April 14, 2000
CNN Larry King Live
Ramsey Libel Lawyer Lin Wood on JonBenet Ramsey Murder
CNN News Transcripts, April 14, 2000
KING: Now a return visit with Lin Wood, the civil attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey. He's at our CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Are you going to sue? Are the Ramseys going to sue Steve Thomas, Lin? LIN WOOD, RAMSEYS' CIVIL ATTORNEY: I have been studying his book and I've been watching all of his appearances in his public relations publicity tour to make money off of this book. I sat here tonight, Larry, and I am absolutely amazed.
KING: Are you going to sue?
WOOD: After tonight, you bet. You can...
KING: You're going to sue.
WOOD: You can count on team Ramsey, if that's what I am, in terms of civil litigation. Steve Thomas will have his day in court, and Steve Thomas...
KING: Why after tonight? What happened tonight?
WOOD: Well, this man was afraid and perhaps embarrassed to tell you his theory. He's written a book called "Inside the Investigation." Here's what he's been saying this week "Inside the Investigation" tells the public. Number one, he's said very clearly John Ramsey is innocent. John Ramsey was not involved in the killing of his daughter. But he didn't want to tell you what his theory was about Patsy Ramsey, because I think people have read it or heard it and they've ridiculed it, and he's embarrassed to say it. But here it is, Larry -- and you've heard it. He says that Patsy Ramsey in some way woke up that night, went into her daughter's bedroom, found that she had wet the bed, engaged in a physical struggle with her in the bathroom, knocked her up against the bathtub edge, striking her head, killing her, and then took her downstairs into the basement, fashioned a garrote, a killing device, to put around her neck, strangle her and then sexually assault her -- because the evidence is clear that the child was sexually assaulted that night. Look at "Inside the Investigation." There was no evidence, zero, that there was a bed wet that night in her room. Her sheets were dry. They were not damp. They were not soiled. They were not stained. There's a picture of those sheets, and they clearly were as expected to be with the child having laid in that bed that night. There was no evidence of a struggle in the bathroom, no physical evidence of that whatsoever. And here's a very significant point, Larry. This child's skull was crushed. She suffered a 8 1/2 inch displaced fracture of the right side of her skull. Now, Patsy Ramsey didn't accidentally push a child into the bathtub edge. If his theory holds water, which it doesn't, Patsy Ramsey would have had to pick up her 45-pound daughter and swing her like a sledgehammer to crush her skull like this. This was a blow that would fall a 300-pound man. And then look at how she died. The autopsy is clear. She died from strangulation. A garrote was placed around her neck and tightened until she died. And the autopsy showed there were only two tablespoons of blood in her skull cavity. This massive crushing blow should have produced a tremendous amount of blood while Patsy was planning this cover-up stage. But there was no blood as a practical matter because the garrote was already tightened around her neck, stopping the flow of blood from her heart to her brain when she was struck on the head.
KING: All right, now let...
WOOD: Steve Thomas's theory is fiction.
KING: All right, now obviously he totally believes it. Your theory also is why would some -- we could question your theory being why would someone write a long ransom note and then kill a child if you wanted the money for ransom? What sense does that make?
WOOD: Well, let me tell you, I'm not a killer and I'm not a psychiatrist, but I can give you, I think, a very plausible explanation. I could easily say that someone went into that house and waited, wrote this note under the idea that they would make it look like a kidnapping, get this child, assault her and kill her, and then figure maybe the police -- they would buy a lot of time to get out, to get away. There are a lot of explanations, including the fact that it was a kidnapping that went wrong. But I want to clarify this fiction about the handwriting, too. This expert that Thomas now tells us was the expert linguist who was used by the FBI -- I have a letter, Larry, that this fellow, Don Foster, wrote to Patsy Ramsey in June of 1997. And he said to her, "I know that you are innocent -- know it, absolutely and unequivocally. I would state my professional reputation on it, indeed my faith in humanity." Mr. Foster, the expert linguist, was so discredited by this letter when it was exposed that he was not even allowed to testify before the grand jury. That's Mr. Thomas's expert handwriting analysis. Now...
KING: He scores points, Lin, when he says your client did not cooperate, did not go to the police, to the hired individual lawyers, pushed things around, pushed it off, had clout. Why didn't -- as innocent people, they run down, give lie detector tests in a second and go crazy because they know there's a killer loose?
WOOD: Well, let me clear up a couple of those false states by Mr. Thomas directly. Number one, let's look at the question of Patsy Ramsey's willingness to cooperate. You know, in this tabloid that he calls a book, Steve Thomas discusses at length the statements given by John and Patsy Ramsey in April of 1997 that he took, his interrogation. Even though I have the statements -- and he swore a confidence, his word, that he would not release them to the media, his word was not good when it came time to make a profit. But let me read just one statement in that that he doesn't include in his interviews or his book. Patsy Ramsey said in April of 1997 to Steve Thomas: "I mean, really and truly, I want to -- I mean, you say you thought about it 100 hours a day, I've thought about it every waking moment, sleeping moment, you know? And I want to work with you, John and I both. Please, I can't tell you how much we want to work with you. So anything else, ask me" And then he did not ask her to take a polygraph test. He hasn't told the truth about that in his interviews. He said to Patsy Ramsey, "And I know -- well, let me ask you this way," Mr. Thomas said, "I'm not asking you to take one. But hypothetically, if you took a polygraph, how would you do?" And here is Patsy Ramsey's answer to Steve Thomas: "I'm telling you the truth. I mean, I don't know how those things work, but if they tell the truth, I'm telling the truth. I never have given anybody a reason to think otherwise. I want to find out who did this -- period." Thomas said, "Does that mean you'd pass it?" She said, "Yes, I would pass it. I'll take 10 of them. I don't care. Do whatever you want." That's the truth of what Patsy Ramsey said in...
KING: All right...
WOOD: ... April of 1997. And you know what, Larry? Steve Thomas never asked her to take a polygraph. The person he claims now to be his prime suspect, he never followed up and asked her to take one...
KING: By the way...
WOOD: ... and now he accuses her of not taking one.
KING: I've got to get a break, Lin, but are they going to take one?
WOOD: They have offered to do so. The only issue right now is whether or not the FBI, who has been offered up as the examiner by Chief Beckner, is truly independent. The Ramseys believe that we need to get someone who has not been involved in the investigation. As Steve Thomas said tonight...
KING: Well, there's many good -- you could find one tomorrow. There's many top...
KING: What's delaying this? Why don't you pick one out? In Chicago there's one, in Miami there's one. Pick one out.
WOOD: If Chief Beckner will let me do so, I'll be glad to compare this...
KING: You can do it without Chief Beckner, you can go do it yourself.
WOOD: We can do it ourselves, but let me say this. We want to move this investigation away from John and Patsy. And in order to do that, it's going to be most helpful if we have a polygraph when they pass that the police will look at and say, OK, let's start looking elsewhere.
KING: All right, let me get a break. We'll be right back with Lin Wood, the civil attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey right after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE," MARCH 27, 2000)
KING: You set -- you put guidelines up to the interviewers. You'd only be interviewed together. Why?
J. RAMSEY: I don't remember...
KING: Is that...
P. RAMSEY: I don't remember any guidelines.
J. RAMSEY: I don't remember.
KING: You didn't give them any guidelines?
J. RAMSEY: The only guideline I remember, the only request that we made -- and this was after a huge gap of mistrust developed -- the police withheld JonBenet's body for burial to try to force us to submit to their terms.
KING: Which were?
J. RAMSEY: That we -- the three of us be interrogated in the police station before we buried our daughter. And we were horribly offended at that. And this huge gap of mistrust developed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Lin, would you agree with Steve Thomas that this case is stone cold dead?
WOOD: Yes, I do agree with that statement. I believe that's the statement of Dr. Henry Lee. It's interesting that you hear District Attorney Hunter talk about we're on the right track and we're moving along, and you hear the governor come out and say we've got the right people in place. They're doing the job. The truth is they're botching this file up, and it's going on the shelf. And there's a killer out there and no one's looking for him that has a badge and a gun.
KING: So any way you look at it, Steve Thomas or Lin Wood, this has a tragic ending? There's a death without a solution?
WOOD: Well, it is at the moment going to be a death without a solution if we cannot get the authorities in Boulder or some other professional agency involved to start looking in the direction of an intruder. And let me just point out if I might, Larry, Steve Thomas makes a nice impression. He's a nice-looking young man. But he tries to downplay the fact that he's also a totally inexperienced homicide detective. Before this case...
KING: But they called him in. He didn't ask for the case.
WOOD: Well, that doesn't make him experienced. That just shows that they had to go into the narcotics undercover people to get somebody to look into a homicide. But, you know, look at what Lou Smit, who was hired by the Boulder district attorney's office, has done. Thirty-two years as a homicide investigator in that part of the country, a legend, over 200 homicides Lou Smit has investigated with an 85 percent or higher solution rate. Lou Smit's done an interview for "Newsweek," sure, but Lou Smit's at home tonight in Colorado Springs. He's not on television trying to make money on a book. He hasn't written a book. Lou Smit's at home tonight working as hard as he can to still find the killer of JonBenet. Contrast that to what Steve Thomas is doing.
KING: But your clients also wrote a book, Lin.
WOOD: You bet they did. And I will tell you, they had no choice. My clients, unlike Steve Thomas, my clients have had a three- year time period in which they have been subjected to the most vicious attacks. Just look at some of the things that have been said about this family. John and Patsy Ramsey have been accused in headlines of being everything from child molesters to drug addicts to murderers to pornographers. They had finally after the grand jury, I think, an obligation almost to come out and tell their side of the story, to tell the truth of what this family has been through. And they're not spending their money -- and I -- with all due respect to Mr. Thomas, I'm sure he's got more than a small house and a pick-up truck as an advance for this book -- but they're putting their money back into paying for the criminal investigation, the attorneys' fees and then the JonBenet Ramsey foundation. I'd like to ask Mr. Thomas what he intends to do with his money.
KING: We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments with Lin Wood on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Four top authors will be with us tomorrow night, including the famed Frederick Forsyth, author of "Day of the Jackal." We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "LARRY KING LIVE," MARCH 27, 2000)
P. RAMSEY: I'm worried for the entire country. There is a killer walking around out there someplace. Lou Smit tells us that we can...
KING: That's a detective, right?
P. RAMSEY: Detective Lou Smits.
J. RAMSEY: Lou Smit is the only homicide investigator that's ever looked at this case.
P. RAMSEY: And he says definitively that there's enough evidence to find this man. But the public needs to know it. It's been -- it's been...
KING: So why would the police not want to solve it?
P. RAMSEY: Why wouldn't they?
J. RAMSEY: I think the police are passionate.
KING: That it's you?
J. RAMSEY: They're passionate that is was one of us.
P. RAMSEY: That's right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Let's get a call in for Lin Wood. Little Rock, Arkansas -- hello. CALLER: Hi.
KING: Hi. CALLER: Hi, Mr. Wood.
WOOD: How are you? CALLER: Mr. King.
KING: Hi. CALLER: I just want to say I think it's wonderful that they've agreed to take a polygraph test. And my question is, would they also submit to a blood test to make sure they were not taking anything, i.e., medication, herbs, that would alter their response to the questions on the polygraph? How would you answer that, sir?
WOOD: Oh, absolutely. I'm sure that the question would be asked if they're on any medications, and they would answer that question truthfully and submit to any urinalysis that was required or asked of them. John and Patsy Ramsey have in many, many days of interrogation by police officers in Boulder and in a number of interviews with respect to their book, they have answered every question. They have done everything that has been asked of them in terms of coming out and doing whatever they could do at least once to try to help solve this crime. So, yes...
KING: Are you...
WOOD: ... they'll do what it takes.
KING: Lin, are you worried when Steve said that he heard that one of the grand jury members may come forward and say they wanted to indict?
WOOD: I think what I heard him say was that he had heard that one grand juror may want to come out and talk...
WOOD: And then -- see, here's Steve Thomas for you -- he takes that hearsay, rumor, gossip, and then makes the outrageous statement that from that the grand jury may well have indicted. Listen, if the grand jury indicted John and Patsy Ramsey, there would be -- we'd be probably in the middle of a trial right now. You're not going to put a grand jury out there for 13 months and spend millions of dollars of taxpayers' hard-earned money, have them bring an indictment, and then say no thanks. The grand jury didn't indict in this case for the very simple reason that inside the investigation the evidence did not support an indictment. And it just doesn't take very much to get an indictment. It wasn't there.
KING: Lin, thanks very much. As always, good seeing you.
WOOD: Thank you, Larry. Nice to speak with you again tonight.
KING: And Lin Wood announcing tonight that the Ramseys are going to sue Steve Thomas, the author of "JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation. Steve with us earlier, the Ramseys intend to file a lawsuit. Tomorrow night, "LARRY KING WEEKEND" with four top authors. We'll be back Monday night. And next Thursday, Vice President Al Gore. Stay tuned for CNN "NEWSSTAND" from New York. Good night.
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