The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

October 26, 2013

Jurors wanted child abuse charges against Ramseys

DENVER — Grand jurors who reviewed evidence in the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey indicted both of her parents for child abuse resulting in death and being an accessory to a crime, including first-degree murder, according to documents released Friday.

The Daily Camera reported earlier this year that the grand jury had issued an indictment, but the documents for the first time revealed the charges against the Ramseys. The grand jury accused both John and Patsy Ramsey of helping someone who committed murder, but the document did not identify the alleged killer. The documents alleged both parents intended to delay or prevent the arrest of the alleged killer.

The district attorney at the time, Alex Hunter, who presented the evidence to the grand jury, declined to pursue charges saying: "I and my prosecutorial team believe we do not have sufficient evidence to warrant the filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time."

Only pages that had been signed by the grand jury foreman and were considered official action of the jury were released. The numbering of the charges implies that there were other charges the jurors considered but rejected.

Hunter did not return a phone message left Thursday by The Associated Press in anticipation of the documents' release.

The grand jury met three years after the beauty queen's body was found bludgeoned and strangled in their home in Boulder on Dec. 26, 1996. The indictments alleged the crimes occurred between Dec. 25 and Dec. 26.

The Ramseys maintained their innocence, offering a $100,000 reward for the killer and mounting a newspaper campaign seeking evidence.

Former prosecutor and law professor Karen Steinhauser said grand juries sometimes hear evidence that won't be admitted during trial that can form the basis of indictments. But she added that prosecutors must have a good faith belief that they could prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt before pursuing charges.

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