JonBenét Ramsey Murder

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Who Killed the Pageant Queen?

UK:  ITV - '50 minutes
USA:  Court TV - '50 minutes.

Copies available at £25 plus VAT

The Judicial System

The second of the trilogy of documentaries – transmitted in the UK in 2001 - looked at the way the judicial system had handled the killing. It tells the astonishing story of what happened when veteran murder detective Lou Smit was brought in to help local police.

Smit, one of America’s most experienced and successful murder detectives, quickly identified overwhelming evidence – either missed or ignored by local police – that an intruder had entered the Ramsey home, taken her from her bed and then murdered her. The evidence Smit uncovered all but cleared the parents.

Yet local law officials allowed Smit to be marginalised from the investigation and then – after his resignation – issued an injunction demanding the return of the evidence he had collected so that it could be destroyed. Only a spirited appeal against the injunction saved the evidence. In an historic decision Smit was allowed not only to retain the evidence that he had uncovered but use it in any way he though appropriate.

What happened reveals the limitation of any judicial system dominated by elected officials. In Boulder these officials were under intense public pressure to arrest and prosecute the parents. Intervention from Colorado Governor Roy Roamer, who found himself under similar pressure led to the setting up of a Grand Jury to hear the case against the parents. That it did not indict the parents largely, it is believed, because of Smit.

The documentary interviews Smit and uses his meticulous crime scene photographs and forensic evidence to show how he believes an intruder entered the Ramsey home, took JonBenét from her bed and killed her. It shows that JonBenét did not die in the way police have claimed. The truth is far more shocking.

Shortly after Court TV transmitted the documentary in the US, the new district attorney, Mary Keenan, announced that she was taking the case away from the Boulder police and setting up her own investigation: she called Lou Smit back to lead it.

Resources: (Word Docs)
Script: Who Killed the Pageant Queen?