.   She had the ability to make people like her.  Whenever she was introduced it was always, "This is Patsy Ramsey - she's the former Miss West Virginia." She loved it. 
We all became fairly close.  One year all four of us were on different business trips in San Francisco.  Then we ended up going to Napa Valley together afterward.

Patsy and John were a close couple, very much in love.  You felt the closeness.  John was very attentive to Patsy and she to him.  Lots of hand holding, hugging. They adored each other.

John dressed casually and Patsy always wore fine clothes.   "When you go outside your home," she always said, "you dress up.   Full make-up."  In fact, she was always a little overdressed.

In '87 Patsy got pregnant.  She loved that too.  It would be her parents' first grandchild.  John was the type of guy who would say, "Patsy, whatever you want.  If you want to be a businesswoman, fine. If you want to be a mom, fine.  Do whatever turns you on."
Patsy quit her job and started working with John in his computer business.  She ran all the marketing out of the basement of their home, where John worked with Patsy's parents, Nedra and Don paugh.  it was a family thing.   Patsy's sisters and their husbands were also involved.

The stairs to the basement had these little strings of lights. It was like walking into a movie theater.  You went down to a large television room, and Patsy worked in a back room.
When Burke was born, John built an addition  to their house so Burke could have his own room, plus quarters for a nanny. The sky was the limit.

Then John merged his business with one in New Jersey and one in Boulder.  The new firm, Access Graphics, located its operations out west.  By then, I was already living in Boulder.
Whenever they had sales meetings, Patsy took over, organizing the catering and all the other details.  Burke and my daughter, Lindsay, played together, and the four of us adults would often see each other for dinner.  Then some big company invested in Access and John became president.

I never thought John could get Patsy to move out west. But she turned out to be open-minded, and that surprised me.
They first lived in a condo on Pearl Street and 19th until they found a house.  Like all of us, they went through "sticker shock."   It's hard coming from huge, magnificent homes in the East that cost very little compared to the prices here.
Patsy liked one home in a new development outside of town, in Rock Creek, because it had streets and sidewalks where kids could play and ride bicycles.   JonBenét had just been born, and patsy didn't want to go through remodeling an old house  She wanted something brand new.

John leaned more toward an older property, on 15th Street.   He wanted to be in the city because he needed to establish himself and his family in the heart of the community where he was locating his company.  When they asked us for advice, we said 15th Street was a better investment.  The value would increase there far faster than out in the Rock Creek development.  When they bought the house on 15th Street, they knew it had to be renovated.  It was almost three stories, with an elevator that had to go.

John was busy running the business, and all the reconstruction was left to Patsy - dealing with builders, painters, and decorators, all of it. She always looked tired.

Then John lost his oldest daughter in a car accident in Chicago.   It was devastating, and suddenly he looked like he was always hunched over.   He started reading a lot of metaphysical books, on life after death.  All kinds of spiritual books.  Patsy told me he was trying to find answers to why this could possibly happen, and she was concerned for him. Patsy wanted to help, but she felt powerless to do anything for this person she really cared about. It frustrated her.

About that time, Burke started school and Patsy started volunteering at his school. She volunteered for anything and everything - fund-raising, parties, room mother.  She organized magnificent parties for the children.  She met the Stines and they became close.  Then the Walkers.  She started to develop good friendships in places where she wanted to be.

Patsy was put on a pedestal by her friends.  Roxy Walker would always say Patsy this and Patsy that, as if there were no higher authority than Patsy's opinion.  Once I had to tell her, "Patsy is just a person."  A person, of course, carrying a heavy load.  It was, like, fix up the house, take care of the children, pull all the loose ends together in a city where she didn't know anybody.   But she never complained.
The social rules in Boulder were different from anything Patsy knew in Atlanta.  In order to fit into Society, you have to find your own niche in Boulder. Patsy just didn't fit into jeans.  She ended up getting tight black pants with rhinestone cowboy boots.
After the house was finished, she opened it up to visitors for Boulder's annual Christmas Tour of Homes.  They let anybody view any room, even the bedrooms and bathrooms.  They showed people their closets.  My husband, Robert, who was now their family and estate attorney, warned them, "Close off your private rooms. Keep your guests on the first floor."  They didn't.
Patsy wanted to make a statement. There were extravagantly decorated Christmas trees in almost every room.  Everything she does is Texas-size.   Patsy is most comfortable in opulence.  She wants the best of the best.   But that isn't a Boulder thing.  Most people in the community were shocked.

While the house was being remodeled in the summer of '93, Patsy went back east to judge a pageant in her home state.  Roxy Walker called and said that patsy was in t he hospital.  Her stomach had blown up like a balloon and it was discovered she had cancer - stage four ovarian cancer.  It doesn't get more serious.   She had surgery immediately, then started going to Bethesda, Maryland, for treatments with experimental drugs.

It was life or death for her.  Her mother came to Boulder and took over with the children. Patsy would o to Bethesda and become very ill, even in the plane on the way back.  Sometimes she'd travel all by herself.  She was desperate.  She didn't want to die and leave her children motherless.

I kept thinking, Where the hell is John? I once asked her about that. 
"Well, John has to.... you know.."

I know John was worried and concerned, but it didn't change his behavior. He's a man of few words.  And very concerned with his business.

In April or May of the following year she got a clean bill of health.  if there is anybody who could overcome an illness by sheer will, it would be patsy.  Sheer determination.

One day soon after the good news, I found Patsy crying in the sun room in the front of the house. That's where she had spent most of her time when she was recovering.  She talked more about religion that day than we had ever done before. She said God wanted her to be an example.  So I asked her, What are you going to do with that? 

She's spend more time with the children, she said. 

No, no, look at the bigger picture, I told her.  You can do things to help other women who are suffering the same way.  You need to get out and tell your story, how you licked it. 

So she offered support to other women.  She called them and talked. She's send people the book that inspired her.
Patsy took this step forward and then took two steps backward.   She returned to all her social stuff and pretty much dropped her cancer stuff.   She spent a lot of time building up their position in the community. And she worked at her children's school relentlessly.
One day, in '95 or '96, Nedra took me upstairs. "Judith, you've got to see this."  She showed me Patsy's closet.  Nearby there was a display - almost a shrine.  Pictures of Miss West Virginia.  patsy in every phase of her pageant days.  Lots of paraphernalia on the walls.  It surprised me.

Then there was the time Nedra pulled this little cowboy outfit out of the closet. 
"This is not jonBenét's," I said.  "What's it for?" 
"Well, Judith, we're just getting JonBenét into a few pageants." 
"Why would you do something like that?" 
"You know, she's not too young to get started." 
"And what if JonBenét isn't willing?" I asked. "What if she says, 'I 'm not going to do it!'  How would you respond to that?" 
"Oh Judith, we would never consider her saying no.  We would tell Jonbenét, 'You must do it. You will be a Miss Pageant." 
It was sort of eerie.  A little scary.  the inevitability of it - from grandmother to mother and now to daughter.
Another time, Nedra was so excited about this little antique chair that JonBenét had picked out in Denver.  JonBenét and Nedra had been shopping and Jonbenét  insisted on buying this chair.  Nedra was so happy that the child had selected something, that her granddaughter was showing signs of exquisite taste. 
It was obnoxiously expensive. Thousands. For a child's chair. 
"Well, as long as Mr. Ramsey brings the money in," Nedra said, "we'll spend it."
John would have been happy living in a cabin with log furniture. He often said that in conversation.
Early last November, there was a surprise birthday party for Patsy.  her birthday is in late december, but the family was going to be back east, so the party was in November.  Priscilla White organized the whole thing. John told her, "Wherever you want it to be - the sky's the limit." 

We all met at the Safeway Shopping Center and were loaded into a large bus - all kinds of people.  nedra, Don, John, Patsy's sisters, the Whites, Walkers, Stines, Fernies, Reverend Rol Hoverstock, and Patsy's entire softball team.  Then the bus drove to their home and parked while John went up to the door.  Patsy was flabbergasted. 

"Should I change?" were her first words. 
"No, no.  Come along right now," he told her. 
Lots of laughing.  Patsy didn't have a clue where we were going.   Patsy and John sat in the back.  There was an open bar. 
At the Brown Palace in Denver, we had a private room. Fifty people. A band called the 4-Nikators.  Sit down dinner, open bar, huge bottles of Dom Perigon, and even cigars on the tables for everyone. Patsy was striding around big as life, puffing on a cigar like she owned the place. The MC ws a guy in drag - tiara, fluffy fur around his collar.  Talked in a southern accent and did a monologue on Patsy - the Patsy Paugh Experience, from birth to the present.  The family much have coached him.  Lots of in-jokes and innuendo that I didn't understand. Then at midnight we were back on the bus.  Patsy opened her presents on the way back.  Everyone else was dropped off along the way, and Patsy and John were left alone on the bus.
That was probably the last time I saw Jonbenét alive.  Early that evening, before we left Patsy and John's home, both kids got on the bus to say hello to their grandparents and their aunts and uncles.


Writer: I understand you were out of town when JonBenét was murdered.
Judith Phillips:  I was in Chicago over the holidays.
Writer: What did you think when you heard she'd died?
Judith Phillips:  I wasn't surprised that it happened.   We're all given chances to learn significant lessons in our lives, and if we don't complete that learning process, we will be given tht same lesson again - in spades.   The death of Beth and then Patsy's illness affected John and Patsy temporarily, brought them some growth, but they went back to their old routines. They haven't changed their behavior.  If you don't learn the lesson the first time, it comes back worse the second time, and maybe the third time.  It's always bigger.
Judith Phillips 
PMPT quotes


John Ramsey - "She was Mel's wife. I had -- Mel and Patsy worked together in Atlanta. That's how we got to know them. Mel was the friend. He was the reason for the contact." 

Judith and Mel experienced some marital problems and Mel moved to Colorado.  Judith followed and they reconciled for a time.  When the Ramseys moved to Boulder, John hired Mel to do a bit of legal work, Patsy and Judith played on the same woman's softball league.  When Patsy and Judith bumped into each other, they might visit for a few minutes or even go together for lunch. 

*From John's deposition in the Miles case: *

Q. Some couples, you know, share every friend in common and others will have, you know, separate friends interested in different things. I wouldn't expect you to be a member of a sewing circle, for example. I don't know if your wife was either. 
What I'm asking is if -- I realize you don't know who she would consider -- well, I'm asking you, do you know whom she would consider to be in her close circle of friends?
A. I think it would be the people we socialized with as couples, Pinky Barber, Barbara Fernie, Priscilla White, Roxy Walker.
Q. Judith Phillips, would you consider her to be a close friend?
A. No.
Q. I'm not asking currently, but previously.
A. No.
Q. If I'm not mistaken, she's made representations in interviews that she was a close friend of the family's, is that incorrect, or do you disagree with that?
A. Well, I think that's --
MR. CRAVER: Let me ask -- I object to the form of the question. I think you're asking two questions in a row. Can you just 
state one or the other?
 MR. HILL: Sure.
Q. If she's made statements to the press that she was a close friend of the family's, do you differ with that?
 A. I never considered her a close personal friend.
Q. Do you know if your wife considered her to be a close personal friend?
A. I don't know for sure, but I would suspect not.
Q. What type of friend was she? How would you characterize her friendship?
MR. CRAVER: At what time?
Q. During the two years preceding the tragedy.
A. She was Mel's wife. I had -- Mel and Patsy worked together in Atlanta. That's how we got to know them. Mel was the friend. He was the reason for the contact
Gaby Wood interviewed Judith in June of 2006:

Judith, a photographer, now lives in Denver with Tom 'Doc' Miller, a wild-eyed, electric-haired lawyer, private investigator and handwriting expert who she met through the Ramsey case. Miller is trying to find a publisher for his book about JonBenet's death. By way of introductory warning, he tells me that everyone who has written about JonBenet has profited from her death. 'Every drop of her blood has been sold! There's not enough blood in that girl's body to pay for all the ink that's been spent on her.'

Judith brings down a black and white photo she took of Patsy, Burke and JonBenet in the year before the murder. 'It haunts a lot of people,' she says. 'A lot of people have said they see a lot of evil in Patsy's eyes.' She pauses and fiddles with that opinion for a second. 'I'm too close to it, I don't know.'

Judith was out of town when the murder took place - which was just as well, she now says, 'because I would have been blamed. They blamed everybody. They blamed Fleet White - their best friend! When we came back to Boulder, nobody was talking to each other - everybody was afraid to discuss anything with anybody. I felt like I was in a Robert Ludlow novel.' Gradually, many of the Ramseys' friends fell away in the swell of suspicion. The Ramseys fought with the Whites at JonBenet's funeral; the Whites urged the governor to appoint an independent prosecutor.

'It's a sickening, sickening, sickening thing!' Doc Miller starts to shout. 'That little girl was murdered. And billions of dollars have been spent covering up her murder, unfortunately, by the press. You're as guilty as that woman if you print the goddam intruder theory. You're just taking more blood out of her. You'll come out of here with blood on your hands, Gaby!'

Judith gives me a copy of her latest coffee-table book, uncannily entitled Scream, Baby, Scream, and takes me into every room of the house but one. Glancing into this last, I see two rows of Sig-Sauer rifles, laid side by side on a double bed. There are so many guns that not an inch of bedspread is visible beneath.

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