October 29, 2016 / 12:10 AM / 3 years ago

DNA cited to clear JonBenet Ramsey family in murder in question: report

DENVER (Reuters) - The DNA analysis that prompted a Colorado prosecutor to exonerate the family of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey in her 1996 murder was not as clear cut as she portrayed it at the time, a newspaper reported on Friday.

Patsy Ramsey and her husband, John Ramsey (R), produce a picture of JonBenet Ramsey during a press conference in Atlanta where they released the results of an independent lie detector test, May 24, 2000. REUTERS/Stringer

The Boulder Daily Camera, in conjunction with Denver television station KUSA-TV, said the results an outside laboratory conducted on DNA found in the slain girl’s clothing contained genetic markers from two people.

That conclusion is at apparent odds with statements made by former Boulder prosecutor Mary Lacy when she cited the report to clear the Ramsey family of involvement in the girl’s murder.

Lacy said in 2008 that the DNA belonged to a single male and there was “no innocent explanation” for its presence other than it belonged to an unidentified intruder who was the killer.

The beaten and strangled body of JonBenet Ramsey was found in the basement of her parent’s Boulder, Colo. home on Dec. 26, 1996. No one has been charged with her killing.

The latest disclosure adds another twist to the investigation of the case that has been plagued by missteps including a contaminated crime scene and in-fighting between police and prosecutors.

In 1999, a grand jury voted to indict the girl’s parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, for child abuse resulting in death, but then-district attorney Alex Hunter declined to prosecute, citing a lack of evidence.

It was unknown that the grand jury voted to indict until 2013, when the Boulder Daily Camera won a legal battle to have the document released.

Lacy did not respond to the Camera’s request for comment on the article, and could not be reached by Reuters on Friday.

However, she told ABC News that in clearing the family, she was trying to prevent “a horrible travesty of justice.”

“I was scared to death that despite the fact that there was no evidence, no psychopathy and no motive, the case was a train going down the track and the Ramseys were tied to that track,” ABC quoted her as saying.

Reached by telephone, John Ramsey’s lawyer, L. Lin Wood, told Reuters that he has not seen the underlying documents, but said he supports Lacy’s conclusion that the Ramseys were not involved in the girl’s murder.

Bob Grant, a former district attorney who served as a consultant to Hunter during the grand jury probe, said the revelation adds “further bafflement” to the unsolved homicide.

Reporting by Keith Coffman in Denver; Editing by Dan Whitcomb, Bernard Orr

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