Overkill - Overkill in a homicide refers to the use of excessive force or brutality beyond what is necessary to cause death.

Gunther Toody

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I am sure it has been discussed before but for the benefit of newer members, it should be addressed.
Whoever killed JBR, was not satisfied to simply kill her. The killer went to extreme measures to make sure she was dead and likely suffered horribly in the process...overkill.

Using both a neck ligature and a blunt object like a flashlight or a golf club to cause fatal injuries demonstrates a level of violence that far exceeds what would typically be required to kill someone.

It suggests not just an intent to kill but an intent to inflict extreme harm or suffering. This excessive brutality can be indicative of intense rage, hatred, or a desire to ensure the victim's demise beyond any doubt.

Consider for a moment, is this something that either parent would seem to be capable of? What would be their motivation?
What of the intruder theory? Gary Oliva proclaimed love for JB and how she made him a better person.
Would he be capable of this?

Psychologically, overkill in a homicide can also signify deeper emotional issues or a lack of control on the part of the perpetrator. It may reflect a need for dominance or a way to exert power over the victim in a particularly vicious manner.

The only person in this scenario who would fit the bill is the jealous older brother who was very likely sexually abusing JB over an extended period of time and finally, the rage built up to the point he had to act.

My question would be, what prompted him to act at that particular time?

Did she receive more presents than him?
Was she shown more attention at the party that evening?
Did she recently win another pageant, causing him to get angrier at being marginalized even further?

JR and PR seeing what he had done, had to cover it up or lose their remaining child, and so began the clumsy attempts at trying to stage the house to look as if a miraculous intruder was able to carry this crime out.
 
Agree about the brutality - it tells us quite a bit about the killer. Alas, that's a level of brutality I dont think 9yr old Burke was capable of. I myself grew up with a younger sister, I would sometimes tease her and stuff, but there's levels. What happened in the basement was several orders of magnitude more than the boy could have done. Plus, add in the sexual assault which would point away from her brother massively
 
Agree about the brutality - it tells us quite a bit about the killer. Alas, that's a level of brutality I dont think 9yr old Burke was capable of. I myself grew up with a younger sister, I would sometimes tease her and stuff, but there's levels. What happened in the basement was several orders of magnitude more than the boy could have done. Plus, add in the sexual assault which would point away from her brother massively
The sexual assault was not a complete act. There was no semen and parts of the hymen remained intact.
It was either digital or with the paintbrush, as was mentioned.

The key factor here is that it wasn't the first time.
BR had been caught playing doctor with JB under the covers on more than one occasion.
 
The suggestion that there was anything sexual about Burke and JB playing is just fanciful imo and requires mental gymnastics for it to make sense.
 
I am sure it has been discussed before but for the benefit of newer members, it should be addressed.
Whoever killed JBR, was not satisfied to simply kill her. The killer went to extreme measures to make sure she was dead and likely suffered horribly in the process...overkill.

Using both a neck ligature and a blunt object like a flashlight or a golf club to cause fatal injuries demonstrates a level of violence that far exceeds what would typically be required to kill someone.

It suggests not just an intent to kill but an intent to inflict extreme harm or suffering. This excessive brutality can be indicative of intense rage, hatred, or a desire to ensure the victim's demise beyond any doubt.

Consider for a moment, is this something that either parent would seem to be capable of? What would be their motivation?
What of the intruder theory? Gary Oliva proclaimed love for JB and how she made him a better person.
Would he be capable of this?

Psychologically, overkill in a homicide can also signify deeper emotional issues or a lack of control on the part of the perpetrator. It may reflect a need for dominance or a way to exert power over the victim in a particularly vicious manner.

The only person in this scenario who would fit the bill is the jealous older brother who was very likely sexually abusing JB over an extended period of time and finally, the rage built up to the point he had to act.

My question would be, what prompted him to act at that particular time?

Did she receive more presents than him?
Was she shown more attention at the party that evening?
Did she recently win another pageant, causing him to get angrier at being marginalized even further?

JR and PR seeing what he had done, had to cover it up or lose their remaining child, and so began the clumsy attempts at trying to stage the house to look as if a miraculous intruder was able to carry this crime out.
Some good points here regarding overkill.

I absolutely think PR was capable of becoming enraged enough to done this. She was known to have mood swings, had been experiencing panic attacks after her cancer treatments, and I do think she was under duress with everything that was going on in her life. I think the bedwetting was more of an issue than either of them admitted. It was chronic and occurring virtually every night. BR also had regressed to bedwetting, plus there was the scatolia. Both of those kids had issues and I think that as time went on PR became less capable emotionally of dealing with the issues. JR was not only always at work or on business trips, he was emotionally distant as both a father and a husband. He seemed to be a good father when he was around, but he just wasn't on a consistent basis. PR was pretty much left to take care of the kids and the house, which she had a lot of trouble keeping up with despite having help.

Not ruling BR out, but I don't think the chronic SA that was observed by experts who examined all the autopsy materials was your average "playing doctor" by siblings. I'm no expert of course, but it just seems both rather extreme and salacious for a 9 year old. And whatever it was that happened, all that followed was to not only cover up for her death but also to try and cover up that she was being sexually abused.

There were also signs that there was care involved in the cover up, such as wrapping her in her favorite blanket and her favorite nightie next to her.
 
Some good points here regarding overkill.

I absolutely think PR was capable of becoming enraged enough to done this. She was known to have mood swings, had been experiencing panic attacks after her cancer treatments, and I do think she was under duress with everything that was going on in her life. I think the bedwetting was more of an issue than either of them admitted. It was chronic and occurring virtually every night. BR also had regressed to bedwetting, plus there was the scatolia. Both of those kids had issues and I think that as time went on PR became less capable emotionally of dealing with the issues. JR was not only always at work or on business trips, he was emotionally distant as both a father and a husband. He seemed to be a good father when he was around, but he just wasn't on a consistent basis. PR was pretty much left to take care of the kids and the house, which she had a lot of trouble keeping up with despite having help.

Not ruling BR out, but I don't think the chronic SA that was observed by experts who examined all the autopsy materials was your average "playing doctor" by siblings. I'm no expert of course, but it just seems both rather extreme and salacious for a 9 year old. And whatever it was that happened, all that followed was to not only cover up for her death but also to try and cover up that she was being sexually abused.

There were also signs that there was care involved in the cover up, such as wrapping her in her favorite blanket and her favorite nightie next to her.

"...what prompted him to act at that particular time?"
I've wondered about this, too. Since all behavior is multiply determined, then, if it was BR, I think a larger pattern rather than any one incident holds the clues. And a sustained, “dots connected” narrative of BR’s life is something missing from the case. What follows is only a bare bones version, based on key events we know and statements BR has made. It's not really adequate, but maybe it's a start to understanding more about the timing, the anger, and the overkill. It all has to do with being 6 ½ years old.

BR's birthday acquired associations with death and Christmas. His half-sister Beth died on 1/8/92, two weeks after Christmas, casting a pall of grief on his 5th birthday barely three weeks later. The following summer PR was diagnosed with end stage cancer and began commuting to Bethesda for experimental treatments. Nedra and the housekeeper became the children's caretakers. BR was 6 ½. PR was so weak and immunodeficient that she isolated to JAR's room. By Christmastime 1993, as BR approached his 7th birthday, it wasn't clear whether PR would survive.

She did survive, and in the latter part of 1994 was recovered enough to enter JBR in her first pageant. Around Thanksgiving in 1995, PR was declared to be in full remission. By then all the pageant efforts - the contests, costumes, lessons, photoshoots, travel, spending - were in full swing. Too full. Scarcely a year later, several family friends felt that the whole "mega JonBenet thing" had gotten completely out of hand and planned an intervention with PR. They might have noted that such an excess creates a corresponding deficit, that BR was neglected. At 8 and 9 he had school, friends, scouting; but nothing replaces a mother’s time and attention or makes you feel okay if you know she's spending a ton more money on your sister than she is on you.

What happened to BR during those two years? When PR became ill, BR was the apple of her eye. Suddenly, he had almost no contact with her for months. The pain was so overwhelming that it had to be bound in anger, anger that drove him to smear the bathroom wall with feces. He had felt worried and afraid; he had missed his mom; he had been brave; and he looked for some acknowledgment of that, of what he had come through. As PR regained her health, BR also expected, as children that age do, that things would simply go back to being the way they were. Not only did neither of these things happen, in 1994 JBR - his sunny, beautiful, sometimes bratty little sister who teased him, smashed his legos, interrupted his playtime with friends, and acted bossy - JBR replaced him as the golden child.

At Christmas 1996, JBR was the center of her mother’s world and destined to stay there for the next 13 years until she was crowned Miss America. At 6 ½ her life looked great. What a contrast to BR’s life at 6 ½. Through no fault of his own, he lost his mother for months and life as he had known it. His family seemed not to notice that loss. The difference in his and JBR’s fortunes must have felt deeply unfair to him. The family had no place for his grief or his outrage. Studies show that fairness is a universal value and anger a universal response to injustice. Children in particular feel injustice keenly.

In December 1996, the parents attended or hosted party after party and gala events. In between these, on December 6th, JBR rode in the Boulder parade on her own float, “Little Miss Colorado,” made by PR’s father. On December 17th, JBR also won the “Colorado’s Little Miss Christmas Pageant” and won a prize at a separate event near Denver. On December 20th, JBR also spent an entire school day performing her latest routine for every single class in her school - which was BR's school, too. On December 22nd, she also participated in a pageant at a nearby mall. The intense focus on JBR’s outward appearance matched the indifference to BR’s inner world. Maybe by Christmas BR had just had enough.

Young children process logically, symbolically, unconsciously, in make-believe, and magical thinking all at the same time. Surely, in BR’s mind JBR didn’t deserve so much attention and applause. Maybe his mom would pay more attention to him if she weren’t so busy with all the pageant stuff. Maybe it was too painful to think that his mom would stay wrapped up in JBR forever; that there was no way back to being the apple of her eye. The summer he was 6 ½, his happy life ended abruptly in Charlevoix when his mother’s cancer was discovered. Maybe it made a kind of sense that if his father’s favorite, Beth, died suddenly around Christmastime, right when everyone was happy, then if his mother’s favorite, JBR, also died suddenly at Christmastime, it would make things even, in a way. Maybe if something happened to JBR, the family and PR’s frantic pace would be calmer for a while, the way they were after Beth died. Maybe if they could go to Charlevoix without JBR, things would be okay. Maybe if JBR’s life ended at 6 ½, that would make things fair. It would be a kind of reset that made it possible to get on with his life - his real and rightful life in his mothers' doting regard, the one that stopped in Charlevoix in 1993, life as he’d known it before cancer and the pageants and mega JonBenet.

Admittedly, I can’t know the details or exactly how the dots connect, but, from my studies and work, I believe that, if BR killed JBR, the motivation and timing emerged from his mental and emotional associations, conscious and unconscious, of death, Christmas, mother, profound loss, grief, anger, and Charlevoix. However things unfolded on the night of 12/25/96, I believe that immediate events themselves were not the trigger but what those events represented to BR.
 
"...what prompted him to act at that particular time?"
I've wondered about this, too. Since all behavior is multiply determined, then, if it was BR, I think a larger pattern rather than any one incident holds the clues. And a sustained, “dots connected” narrative of BR’s life is something missing from the case. What follows is only a bare bones version, based on key events we know and statements BR has made. It's not really adequate, but maybe it's a start to understanding more about the timing, the anger, and the overkill. It all has to do with being 6 ½ years old.

BR's birthday acquired associations with death and Christmas. His half-sister Beth died on 1/8/92, two weeks after Christmas, casting a pall of grief on his 5th birthday barely three weeks later. The following summer PR was diagnosed with end stage cancer and began commuting to Bethesda for experimental treatments. Nedra and the housekeeper became the children's caretakers. BR was 6 ½. PR was so weak and immunodeficient that she isolated to JAR's room. By Christmastime 1993, as BR approached his 7th birthday, it wasn't clear whether PR would survive.

She did survive, and in the latter part of 1994 was recovered enough to enter JBR in her first pageant. Around Thanksgiving in 1995, PR was declared to be in full remission. By then all the pageant efforts - the contests, costumes, lessons, photoshoots, travel, spending - were in full swing. Too full. Scarcely a year later, several family friends felt that the whole "mega JonBenet thing" had gotten completely out of hand and planned an intervention with PR. They might have noted that such an excess creates a corresponding deficit, that BR was neglected. At 8 and 9 he had school, friends, scouting; but nothing replaces a mother’s time and attention or makes you feel okay if you know she's spending a ton more money on your sister than she is on you.

What happened to BR during those two years? When PR became ill, BR was the apple of her eye. Suddenly, he had almost no contact with her for months. The pain was so overwhelming that it had to be bound in anger, anger that drove him to smear the bathroom wall with feces. He had felt worried and afraid; he had missed his mom; he had been brave; and he looked for some acknowledgment of that, of what he had come through. As PR regained her health, BR also expected, as children that age do, that things would simply go back to being the way they were. Not only did neither of these things happen, in 1994 JBR - his sunny, beautiful, sometimes bratty little sister who teased him, smashed his legos, interrupted his playtime with friends, and acted bossy - JBR replaced him as the golden child.

At Christmas 1996, JBR was the center of her mother’s world and destined to stay there for the next 13 years until she was crowned Miss America. At 6 ½ her life looked great. What a contrast to BR’s life at 6 ½. Through no fault of his own, he lost his mother for months and life as he had known it. His family seemed not to notice that loss. The difference in his and JBR’s fortunes must have felt deeply unfair to him. The family had no place for his grief or his outrage. Studies show that fairness is a universal value and anger a universal response to injustice. Children in particular feel injustice keenly.

In December 1996, the parents attended or hosted party after party and gala events. In between these, on December 6th, JBR rode in the Boulder parade on her own float, “Little Miss Colorado,” made by PR’s father. On December 17th, JBR also won the “Colorado’s Little Miss Christmas Pageant” and won a prize at a separate event near Denver. On December 20th, JBR also spent an entire school day performing her latest routine for every single class in her school - which was BR's school, too. On December 22nd, she also participated in a pageant at a nearby mall. The intense focus on JBR’s outward appearance matched the indifference to BR’s inner world. Maybe by Christmas BR had just had enough.

Young children process logically, symbolically, unconsciously, in make-believe, and magical thinking all at the same time. Surely, in BR’s mind JBR didn’t deserve so much attention and applause. Maybe his mom would pay more attention to him if she weren’t so busy with all the pageant stuff. Maybe it was too painful to think that his mom would stay wrapped up in JBR forever; that there was no way back to being the apple of her eye. The summer he was 6 ½, his happy life ended abruptly in Charlevoix when his mother’s cancer was discovered. Maybe it made a kind of sense that if his father’s favorite, Beth, died suddenly around Christmastime, right when everyone was happy, then if his mother’s favorite, JBR, also died suddenly at Christmastime, it would make things even, in a way. Maybe if something happened to JBR, the family and PR’s frantic pace would be calmer for a while, the way they were after Beth died. Maybe if they could go to Charlevoix without JBR, things would be okay. Maybe if JBR’s life ended at 6 ½, that would make things fair. It would be a kind of reset that made it possible to get on with his life - his real and rightful life in his mothers' doting regard, the one that stopped in Charlevoix in 1993, life as he’d known it before cancer and the pageants and mega JonBenet.

Admittedly, I can’t know the details or exactly how the dots connect, but, from my studies and work, I believe that, if BR killed JBR, the motivation and timing emerged from his mental and emotional associations, conscious and unconscious, of death, Christmas, mother, profound loss, grief, anger, and Charlevoix. However things unfolded on the night of 12/25/96, I believe that immediate events themselves were not the trigger but what those events represented to BR.


Great analysis.
Might I add the possibility of an organic mental disorder on top of the abandonment .
Impulsivity, low frustration tolerance, anxiety..sensory seeking...just to name a few.
 
"...what prompted him to act at that particular time?"
I've wondered about this, too. Since all behavior is multiply determined, then, if it was BR, I think a larger pattern rather than any one incident holds the clues. And a sustained, “dots connected” narrative of BR’s life is something missing from the case. What follows is only a bare bones version, based on key events we know and statements BR has made. It's not really adequate, but maybe it's a start to understanding more about the timing, the anger, and the overkill. It all has to do with being 6 ½ years old.

BR's birthday acquired associations with death and Christmas. His half-sister Beth died on 1/8/92, two weeks after Christmas, casting a pall of grief on his 5th birthday barely three weeks later. The following summer PR was diagnosed with end stage cancer and began commuting to Bethesda for experimental treatments. Nedra and the housekeeper became the children's caretakers. BR was 6 ½. PR was so weak and immunodeficient that she isolated to JAR's room. By Christmastime 1993, as BR approached his 7th birthday, it wasn't clear whether PR would survive.

She did survive, and in the latter part of 1994 was recovered enough to enter JBR in her first pageant. Around Thanksgiving in 1995, PR was declared to be in full remission. By then all the pageant efforts - the contests, costumes, lessons, photoshoots, travel, spending - were in full swing. Too full. Scarcely a year later, several family friends felt that the whole "mega JonBenet thing" had gotten completely out of hand and planned an intervention with PR. They might have noted that such an excess creates a corresponding deficit, that BR was neglected. At 8 and 9 he had school, friends, scouting; but nothing replaces a mother’s time and attention or makes you feel okay if you know she's spending a ton more money on your sister than she is on you.

What happened to BR during those two years? When PR became ill, BR was the apple of her eye. Suddenly, he had almost no contact with her for months. The pain was so overwhelming that it had to be bound in anger, anger that drove him to smear the bathroom wall with feces. He had felt worried and afraid; he had missed his mom; he had been brave; and he looked for some acknowledgment of that, of what he had come through. As PR regained her health, BR also expected, as children that age do, that things would simply go back to being the way they were. Not only did neither of these things happen, in 1994 JBR - his sunny, beautiful, sometimes bratty little sister who teased him, smashed his legos, interrupted his playtime with friends, and acted bossy - JBR replaced him as the golden child.

At Christmas 1996, JBR was the center of her mother’s world and destined to stay there for the next 13 years until she was crowned Miss America. At 6 ½ her life looked great. What a contrast to BR’s life at 6 ½. Through no fault of his own, he lost his mother for months and life as he had known it. His family seemed not to notice that loss. The difference in his and JBR’s fortunes must have felt deeply unfair to him. The family had no place for his grief or his outrage. Studies show that fairness is a universal value and anger a universal response to injustice. Children in particular feel injustice keenly.

In December 1996, the parents attended or hosted party after party and gala events. In between these, on December 6th, JBR rode in the Boulder parade on her own float, “Little Miss Colorado,” made by PR’s father. On December 17th, JBR also won the “Colorado’s Little Miss Christmas Pageant” and won a prize at a separate event near Denver. On December 20th, JBR also spent an entire school day performing her latest routine for every single class in her school - which was BR's school, too. On December 22nd, she also participated in a pageant at a nearby mall. The intense focus on JBR’s outward appearance matched the indifference to BR’s inner world. Maybe by Christmas BR had just had enough.

Young children process logically, symbolically, unconsciously, in make-believe, and magical thinking all at the same time. Surely, in BR’s mind JBR didn’t deserve so much attention and applause. Maybe his mom would pay more attention to him if she weren’t so busy with all the pageant stuff. Maybe it was too painful to think that his mom would stay wrapped up in JBR forever; that there was no way back to being the apple of her eye. The summer he was 6 ½, his happy life ended abruptly in Charlevoix when his mother’s cancer was discovered. Maybe it made a kind of sense that if his father’s favorite, Beth, died suddenly around Christmastime, right when everyone was happy, then if his mother’s favorite, JBR, also died suddenly at Christmastime, it would make things even, in a way. Maybe if something happened to JBR, the family and PR’s frantic pace would be calmer for a while, the way they were after Beth died. Maybe if they could go to Charlevoix without JBR, things would be okay. Maybe if JBR’s life ended at 6 ½, that would make things fair. It would be a kind of reset that made it possible to get on with his life - his real and rightful life in his mothers' doting regard, the one that stopped in Charlevoix in 1993, life as he’d known it before cancer and the pageants and mega JonBenet.

Admittedly, I can’t know the details or exactly how the dots connect, but, from my studies and work, I believe that, if BR killed JBR, the motivation and timing emerged from his mental and emotional associations, conscious and unconscious, of death, Christmas, mother, profound loss, grief, anger, and Charlevoix. However things unfolded on the night of 12/25/96, I believe that immediate events themselves were not the trigger but what those events represented to BR.
This is very insightful and I think spot on.

I would just add that I actually think the issues with BR feeling like his place with his mother had been taken over by JBR started earlier than PR's illness, but I think you are right in that it was a catalyst for what followed, because it was when she went into remission that the hardcore pageant stuff with JBR started and that's when it really became apparent that BR was now the 3rd wheel if you will. Having his mother absent and being so ill had to have taken a toll, and the fact that his father wasn't taking up the slack left a hole. And while it's great that they had Nedra to rely on, she had an interesting personality and wasn't really a substitute for one's mother. She cared a lot for PR too, leaving the care of the kids a lot of time to the housekeeper(s). It is interesting to note however, that apparently his issues with bedwetting went away for awhile when PR first turned her attention to JBR. We cannot know what went on in that family with any certainty, but I think there is something about PR that lies at the center of a lot of the dysfunction that was evident in this family. By most accounts JR was described as a good father, but it can also be said that he wasn't around a lot. And he was also emotionally distant. BR was not getting the kind of attention that he needed from either of his parents, and I think it's a fair assumption to say that no one seemed to take into account what he was going through, what he was feeling having all of this happening in his life.

I still cannot come to one solid conclusion as to who actually did this, but it's interesting to note how BR acted in the LE and psychiatrist interviews after JBR's death. His reaction to the Dr. who took a drink from his soda. Can this reaction be linked to something that occurred that night that caused him to lash out? Clearly he was very concerned and protective about things he perceived as being his and I think this plays right along with what you're saying about how he may very well have felt. So much had been taken from him, the need to protect what he felt was his and his alone was very strong. And his anger / resentment against JBR just might have been enough to push him over the edge. I think it's very likely that no one was in bed that night when they said they were. JBR may very well have followed him downstairs and something occurred that made him lose it. I do think it's possible that it was a combination of all that you mention above....a triggering event that overwhelmed him with all those feelings that he had.....profound loss, grief, anger, everything coming together in one terrifying moment. But it was also in his mind, solved in that same moment. I kind of have a hard time envisioning him doing something on purpose without a triggering event. But I do think that rather than remorse, if it was him, there was instead a sense of relief.

How quickly he was able to move on, how soon in his mind it was that JBR didn't even exist anymore. I do think it's very accurate to say that his birthday and Christmas were probably not the happiest times for him emotionally, whether consciously or sub-consciously. I think for most kids that age, they don't generally feel the stress and pressure of the holidays as most parents might. But in this case there were all the pageants, a parade, all the parties and the Parade of Homes. The Christmas shopping, the wrapping of all those presents....a Christmas tree in every room. PR did have help, but still it was mostly in her court rather than JR's. As Nedra said at one point, we just enjoy spending his money. It feels very frenetic even for a child. And certainly kids pick up feelings from their parents too. PR took on way too much and was never ahead of the game. I'm guessing that most likely came from her feeling that she only had so much time so she was going to pack in as much as she could. Understandable, but when it reaches the point of being overwhelming for everyone, it puts more than just your own health at risk.
 
Great analysis.
Might I add the possibility of an organic mental disorder on top of the abandonment .
Impulsivity, low frustration tolerance, anxiety..sensory seeking...just to name a few.
And even though he was seeing a psychiatrist, it doesn't feel like he was really getting much support for his issues from the ones he needed it most, his mother and father. I would also throw out that given we know how concerned with appearances both PR and JR were, they just seemed to go about life as if there were no issues with either of their children. They ensured help from medical professionals, but how much of themselves did they invest in helping to resolve the issues? I think they ignored a lot of signs being thrown out that other people did see.
 
Great analysis.
Might I add the possibility of an organic mental disorder on top of the abandonment .
Impulsivity, low frustration tolerance, anxiety..sensory seeking...just to name a few.

Thank you. I wanted to stick to known factors to lay out the basic pattern. But yes, an organic mental disorder is certainly a possibility that could be woven in. To your list of behaviors I would add what reads like a heightened sensitivity to interruption.
 
And even though he was seeing a psychiatrist, it doesn't feel like he was really getting much support for his issues from the ones he needed it most, his mother and father. I would also throw out that given we know how concerned with appearances both PR and JR were, they just seemed to go about life as if there were no issues with either of their children. They ensured help from medical professionals, but how much of themselves did they invest in helping to resolve the issues? I think they ignored a lot of signs being thrown out that other people did see.

No it doesnt seem like the kids problems were being addressed in a meaningful way.
For some reason it bothers me that BR was left to his own devices in the basement. That house was big. I have a hard time thinking if I was upstairs in the Ramsey BR and my kid was 3 floors away unobserved with all the things they could get into down there that I'd be comfortable with that. I wonder at what age BR was relegated to the basement. Wasn't there a playroom upstairs?
One of my boys would have never gotten into mischief if given the opportunity but the other may have . Kids need watchful eyes in my opinion. BR had his own downstairs apartment before he was 10
 
This is very insightful and I think spot on.



I still cannot come to one solid conclusion as to who actually did this, but it's interesting to note how BR acted in the LE and psychiatrist interviews after JBR's death. His reaction to the Dr. who took a drink from his soda. Can this reaction be linked to something that occurred that night that caused him to lash out? Clearly he was very concerned and protective about things he perceived as being his and I think this plays right along with what you're saying about how he may very well have felt.

I have watched the interviews and see a lot of ADHD symptoms. Him lashing out is impulsivity and not good behavioral regulation. He went zero to 60. Most kids under that circumstance would be intimidated to say anything. He knew he was being assessed, probably was coached, but he still lost his temper. I think kids that aren't functioning in ADHD mode would say something like "umm you drank my drink" or "excuse me"........ without the big reaction.
 
"...what prompted him to act at that particular time?"
I've wondered about this, too. Since all behavior is multiply determined, then, if it was BR, I think a larger pattern rather than any one incident holds the clues. And a sustained, “dots connected” narrative of BR’s life is something missing from the case. What follows is only a bare bones version, based on key events we know and statements BR has made. It's not really adequate, but maybe it's a start to understanding more about the timing, the anger, and the overkill. It all has to do with being 6 ½ years old.

BR's birthday acquired associations with death and Christmas. His half-sister Beth died on 1/8/92, two weeks after Christmas, casting a pall of grief on his 5th birthday barely three weeks later. The following summer PR was diagnosed with end stage cancer and began commuting to Bethesda for experimental treatments. Nedra and the housekeeper became the children's caretakers. BR was 6 ½. PR was so weak and immunodeficient that she isolated to JAR's room. By Christmastime 1993, as BR approached his 7th birthday, it wasn't clear whether PR would survive.

She did survive, and in the latter part of 1994 was recovered enough to enter JBR in her first pageant. Around Thanksgiving in 1995, PR was declared to be in full remission. By then all the pageant efforts - the contests, costumes, lessons, photoshoots, travel, spending - were in full swing. Too full. Scarcely a year later, several family friends felt that the whole "mega JonBenet thing" had gotten completely out of hand and planned an intervention with PR. They might have noted that such an excess creates a corresponding deficit, that BR was neglected. At 8 and 9 he had school, friends, scouting; but nothing replaces a mother’s time and attention or makes you feel okay if you know she's spending a ton more money on your sister than she is on you.

What happened to BR during those two years? When PR became ill, BR was the apple of her eye. Suddenly, he had almost no contact with her for months. The pain was so overwhelming that it had to be bound in anger, anger that drove him to smear the bathroom wall with feces. He had felt worried and afraid; he had missed his mom; he had been brave; and he looked for some acknowledgment of that, of what he had come through. As PR regained her health, BR also expected, as children that age do, that things would simply go back to being the way they were. Not only did neither of these things happen, in 1994 JBR - his sunny, beautiful, sometimes bratty little sister who teased him, smashed his legos, interrupted his playtime with friends, and acted bossy - JBR replaced him as the golden child.

At Christmas 1996, JBR was the center of her mother’s world and destined to stay there for the next 13 years until she was crowned Miss America. At 6 ½ her life looked great. What a contrast to BR’s life at 6 ½. Through no fault of his own, he lost his mother for months and life as he had known it. His family seemed not to notice that loss. The difference in his and JBR’s fortunes must have felt deeply unfair to him. The family had no place for his grief or his outrage. Studies show that fairness is a universal value and anger a universal response to injustice. Children in particular feel injustice keenly.

In December 1996, the parents attended or hosted party after party and gala events. In between these, on December 6th, JBR rode in the Boulder parade on her own float, “Little Miss Colorado,” made by PR’s father. On December 17th, JBR also won the “Colorado’s Little Miss Christmas Pageant” and won a prize at a separate event near Denver. On December 20th, JBR also spent an entire school day performing her latest routine for every single class in her school - which was BR's school, too. On December 22nd, she also participated in a pageant at a nearby mall. The intense focus on JBR’s outward appearance matched the indifference to BR’s inner world. Maybe by Christmas BR had just had enough.

Young children process logically, symbolically, unconsciously, in make-believe, and magical thinking all at the same time. Surely, in BR’s mind JBR didn’t deserve so much attention and applause. Maybe his mom would pay more attention to him if she weren’t so busy with all the pageant stuff. Maybe it was too painful to think that his mom would stay wrapped up in JBR forever; that there was no way back to being the apple of her eye. The summer he was 6 ½, his happy life ended abruptly in Charlevoix when his mother’s cancer was discovered. Maybe it made a kind of sense that if his father’s favorite, Beth, died suddenly around Christmastime, right when everyone was happy, then if his mother’s favorite, JBR, also died suddenly at Christmastime, it would make things even, in a way. Maybe if something happened to JBR, the family and PR’s frantic pace would be calmer for a while, the way they were after Beth died. Maybe if they could go to Charlevoix without JBR, things would be okay. Maybe if JBR’s life ended at 6 ½, that would make things fair. It would be a kind of reset that made it possible to get on with his life - his real and rightful life in his mothers' doting regard, the one that stopped in Charlevoix in 1993, life as he’d known it before cancer and the pageants and mega JonBenet.

Admittedly, I can’t know the details or exactly how the dots connect, but, from my studies and work, I believe that, if BR killed JBR, the motivation and timing emerged from his mental and emotional associations, conscious and unconscious, of death, Christmas, mother, profound loss, grief, anger, and Charlevoix. However things unfolded on the night of 12/25/96, I believe that immediate events themselves were not the trigger but what those events represented to BR.
I think you are on to something here and thanks for putting it so eloquently.
In that vein of BR being cast aside, I can imagine a nine-year-old boy wanting to regain his mother's attention and love.

I can also reason that it may have crossed his immature mind that if JBR was not so pretty, she would lose the pageants and things would go back to normal, or if she would just go away, he would regain his status.

What to do...

Maybe get up that night and find her in the kitchen eating pineapple, then coerce her to go into the basement and take a sneak peek at presents...

Then, while she is carefully unwrapping something, come up behind her, maybe with a conveniently nearby golf club like an iron, and swing it overhead coming down on her head.

She becomes unconscious and he can take his time creating the rope/paintbrush device to choke her.

Plausible, sure!
Likely, who knows?
 
I am sure it has been discussed before but for the benefit of newer members, it should be addressed.
Whoever killed JBR, was not satisfied to simply kill her. The killer went to extreme measures to make sure she was dead and likely suffered horribly in the process...overkill.

Using both a neck ligature and a blunt object like a flashlight or a golf club to cause fatal injuries demonstrates a level of violence that far exceeds what would typically be required to kill someone.

It suggests not just an intent to kill but an intent to inflict extreme harm or suffering. This excessive brutality can be indicative of intense rage, hatred, or a desire to ensure the victim's demise beyond any doubt.

Consider for a moment, is this something that either parent would seem to be capable of? What would be their motivation?
What of the intruder theory? Gary Oliva proclaimed love for JB and how she made him a better person.
Would he be capable of this?

Psychologically, overkill in a homicide can also signify deeper emotional issues or a lack of control on the part of the perpetrator. It may reflect a need for dominance or a way to exert power over the victim in a particularly vicious manner.

The only person in this scenario who would fit the bill is the jealous older brother who was very likely sexually abusing JB over an extended period of time and finally, the rage built up to the point he had to act.

My question would be, what prompted him to act at that particular time?

Did she receive more presents than him?
Was she shown more attention at the party that evening?
Did she recently win another pageant, causing him to get angrier at being marginalized even further?

JR and PR seeing what he had done, had to cover it up or lose their remaining child, and so began the clumsy attempts at trying to stage the house to look as if a miraculous intruder was able to carry this crime out.

GT, I appreciate your post, and especially your curiosity about what made BR act at that particular time. Great question! This is what led me to connect JBR's being 6 ½ when she was killed and BR's being 6 ½ in 1993. I realized that couldn't be coincidence and was very excited to explore it. This led in turn literally to drawing a timeline to track both children’s ages and birthdays relative to various events (And besides, that's what you do in a murder case, right? - establish a timeline : ) That's when I realized the case lacked a continuous emotional narrative for BR, thus repeating the family's neglect unaware.

Telling BR’s story made me see and hear him differently. When the psychiatrist asked him what he didn’t like about his parents, he said they didn’t buy him expensive things. His answer always sounded obnoxious to me, but in the context of the pageant spending it seemed a reasonable complaint. The comment that I and most people found disturbing is, of course, “I’m getting on with my life.” Once I realized how truly PR’s illness and obsession with JBR had cut him off from his earlier years and close relationship with his mother, and how JBR’s death seemed to redress the injustice, I could hear the words as an accurate report of what he was experiencing, not merely a chilling dismissal of his sister’s murder (though it's still problematic).

I don’t mean to clutter the thread, talking about my process when you have given us a lot to work with on the topic. But, I do want to thank you. Though I’ve followed this case from day one and discussed it here off and on since 2013, your post prompted the first really new ideas I’ve had about it in a long while, and that is very gratifying. Thank you.
 
Is it just me or did something go wonky with Meara's post? The first two paragraphs are fine, but then it descends into numbers and gibberish.
 
I think you are on to something here and thanks for putting it so eloquently.
In that vein of BR being cast aside, I can imagine a nine-year-old boy wanting to regain his mother's attention and love.

I can also reason that it may have crossed his immature mind that if JBR was not so pretty, she would lose the pageants and things would go back to normal, or if she would just go away, he would regain his status.

What to do...

Maybe get up that night and find her in the kitchen eating pineapple, then coerce her to go into the basement and take a sneak peek at presents...

Then, while she is carefully unwrapping something, come up behind her, maybe with a conveniently nearby golf club like an iron, and swing it overhead coming down on her head.

She becomes unconscious and he can take his time creating the rope/paintbrush device to choke her.

Plausible, sure!
Likely, who knows?

Thanks, GT. Yes, what to do... I'm finding it energizing to be able to adopt BR's point of view more than before and to consider a BDI theory in which his actions can be seen as attempts to solve a problem rather than solely as a spontaneous outburst of pent up anger.

Stop the pageants, get Mom back. Making JBR less pretty might work as well as making her go away. Hadn't thought of that. This might connect with the party on Dec. 23rd and JBR crying on the steps to the butler's pantry, saying, "I don't feel pretty anymore." Apparently, she was uninjured, yet someone called 911. Did BR attempt some pageant-thwarting act that night that didn't work? Was Dec. 25th Plan B? Just thinking out loud here....

Interesting that PR's close friends were planning an intervention to stop or curtail the "mega JonBenet thing" and BR beat them to it. Not quite 10 y.o., he recognized the same necessity. In that, at least, he was not wrong. Did he take initiative in part because none of the grown-ups had? Friends planned, BR took action, but it was JR's job to see the problem and address it. Why didn't he, I wonder.

More to your topic, BR would certainly have had to lure JBR or coerce her into going to the basement. She hated that place. Unfortunately, luring could be viewed as premeditation.

I believe otg solved the mystery of the head bash weapon; JBR was struck by the shaft of a golf club. Based on his research, it would have been possible for BR to strike JBR with considerable force and perhaps more than he intended. Was the head bash overkill simply a miscalculation?

Possible vs. Plausible vs. Probable - Everything about the case has to go through the Triple P Sorter!
 
Is it just me or did something go wonky with Meara's post? The first two paragraphs are fine, but then it descends into numbers and gibberish.

OMG! Yes, something went very wrong! Hahahaha! I saw this earlier and deleted it, or so it seemed. I'll see whether Tricia can delete it for us.
 
HaHa! Glad it isn't me!

Me too! I have more problems with the Chromebook interface than I've had with a Mac or Windows. Plus, the reply window times out, so if a person is interrupted while writing or pauses too long to look things up, there can be issues.

Huge thanks to Tricia for responding right away and deleting the weird stuff! :)
 
Thanks, GT. Yes, what to do... I'm finding it energizing to be able to adopt BR's point of view more than before and to consider a BDI theory in which his actions can be seen as attempts to solve a problem rather than solely as a spontaneous outburst of pent up anger.

Stop the pageants, get Mom back. Making JBR less pretty might work as well as making her go away. Hadn't thought of that. This might connect with the party on Dec. 23rd and JBR crying on the steps to the butler's pantry, saying, "I don't feel pretty anymore." Apparently, she was uninjured, yet someone called 911. Did BR attempt some pageant-thwarting act that night that didn't work? Was Dec. 25th Plan B? Just thinking out loud here....

Interesting that PR's close friends were planning an intervention to stop or curtail the "mega JonBenet thing" and BR beat them to it. Not quite 10 y.o., he recognized the same necessity. In that, at least, he was not wrong. Did he take initiative in part because none of the grown-ups had? Friends planned, BR took action, but it was JR's job to see the problem and address it. Why didn't he, I wonder.

More to your topic, BR would certainly have had to lure JBR or coerce her into going to the basement. She hated that place. Unfortunately, luring could be viewed as premeditation.

I believe otg solved the mystery of the head bash weapon; JBR was struck by the shaft of a golf club. Based on his research, it would have been possible for BR to strike JBR with considerable force and perhaps more than he intended. Was the head bash overkill simply a miscalculation?

Possible vs. Plausible vs. Probable - Everything about the case has to go through the Triple P Sorter!
Definitely food for thought, and it's making me see BR in a different way too. This makes far more sense than a lot of the BDI theories.

The fact that PR's friends were planning an intervention is certainly interesting, and points to how out of control it was getting. Time, money, extensive rehearsing and costume fittings......that takes a lot of time and energy and is a lot for a 6 year old. She was starting to rebel a little against what PR wanted, and it also seems from some of the comments she made to others that she was not only tiring of certain aspects of it, but also seemed to recognize that this was more for PR than anyone else. I don't think it's healthy for a 6 year old to have to be so concerned with looks and appearances. And from some of the things I've heard about her personality, being a sweet and kind soul there's a certain element that seems in contrast to the world she was being put into.

Good question as to why JR did seem so unaware. We know he worked a lot and left all the household and child rearing to PR, but was he that out to lunch with being so busy, or was it something that he didn't want to, or couldn't deal with emotionally or mentally? He was distant with regard to PR's illness too.

I do agree with the golf club theory as being the most logical. And they are designed so as to have enough flexibility in the shaft that when you swing the club it gains speed and power so that when the head hits the ball it's maximized. This is all making a lot of sense to me. I feel a lot of empathy for BR. That kid went through a lot. If it is the truth that BDI, while I can understand why they felt the need for the cover up, but I also wonder if it was any kind of wake up call as to the why, and that ultimately they were responsible.

Thanks for your great posts and insight.
 

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