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  1. #1
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    "I reach up and unlatched it..."

    I'm relatively new to following the details of this case, so please forgive me if this has already been addressed...

    Last night I was reading the interviews from April 1997, and something struck me as odd (well, many things did, but this is just one) in John's statement:

    JR: ...So I went back down with Fleet, we looked around for some glass again, still didnít 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. Pull on the door, it was latched. I reach up and unlatched it, and then I saw the white blanket, (inaudible)."

    And then:

    ST: And Fleet had talked about earlier being down there, I think alone at one point, and discovering that window. When you say that you found it earlier that day and latched it, at what time of day was that?
    JR: I donít know. I mean it would have been probably, probably before 10 oíclock.
    ST: Was that prior to Fleetís first trip down?
    JR: I didnít know he was in the basement. I didnít know that. I mean other than that trip with me.ST: And on the trip that you latched the window, were you alone when you went down and latched the window?
    JR: Yep.
    ST: And on this, what Iím assuming is only your second trip to the basement on the 26th with Fleet, how much time did you spend in the basement before moving to the cellar room door?
    JR: Not very much time. A minute maybe, or less, probably less than that.
    ST: And when you moved to that cellar room door to open the door, did you move the tag on the top of the door?
    JR: Yeah.
    ST: And did you open the door?
    JR: Yeah.



    So my question is this: Do we have official testimony from Fleet White that he did indeed check the wine cellar earlier that morning, when he was in the basement by himself? Because if he did, it seems unlikely that he would have re-latched the door after he closed it, having seen nothing in the room. Close the door, yes. Re-latch it? That would be weird, IMO.

    Did they dust that latch for Fleet's fingerprints? Because if he did indeed check that room, and later John had to unlatch it, then Fleet obviously latched it, right? It wouldn't even matter if the door was latched to begin with, right? Fleet was there first (unbeknownst to John) and says he opened the door (again, do we know this for a fact?) and John distinctly remembers unlatching the door when they both went back down.

    Or is John remembering unlatching the door earlier that morning, before anyone else arrived?
    He's guilty. Get over it.

  2. #2
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    Replying to my own post...

    I see that this issue was discussed a while back, but I get the feeling it was just dropped...

    http://websleuths.com/forums/showthr...ighlight=latch

    I think Tumble was on to something as well--I think this is important...

    Anyone? Anyone? Buehler? {{chirping}}
    He's guilty. Get over it.

  3. #3
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    I remember seeing photo's of the "latch" and it didn't look like much more than a block of wood with a nail in the middle to me. The type of latch that would just flip down due to gravity...sorry I can't rememember where I saw those photo's now...

  4. #4
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    Thanks, Seeker...Do we know that the latch would flip down automatically, or is this speculation? Like I said, I'm just starting to read the interviews, so I'm not sure if this is cleared up later...It's just something that jumped out at me right away...

    IF that's the case, though, and the "latch" drops down automatically, then if someone opened the door, the "latch" would drop also, right?

    So when the door was closed again, someone would have to reach up and move the "latch" in order to close the door???

    Has anyone read that this was done? Still seems hinky to me....
    He's guilty. Get over it.

  5. #5
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    According to John Ramsey in 1998 interview:

    9 MIKE KANE: Okay. Now when you went around
    10 to the wine cellar door, you said you pulled at it
    11 and, I think you said, that you were surprised
    12 that it was latched?
    13 JOHN RAMSEY: I just said I remember pulling
    14 on it almost popping out of hand because it's
    15 always been open. And I don't think the latch was
    16 latched.
    17 MIKE KANE: I think you said, (I didn't expect
    18 it to be latched.̃ Was it normally not?
    19 JOHN RAMSEY: I'd say, I mean, the door was
    20 kind of stuck anyway, so it wasn't common to latch
    21 it.
    22 MIKE KANE: Did that latch, and I've seen
    23 pictures of it, it was on like a pivot?
    24 JOHN RAMSEY: It was on a block of wood.
    25 MIKE KANE: A block of wood, but it was
    0182
    1 pivoted?
    2 JOHN RAMSEY: Right.
    3 MIKE KANE: Was it enough that it would fall
    4 down on its own or did you have to physically turn
    5 it?
    6 JOHN RAMSEY: I think you had to physically
    7 turn it.



    Just in case I'm NOT talking to myself....
    He's guilty. Get over it.

  6. #6
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    If Fleet found the door latched I would think he would relatch it again to preserve the crime scene or to just naturally leave it as he found it. Why would it be considered "odd" that he may have relatched the door? Then again seeing as JR is a chronic liar, how do we know he tells the truth when he says he found the door latched?

    I'm not understanding the point you're trying to make here... what difference does it make whether or not the door was latched? Look at it this way, if it was latched, what does that mean? If it was unlatched, what does that mean? Frankly, it doesn't mean anything and is just an unimportant detail. Both Fleet and JR admitted to opening that door, so whether or not it was latched means... what?

    There are no available transcripts of Fleet or Priscilla White. As they testified before the Grand Jury any official testimony they gave will be unavailable to the public just like Burke's as he testified before the Grand Jury as well. Fleet and Priscilla have made no public comment concerning what they testified to before the Grand Jury which is right and proper as they aren't supposed to. Likewise, neither has Burke.

  7. #7
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    First off, Fleet White did not know the basement was a crime scene. I would think any adult with half a brain would know that--if something is a crime scene--you don't touch ANYTHING.

    I'm picturing him in the basement, looking around for--what? Something. An intruder still lurking or maybe JonBenet hiding in fear--he probably had no idea what he was looking for. There was NOTHING at that point in time to assume that the basement was a crime scene.

    So he's in the basement, opening doors, looking inside, calling out for JonBenet, etc. He comes to the wine cellar door. Is it latched at that point or not? If it is, then yes, he'd have to unlatch it to look inside. If it's not, then he'd merely open the door, look inside, and close the door. He'd only latch it if he found it that way in the first place.

    So let's assume he DID find it latched, and then re-latched it. Do I think that's weird? Yeah, a little. The door closed just fine. Why latch it? But hey, that's just me. I would think my mind would be on where I should look next, not latching a door.

    All I want to know is--did he or did he not latch the door. I'm not saying whether he should or shouldn't have. Did he or didn't he?

    Because I've read 3 interviews now where the investigators have asked John specifically about that door and that latch. In all three, John distinctly remembers that he unlatched the door, was even surprised it was latched in the first place.

    If he's telling the truth, then FW MUST have latched it. If FW did NOT latch it, then John is lying.

    LIke I said, I just want to know something that we'll probably never find out--whether FW latched the door.

    And since that was the door behind which JonBenet's dead body was found, I find it very important.
    He's guilty. Get over it.

  8. #8
    IrishMist's Avatar
    IrishMist is offline You can't control the wind - but you can adjust your sails
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    I think Tumble was on to something, too. That thread made me realize a couple of things.

    For one thing, this couldn't be BR on his own- he wouldn't be able to reach the latch. But what struck me was that the intruder, if there was an intruder, latched the door behind themself. This person obviously had no fear at all being in that house.

    Whenever I've tried to imagine an intruder, I always figured that JonBenťt managed to scream, it scared them, they hit her with the (bat?) (flashlight?) and took off... but I can't see them stopping to re-latch the door.

    BTW:The singular use of "they" is easier for me than typing he/she, him/her, and so on. I'm not saying I think there were two intruders. Though I have considered that, too!

  9. #9
    poco's Avatar
    poco is offline A cat will blink when struck with a hammer.
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    I thought I read somewhere about the room they finally found JBR in - I thought I read that someone, either FW or JR (before BPD arrived on the scene), opened the door to that room, looked in, saw that it was dark, and closed the door without looking any further - not even turning on a light???? Someone help me out here....

    So often times it happens that we live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key. ...Eagles, "Already Gone"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by poco
    I thought I read somewhere about the room they finally found JBR in - I thought I read that someone, either FW or JR (before BPD arrived on the scene), opened the door to that room, looked in, saw that it was dark, and closed the door without looking any further - not even turning on a light???? Someone help me out here....
    This was apparently the final straw for FW and what made him pull aside Det. Arndt. When Fleet went down to that room, he opened the door and couldn't find the light switch because it's hidden in an odd place. He couldn't see into the room because the room has no windows, and with his body blocking the door, not enough light could get in to see if there was anything in there.

    Then, when FW and JR are told to check the house, JR goes IMMEDIATELY to that room and without turning on the light or pausing to see, rushes in to JBR. JR claimed later that he saw the white blanket she was wrapped in, but JR didn't know that FW had been down in the basement checking it out before and knew you couldn't see what was in that room without turning the light on. Fleet would have known then that JR already knew where JBR was and told no one.


  11. #11
    poco's Avatar
    poco is offline A cat will blink when struck with a hammer.
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    So, Fleet, just assumes the dark room is empty because he can't see in it and doesn't investigate further - that doesn't make sense either!!!

    So often times it happens that we live our life in chains, and we never even know we have the key. ...Eagles, "Already Gone"

  12. #12
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    I am glad too see the latch issue brought up

    My own initial concern about the latch comes from the same point as Betsys. Why would FW relatch this door!? I also find this strange.

    After some discussion here on the forum some more issues crystallized.

    As officer French found the door latched(and I think we can trust him) the person putting JB in the winecellar must have latched the door.
    After reading the interviews it seems only PR had it in her mind to latch this door and that was because she hid presents there during Christmas. I find this suspicious.

    Also it seems that FW was a bit confused when JB was found. When JR ran up the stairs with JB he was found standing looking confused at the piece of ducttape that JR had ripped from JB's mouth. What was he thinking here.
    'Something is not right...'
    Could it be that JR screamed BEFORE turning on the light OR
    could it be somthing with the latch?
    Maybe JR had made a secret visit to the basement and the status of the latch didn't match how FW had left the latch after his visit to the room.

    And then comes the issue of the possible intruder.
    Would he latch this door. The door was probably not latched from the day before as the present were no longer there and the latch is not very obvious to a person not knowing about it.
    And even a person knowing about it like JR never latched this door.
    I find it very strange if an intruder would latch it.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by poco
    So, Fleet, just assumes the dark room is empty because he can't see in it and doesn't investigate further - that doesn't make sense either!!!
    Why would he assume she was in there? At the time it was believed that she was kidnapped and not in the house. If he was looking around the basement he was probably looking for some way that an intruder got in the house. So, he opens the door, sees how dark it is and realizes no one could have gotten in that way because there are no windows in that room.

  14. #14
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    Just as an FYI, detectives usually ask questions they already know the answers to. Their purpose in asking is not so much to gain information but see how the questions are answered and how the interviewee reacts to the quetions. If they grilled JR about the latch on the door they would already have been pretty sure (or absolutely know) what the status of the latch was.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PagingDrDetect
    Just as an FYI, detectives usually ask questions they already know the answers to. Their purpose in asking is not so much to gain information but see how the questions are answered and how the interviewee reacts to the quetions. If they grilled JR about the latch on the door they would already have been pretty sure (or absolutely know) what the status of the latch was.
    I totally agree! What's fascinates me about reading these interviews is not necessarily the answers to the questions, but the specific questions themselves. I agree that the detectives know, from Fleet White's statement (and I believe he is 100% innocent in this and desperately wants justice for JonBenet) whether he latched the door (and I think he would remember reaching up and doing so, if he indeed did it) so either they are trying to trip John Ramsey up on this issue OR they are gathering evidence against him should he ever be tried.

    I just wish I knew. But my gut tells me this is important, and that's why the detectives pressed John on it several times.
    He's guilty. Get over it.



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