Aphrodite Jones, JonBenet, and Lou Smit?
The above is a clip from, True Crime with Aphrodite Jones, JonBenet Ramsey: "The Innocent" (March 31, 2011.)
I thought I would go through some of the misinformation in advance of the full telecast.
From what I see in the above clip, it appears that Jones has merely dusted off Lou Smit’s PowerPoint presentation and used an old Ramsey private investigator to help her present it.
Could have been left open by the Ramseys:
JOHN RAMSEY: I don't really remember. I mean, part of what is going on you're in such a state of disbelief this can even happen. And the, you know, the window had been broken out. And you say hah, that's it. But it was a window that I had used to get into the house before. It was cracked and open a little bit. It wasn't terribly unusual for me. Sometimes it would get opened to let cool air in because that basement could get real hot in winter. So it was like, you know, after I thought about it, I thought it was more of an alarming situation how it struck me at the time. It was still sort of explainable to me that it could have been left open.
John Ramsey, 1998 interview
Could have been left by John when he “broke in” in the summer of 1996.
TT: OK. But on the outside you’ve got that kind of skinny narrow window well. Did you have an difficulty sliding into that or sliding down the wall?
JR: Yeah, well, as I recall, I did it at night and I had a suit on, and I took my suit off and did it in my underwear. But, it’s not easy, I mean you can get in that way, you get dirty, but.
TT: It’s not a graceful way to get in.
JR: No, no.
TT: It’s difficult because of the angles.
TT: All right.
ST: Tom, let me just ask John this. Do you sit down and slide through, buttocks first if you will, through a window like that or, do you recall how you went through the actual window, John?
JR: I don’t I mean, I don’t remember. Seems like, I mean, I don’t remember, but I think I would probably gone in feet first.
ST: Feet first, backwards?
ST: And when you went through in your underwear, were you wearing shoes or?
JR: I still had my shoes on, yeah.
ST: And were those with a suit, were they business shoes.
John Ramsey, 1997 interview
JR or FW may have put the glass on the suitcase.
- Suitcase with glass on it
JR: Ah, well, I remember they took me aside, and we sat in John Andrew’s room which is the one next to JonBenet’s and she went through what I should do when we talked to the caller and I must insist that I talk to JonBenet and that we need until 5 o’clock to raise the money. I’d actually called my (inaudible) and arranged for the money. Ah, and I think we had by that time started to wonder if one of the housekeepers might be involved. And there was some activity around that direction. We waited until past 11 and then we, and then I think we were in the living room and Linda said why don’t you take someone and look through the house and see if there’s anything you notice that’s unusual. And Fleet and I, Fleet was standing there and said he’d go with me. And we went down to the basement, went into the train room, which is, you know, the train set is, and that’s really the only window that’s, would let in entrance into he basement. And actually I’d gone down there earlier that morning, into that room, and the window was broken, but I didn’t see any glass around, so I assumed it was broken last summer. I used that window to get into the house when (inaudible) I didn’t have a key. But the window was open, about an eighth of an inch, and just kind latched it. So I went back down with Fleet, we looked around for some glass again, still didn’t see any glass. And I told him that I thought that the break came from when I did that last summer and then, then I went from there into the cellar.
John Ramsey, 1997 interview
So I went down to the basement. I went into this room with Fleet. I explained to him that this window had been cracked open and I closed it. That the window was broken, but I think it was broken by me once before. We got down on our hands and knees looking for some glass just to see.
LOU SMIT: What did you find?
JOHN RAMSEY: I think we found a few fragments of glass not enough to indicate that it was a fresh break.
LOU SMIT: What did you do with those fragments?
JOHN RAMSEY: We might have put them on the ledge, if I remember. It really wasn't much. We had only found one or two. We might have put them up here on the ledge.
LOU SMIT: Could you have put them on the suitcase?
JOHN RAMSEY: Ahhhh, it's possible but I don't remember doing that.
LOU SMIT: Was the suitcase, when you came back, in the same spot it was when you had been?
JOHN RAMSEY: I think I moved it to see or to look for glass then. But I think it was where I left it, where it was when I was down there before.
John Ramsey, 1998 interview
- Fibers inside suitcase consistent with fibers on JonBenet
While AJ is content to talk about fiber evidence which is questionable enough to cause a dispute between two labs, there is no mention of other fiber evidence, such as the following:
Q. (By Mr. Levin) Mr. Ramsey, it is our belief based on forensic evidence that there are hairs that are associated, that the source is the collared black shirt that you sent us that are found in your daughter's underpants, and I wondered if you –
A. B******t. I don't believe that. I don't buy it. If you are trying to disgrace my relationship with my daughter --
John Ramsey, 2000 Interview
Q. And CBI had at one point come up with a conclusion that there was a consistency between fibers found on a blanket in the suitcase that matched fibers on JonBenet's body or were consistent with, is that the right term?
A. I heard Mr. Smit and Mr. DeMuth refer to that but I didn't hear Trujillo ever offer a report or an explanation concerning that.
Q. But the FBI disagreed with the CBI, didn't they?
Steve Thomas Deposition (Wolf civil case)
Q. Was the conflict between the CBI report and the FBI report with respect to those fibers, the fibers that are described here found on the front and back of JonBenet's shirt, on her body in the vaginal area, the duct tape on her mouth, and the hand ligature, to your knowledge, was that conflict ever resolved while you were involved in the investigation?
Lou Smit Deposition (Wolf civil case)
FBI analysis: FBI examiners said the fibers on JonBenet came from a source other than the pillow sham and comforter
Rocky Mountain News, May 4, 2001
Hi-Tec is a popular brand in the hiking community and according to Steve Thomas, it is popular in law enforcement circles as well.
- Unexplained footprints made by a little known brand of boot.
The company currently employs approximately 500 employees and generates global sales of more than US $250 million. Hi-Tec Specializes in light weight hiking footwear and has some of the best technology in the industry. Founded in 1974.
BTW, I know where I’ve heard this “line” about the rare and exotic Hi-Tec footwear before:
It has never been made public, but in the Ramsey home in the small cellar where JonBenét’s body was left, two different footprints were found. They were made at or near the time of the killing and strengthened suspicions that two people might have been involved. One of the footprints was made by a rare Hi-Tec boot.
"Who Killed the Beauty Queen, Prime Suspect." Documentary, 2004, Michael Tracey
This is meaningless, as the footprints could have been innocently left by any number of people who were in the wine cellar prior to the crime.
- Two different sets of footprints were found in the basement.
- This unidentified footwear impression is not linked to anyone in the Ramsey family.
Moreover, the Ramseys could have simply walked out of the home with the footwear that left the impressions in the wine cellar, or the footwear could have been removed by Pam Paugh during her “raid” on the home.
The Hi-Tec boot print became one of the biggest questions of the investigation. Since Hi- Tecs are popular among cops, a year after the murder I became convinced that a sight-seeing law enforcement officer stepped somewhere he or she shouldn't have on December 26 and didn't want to admit it.
Detective Ron Gosage had the impossible job of trying to identify the origin of the boot print, a nightmare assignment if there ever was one. He contacted more than four hundred people, even construction workers who had been in the house five years ago, but did not find the matching print.
I doubted that any member of the Ramsey family would admit to owning a pair of Hi-Tecs, whether they did or not, but Detective Gosage had to ask them. That alerted Team Ramsey, and the defense lawyers and our DA's office soon began insisting that the unknown boot print was left behind by the intruder.
What they didn't know was that lab technicians had found not just one but three different unidentified shoe prints in that little room-the main print and two less pronounced impressions that overlapped each other. We considered that a positive development, for how likely would it be that three intruders carried the body into the room? And the
possibilities were great that the print was totally unrelated to the murder. Just because something is found at the site of a murder doesn't mean it is part of the crime.
JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, page 265
Burke owned Hi-Tec footwear.
- The Hi-Tec boot is not linked to anyone in the family.
“Fleet White came in to talk to me and Beckner,” Koby told Hunter. “White wants you off the case. He says you leaked stuff to one of the tabloids after you met with him last year.” Hunter remained silent. “He’s on the warpath, and he’s threatening to see the attorney general.” Koby said that White refused to cooperate with the police as long as Hunter was still on the case. In one conversation with detectives, White had even teased the officers: “What would you say if I told you the Ramseys owned Hi-Tec shoes?”
Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 593
The shoe imprint found near JonBenét’s body was the second piece of evidence. Ron Gosage had compiled a list of more than six hundred people who had been in the Ramseys’ house during the six months prior to JonBenét’s death. He had gotten in touch with more than four hundred of those people, and not one of them had ever worn or owned that kind of Hi-Tec hiking shoe. The imprint was of the “poon”—the area on the sole at the heel where the brand name is stamped. The size of shoe couldn’t be determined from the imprint, since the poon is the same size in all shoes, the better to advertise brands.
Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 746
Q. We have been provided, and again, one of the sources of this information is confidential grand jury material I can tell you in the question, but we have been provided information from two sources that your son Burke, prior to the murder of your daughter, owned and wore Hi-Tec boots that had a compass on them, which makes them distinctive. Do you recall -- if you don't recall that they actually were Hi-Tec, do you remember Burke having boots that had a compass on the laces?
A. Vaguely. I don't know if they were boots or tennis shoes. My memory is they were tennis shoes, but that is very vague. He had boots that had lights on them and all sorts of different things.
Q. But you do have some recollection that he had some type of footwear that had compasses attached to them?
A. I don't, I don't specifically remember them, but my impression is that he did, in my mind, yeah. But my impression was that they were tennis shoes.
A. Sneakers. Yeah. Ask Burke if he remembers it. I said, ask Burke, perhaps he -- well, we could certainly ask Burke.
John Ramsey, 2000 Interview
Q. Have you, whether it was before the interview in 1998 or subsequent to the interview in 1998, have you personally made attempts to find possible sources for the Hi-Tec shoe impression?
A. You mean like ask around if anybody had –
Q. Pick up the phone and call some friends, for example.
A. I didn't, no.
Q. Had you at any time, for example, some of the kids, like the Colby kids ever come over, did you ever go and just pick up the phone or walk across the alley and say, do you guys have Hi-Tec shoes? Did you ever do anything like that?
MR. WOOD: You are assuming she may have learned about it at the time she still lived there. She told you she wasn't sure when she first learned that.
THE WITNESS: No, I did not call the Colbys to ask if their children had –
Q. (By Mr. Levin) Whether it was from Boulder or Atlanta?
Q. Okay. Did you sit down and discuss with Burke at any length whether or not he ever had Hi-Tec shoes?
Q. Did it cross your mind that he might be the source of that, for the Hi-Tec shoes?
A. No. Because my understanding was that it was an adult footprint. He was nine years old at the time.
Q. Do you know the source of your belief that it was an adult's foot, footprint?
A. Whoever told me about it or wherever I learned it in the first place.
Q. Did you get any details concerning how much of a shoe impression was present?
A. No. It was just a footprint.
Q. Did you take that to, to be a full footprint, and by that I mean like a shoe, a complete shoe impression?
A. That is what I imagined, yes.
Q. And that, whether you were told that directly or you just assumed that, you believe is the source of your belief that it was an adult's shoe?
Q. You have been asked about whether or not anyone in your family owns Hi-Tec shoes or ever owned Hi-Tec shoes?
Q. And I am not restating a question, Mr. Wood. And do you recall you said no one ever did?
Q. Do you recall a period of time, prior to 1996, when your son Burke purchased a pair of hiking boots that had compasses on the shoelaces? And if it helps to remember –
A. I can't remember.
Q. Maybe this will help your recollection. They were shoes that were purchased while he was shopping with you in Atlanta.
MR. WOOD: Are you stating that as a fact?
MR. LEVIN: I am stating that as a fact.
Q. (By Mr. Levin) Does that help refresh your recollection as to whether he owned a pair of shoes that had compasses on them?
A. I just can't remember, I bought so many shoes for him.
Q. And again, I will provide, I'll say, I'll say this as a fact to you, that, and maybe this will help refresh your recollection, he thought that -- the shoes were special because they had a compass on them, his only exposure for the most part to compasses had been in the plane and he kind of liked the idea of being able to point them different directions. Do you remember him doing that with the shoes?
A. I can't remember the shoes. I remember he had a compass thing like a watch, but I can't remember about the shoes.
Q. You don't remember him having shoes that you purchased with compasses on them?
MR. WOOD: She will tell you that one more time. Go ahead and tell him, and this will be the third time.
THE WITNESS: I can't remember.
Q. (By Mr. Levin) Okay. Does it jog your memory to know that the shoes with compasses were made by Hi-Tec?
MR. WOOD: Are you stating that as a fact?
MR. LEVIN: Yes. I am stating that as a fact.
THE WITNESS: No, I didn't know that.
Q. (By Mr. Levin) I will state this as a fact. There are two people who have provided us with information, including your son, that he owned Hi-Tec shoes prior to the murder of your daughter.
MR. WOOD: You are stating that Burke Ramsey has told you he owned Hi-Tec shoes?
21 MR. LEVIN: Yes.
MR. WOOD: He used the phrase Hi-Tec?
MR. LEVIN: Yes.
MR. WOOD: When?
MR. LEVIN: I can't, I can't give you the source. I can tell you that I have that information.
MR. WOOD: You said Burke told you.
MR. LEVIN: I can't quote it to you for reasons I am sure, as an attorney, you are aware.
MR. WOOD: Just so it is clear, there is a difference between you saying that somebody said Burke told them and Burke telling you because Burke has been interviewed by you all December of 1996, January of 1997, June of 1998.
Are you saying that it is within those interviews?
MR. LEVIN: No.
MR. WOOD: So he didn't tell you, he told somebody else you are stating as a fact because I don't think you all have talked to him other than those occasions, have you?
MR. KANE: Mr. Wood, we don't want to get into grand jury information.
MR. WOOD: Okay.
MR. KANE: Fair enough?
MR. LEVIN: I am sorry, I should have been more direct. I thought you would understand --
Q. (By Mr. Levin) Fleet Junior also says that he (Burke) had Hi-Tec shoes.
Q. Okay. Is this the first time that you've heard that Burke says that he had Hi-Tec?
A. Yes, it is.
Q. This is the very first time?
Q. When you said in your book and then you said at other times too that you didn't own either brand –
MR. WOOD: Hold on. If you have got a reference of the book.
MR. KANE: I'm sorry. Page 232.
MR. WOOD: And then you said at other times, too. Be more specific to it.
MR. KANE: Okay. Well, I will stick to the book.
Q. (By Mr. Kane) But I don't think it is any big secret that you've said that a bunch of times.
16 A. I don't remember –
MR. WOOD: Okay. What is the question?
Q. (By Mr. Kane) When you made that statement in your book -- I mean, maybe I ought to authenticate. You wrote this book, is that –
MR. WOOD: We are not asking you to authenticate it. We are just asking you to refer us to the page.
Patsy Ramsey, 2000 Interview
Hi-Tec Sports will launch hikers promo
MODESTO, Calif. - Hi-Tec Sports USA will step up the marketing of its new children's outdoor hiking boot with an incentive campaign centered around the 500th anniversary of Columbus' voyage to the New World.
The company plans to offer posters, stickers and other amenities as part of a Navigators' Club that children can join when they purchase an item in the new Navigators' series.
Hi-Tec unveiled an outdoor boot called the Columbus as part of the series. The shoe features a compass tied to the laces. It comes in mochaspruce and navy, priced to retail at $44.95.
Hi-Tec will coordinate the club membership in Modesto and will send promotional posters with new orders. Details of the promotion will be offered to children in product boxes.
David Pompel, marketing manager, said he expects the promotion to spur children's sales. He reported company-wide sales for Hi-Tec should grow by 60 percent this year.
"When the kids get something in the box, they get excited," he said. Pompel added that Hi-Tec's rugged outdoor look is growing more popular as children focus on the environment.
"We're getting into department stores where the athletic look is dying. We try to make ties to positive values like recycling and the environment."
Footwear News, July 29, 1991
The Ramseys denied any connection to Hi-Tec footwear until Grand Jury testimony proved otherwise.
Then Smit asked the Ramseys about the stun gun. John Ramsey said that they never owned one. Ramsey thought he remembered being given a videotape on self-defense by Spy World, a high-tech security outlet in southern Florida, which might have included a segment on the use of stun guns. The family didn’t wear or own Hi-Tec shoes, he said.
Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 466
Notice, however, that years after the Grand Jury concluded, the myth that the Ramseys were not connected to Hi-Tec footwear persisted and was even presented as fact in the Wolf v Ramsey civil case.
Q. Is there any evidence that any member of the Ramsey family had ever owned a logo Hi-Tec boot or shoe?
A. There is no evidence that I know of that anyone in that family owned that type of shoe.
Lou Smit, Deposition (Wolf civil case)
“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 n addition, on the wine-cellar door, there is a palm print that does not match either of defendants' palm prints. (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 palm print is not dispositive, as they could have been made prior to the time of the murder, but they are clearly consistent with an argument that an intruder was in the basement
Carnes - Wolf vs Ramsey Civil Case, 2003
It’s unfortunate that Jones has also chosen to perpetuate old IDI tenets that have been debunked publically many years ago.
Investigators have answered two vexing questions in the JonBenet Ramsey case that have long helped support the theory that an intruder killed her, according to sources close to the case.
The answers, which have been known to investigators for some time but never publicly revealed, could be seen to weaken the intruder theory.
The two clues are:
* A mysterious Hi-Tec boot print in the mold on the floor of the Ramseys' wine cellar near JonBenet's body has been linked by investigators to Burke, her brother, who was 9 at the time. It is believed to have been left there under circumstances unrelated to JonBenet's murder.
Burke, now 15, has repeatedly been cleared by authorities of any suspicion in the 1996 Christmas night slaying, and that has not changed.
* A palm print on the door leading to that same wine cellar, long unidentified, is that of Melinda Ramsey, JonBenet's adult half-sister. She was in Georgia at the time of the murder.
``They were certainly some things that had to be answered, one way or the other, and we feel satisfied that they are both answered,'' said a source close to the case, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Lin Wood, the attorney representing the Ramseys, who now live in Atlanta, doesn't debate the palm print findings. But he contends the police have not answered the Hi-Tec print mystery.
``Burke Ramsey does not and has never owned a pair of quote, unquote, trademarked Hi-Tec sneakers that the Ramseys are aware of,'' Wood said. ``I would think they know what shoes he has owned.''
Wood said the two most important pieces of forensic evidence in the case are unidentified male DNA found in the girl's underwear and the bizarre 2 1/2-page ransom note, whose author has never been determined.
``I represent innocent clients,'' Wood said. ``There has been a history since December of 1996 of anonymous law enforcement officials in Boulder, Colorado, leaking information to the media, which, in most cases, turns out to be either false or grossly distorted.
``So I would put no weight, whatsoever, on anonymous information coming out of the Boulder Police Department. Zero.''
But the source said that connecting the palm print to Melinda Ramsey was something that occurred belatedly, only because the first time her print sample was compared with the questioned print, the person making the comparison didn't properly see the match.
As for the footprint in the wine cellar, the source said, ``We know Burke had a pair of Hi-Tec shoes.''
JonBenet, a 6-year-old star of child beauty pageants and the youngest of John and Patsy Ramsey's two children, was found murdered in the basement of her family's Boulder home Dec. 26, 1996, about seven hours after her mother reported finding a ransom note demanding $118,000 for her safe return.
Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner refused Thursday to discuss any single piece of evidence in the beating and strangling death of JonBenet.
But he said in the 5 1/2 years since the murder, police have continued to seek solutions to ``a number of evidentiary items'' that represented questions in need of answers.
``We have been able to answer questions about many of the pieces of evidence, and we hope that, over time, as we continue to go over them piece by piece, that we will be able to solve the puzzle,'' Beckner said.
In their book about their daughter's murder, The Death of Innocence, the Ramseys list seven pieces of evidence they consider significant to the case - the palm print and the Hi-Tec print are numbers six and seven. In that book, John Ramsey wrote, ``Next to JonBenet's body, the killer, I believe, left a clear footprint made by the sole of a Hi-Tec hiking shoe, from the area at the heel where the brand name was stamped.''
Writing about the palm print, John Ramsey concedes it might prove to belong to someone with a benign reason for being in the basement. ``At the same time,'' he adds, ``it could be an important clue.''
Meanwhile, Wood said that Patsy Ramsey is making progress in her treatment for a recurrence of cancer, diagnosed Feb. 12.
``She completed her six-month course of chemotherapy in June, and obviously is still recovering from the side effects of that treatment,'' Wood said.
``But all in all, she's doing well. I just saw her today. She looks good. She looks very strong and optimistic, and so far, everything looks good on the follow-up exams.''
Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News, August 23, 2002
Carol McKinley, Fox News confirming investigators telling her the shoe print, palm print and unidentified hair are all solved. The shoe print is Burke's, the palm print is Melinda's and the hair found on blanket is Patsy's.
Fox News, August 23, 2002
A bold statement without a shred of credible evidence to back it up.
- There was more than one intruder in the house.
Trying to imply that LE is somehow not aware of this old information or that this is some sort of secret that has been kept from the public is simply ridiculous. It reveals the depth of ignorance that Jones has with respect to the case.
- “How come nobody put this into evidence, how come this has never been revealed to the public?”
Last edited by cynic; 03-30-2011 at 08:49 PM.
“It saddens me that 20 years after my sister Nicole’s murder, we are still seeing the same crimes, just different names, over and over again.”
- Denise Brown (sister of Nicole Brown Simpson)