Former Police Chief Mark Beckner says JonBenet Ramsey Case Was Mishandled

© AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File FILE - In this Dec. 5, 1997, file photo, then-Denver Police Cmdr. Mark Beckner reacts to a question during a news conference in Boulder, Colo., about the investigation into the murder of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.
© AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File FILE – In this Dec. 5, 1997, file photo, then-Denver Police Cmdr. Mark Beckner reacts to a question during a news conference in Boulder, Colo., about the investigation into the murder of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.

In his most extensive comments on the JonBenet Ramsey case, the former Colorado police chief who led the investigation into the high-profile 1996 slaying of the 6-year-old beauty queen acknowledged online that officers botched the initial handling of the crime scene.

Mark Beckner, former chief of the Boulder Police Department, participated Saturday in an “Ask Me Anything” session on the social-networking and news site Reddit. He told the Daily Camera (http://bit.ly/1LGU1XG ) on Tuesday that he didn’t realize his comments would filter out to the rest of the world.

“I talked to the organizer, and my impression was that this was a members-only type group that talked about unsolved mysteries all around the world,” said Beckner, 59.

JonBenet Ramsey was found dead in the basement of her family’s home on Dec. 26, 1996, after her mother, Patsy Ramsey, called 911 to say her daughter was missing and a ransom note had been found.

In the Reddit forum, Beckner said police should have separated JonBenet’s parents and gotten full statements from Patsy and John Ramsey that day. The case was initially mishandled due to a “perfect storm type scenario,” he wrote.

“It was the Christmas holiday and we were short staffed, we faced a situation as I said earlier that no one in the country had ever seen before or since, and there was confusion at the scene as people were arriving before we had enough personnel on the scene,” he wrote online.

No one has been prosecuted in the case. Court documents released in 2013 show a grand jury recommended indictments against the Ramseys, contrary to the long-held perception that the secret panel ended their work in 1999 without deciding to charge anyone.

At the time, then-District Attorney Alex Hunter didn’t mention an indictment, saying only that there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant charges against the Ramseys, who had long maintained their innocence.

In 2008 — two years after Patsy died — former District Attorney Mary Lacy cleared the Ramseys of any role in their daughter’s death, based on DNA evidence that pointed to the involvement of a third party.

Source: The AP

One comment

  1. Back To The Future With Mark Becker : Former Boulder Police Department Chief Shockingly Exposes 16 Years of Police Mishandling:

    In disturbing comments from a recent Reddit Q & A, Former Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner shares comments about the JonBenet Ramsey murder case that are not in keeping with the facts in the case, the actual state of the case based on advancements in DNA forensic science; all while continuing to point the finger at the Ramseys based on behavior alone.

    Beckner calls the DNA in the case “a small piece of evidence.” Does he know that hundreds of cold cases have been solved with minuscule samples of DNA? Instead of backing the advancements made in the case over the years through DNA technology from noted DNA labs around the country, Beckner relies on assumptions made in a little known book on the case written by a former BPD cop, Jim Kolar, with little or no homicide experience. He was recently quoted on Redditt AMA saying, “I agree with Jim Kolar,” and then he further expanded his thoughts on the profile DNA, saying, “Personally, I believe if the source is ever found, we will discover that there is an explanation other than belonging to the murderer. There are others, such as ex-DA Mary Lacy who believe the DNA has to be that of the murderer.”
    It begs the question, is this the same police department in charge of this investigation all these years? Why is he discarding the DNA evidence? Why is he blaming DA Mary Lacy who moved the case forward using the latest methods of DNA testing to create a full profile of the killer’s DNA?
    Beckner then changed his mind to imply that the same DNA left at the crime scene that he believes erroneously exonerated the parents, rightfully exonerated John Mark Karr when it did not match Karr’s DNA: “The DNA test, which she (DA Mary Lacy) thought would prove he (John Mark Karr) did it, proved her wrong.”
    While Beckner retracted his DNA comments three days later, it is clear from Reddit Q & A that he continues to feel the parents of JonBenet are responsible for her death. Is this how he ran the murder investigation for all those years? Is this why the case has never been solved? In announcing the advancement of the latest DNA evidence in the case, District Attorney Mary Lacy, said in 2008: “The unexplained third party DNA on the clothing of the victim is very significant and powerful evidence. It is very unlikely that there would be an innocent explanation for DNA found at three different locations on two separate items of clothing worn by the victim at the time of her murder. This is particularly true in this case because the matching DNA profiles were found on genetic material from inside the crotch of the victims underwear and near the waist on both sides of her long johns, and because concerted efforts that might identify a source, and perhaps an innocent explanation, were unsuccessful.” It is therefore the position of the Boulder District Attorneys Office that this profile belongs to the perpetrator of the homicide.”
    The DNA evidence is not the only erroneous point for Beckner. He gave the following answer when questioned about John Mark Karr as a suspect: “We were able to confirm he was not even in Colorado at the time by just doing some routine checking and then obtained photos of him in Georgia at the time.”
    However, sources dispute this claim. In the Atlanta Journal Constitution August 22, 2006, an article by Mike Morris quoted Gary Harris, an attorney for Karr’s father, as saying that “the photo is of John Mark Karr’s three children and a newborn nephew, while John Mark Karr is not actually in the photo.” Attorney Michael Rains, who representing Karr’s former wife, Lara Knutson, said that Knutson “cannot think of a Christmas while they were together when he was away from the family on Christmas day or immediately thereafter,” though he added she could not specifically recall Christmas 1996. (Associated Press Aug 18th, 2006 Article by CATHERINE TSAI and JON SARCHE)
    Further examples of Mark Beckner’s lack of knowledge in the case can be seen in what he described about the head blow to JonBenet.
    Mark Beckner said: “We know from the evidence she was hit in the head very hard with an unknown object, possibly a flashlight or similar type item. The blow knocked her into deep unconsciousness, which could have led someone to believe she was dead.
    The strangulation came 45 minutes to two hours after the head strike, based on the swelling on the brain. While the head wound would have eventually killed her, the strangulation actually did kill her.”
    An overwhelming amount of experts have disputed this claim such as Dr. John Meyer, who performed the autopsy on JonBenet. He said the cause of death was “strangulation associated with craniocerebral trauma.” Dr. Meyer listed strangulation as the primary cause of death with corroborating evidence being petechial hemorrhages, which are burst blood vessels that occur in strangulation, and for which a person must still be alive to occur. In addition, the blow to her head left a crack along the length of the side of her skull that was approximately eight inches long that only yielded about a teaspoon and a half of blood inside her skull, which was a very small amount for such a large injury. Dr. Meyer referred to this as a “thin film” of hemorrhage in the autopsy report. Dr. Meyer also lists the “overall architecture” of the brain as “normal” and says that “no inflammation is identified” in the furrows of the brain structure.
    In addition, Drs. Michael Doberson and Cyril Wecht both concluded the head blow came after the strangulation. Adams County Coroner Mike Dobersen said he reviewed the autopsy photographs and thinks there would have been much more internal bleeding inside the brain if JonBenet had been struck first and strangled later.
    Beckner shows an astonishing lack of knowledge of case, along with personal grudges, uses behavior as evidence, and instead of following evidence, he ignores it to meet his personal theory.

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