In 1999 a grand jury actually secretly indicted the parents of JonBenet Ramsey in connection with her death, but then District Attorney Alex Hunter refused to prosecute the case, according to Colorado news sources. In fact the secret indictment was kept from the public until 2013, according to the Huffington Post, today, Friday, Oct. 18.
Now, a Colorado judge has ordered current District Attorney Stan Garnett to come to court and explain why he shouldn't follow through on the indictment, according to the Huffington Post. Ms. Patsy Ramsey died from ovarian cancer but JonBenet's father John Ramsey is still alive.
Weld County Judge Robert Lowenbach ruled, "The court concludes that the secrecy required in the grand jury process is not compromised through a process that requires presentment of the indictment in open court."
Hunter refused to sign the indictment claiming he could not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Six-year old JonBenet was bludgeoned and strangled to death in the basement of her parents' home on Dec. 6, 1996. A ransom note demanding $118,000 was found in the basement but no one ever stepped forward to claim the money.
Boulder Daily Camera reporter Charlie Brennan and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a lawsuit in September asking the indictment be produced.
Judge Lowenbach further ruled that "there is no breach of secrecy and confidentiality expected at grand jury proceedigs" by the presentation of the indictment in court. He also ordered the current DA to show cause in court why he should not be required to disclose the document."
This is the second murder case in which an indictment has been kept secret. Former prosecutor Kelly Siegler and investigator Yolanda McClary discovered that a sealed murder indictment in Matagorda County, Texas had been kept secret and never prosecuted more than 20 years ago. Siegler and McClary's discovery was unearthed as part of their investigation into a cold case for TNT's new hit series Cold Justice. While the case in Matagorda County is completely unrelated to the JonBenet Ramsey mystery one has to wonder at this disturbing trend concerning indictments which are kept secret and never prosecuted.
The normal procedure is that once a grand jury indicts a person for a crime, the district attorney's office then proceeds with a prosecution in court.
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