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Larry King Live

Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey?

Aired May 31, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a first in the JonBenet Ramsey homicide case: Her parents, John and Patsy, square off against former Boulder police detective Steve Thomas. He believes that Patsy killed her daughter on Christmas night, 1996. It's exclusive, it's next on LARRY KING LIVE.

They have been guests before on this program, never together. They are together tonight. They are Steve Thomas, the former Boulder Police Detective, author of "JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation," and John and Patsy Ramsey, the parents of the late JonBenet Ramsey, their daughter, as we said, killed Christmas night, 1996, and they're the authors of "The Death of Innocence." Both of these books have been on the bestseller list, and this case has taken over this country and other parts of the world as well since its inception.

Since last with us, the Ramseys took a lie detector test, not under FBI order. And your lawyer said that you didn't want the FBI to do it. Why?

JOHN RAMSEY, FATHER OF JONBENET RAMSEY: We didn't necessarily not want the FBI to do it. We wanted someone that was fair and independent.

KING: Do you think the FBI would have been partial, Patsy? I mean, do you think the FBI cares?

PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JONBENET RAMSEY: I'm not saying that, I'm not accusing that at all, just that was not the definition of independent.

KING: Do you think they come with a degree of opinion?

J. RAMSEY: I don't know, but we eliminated that possibility by insisting they be independent. We went to the best polygrapher in the country, had the results quality control by the person who invented the polygraph system.

KING: And he was going to release the results no matter what, right?

P. RAMSEY: Absolutely.

KING: There was a given understanding that it would be made public, no matter what they found.

J. RAMSEY: That was the condition we agreed to.

KING: Steve, did that appeal to you?

STEVE THOMAS, FORMER BOULDER POLICE DETECTIVE: Well, it certainly didn't satisfy the Boulder Police Department. They are putting little stock in this polygraph. And quite frankly, it took Patsy, if I'm not mistaken -- and I don't think I am -- three tries to pass a polygraph: We had an inconclusive test, a second test that showed distortion, and finally, a third test with another examiner. She passed truthfully.

KING: Was that examiner respected?

THOMAS: Certainly nobody is testing or challenging the credentials of the examiner, but again, it's not the government authorities who want to conduct that polygraph.

KING: Let's go back a bit. You have not been together since when? When was the last time?

THOMAS: April 30, 1997.

KING: When you were still on the case?

THOMAS: Right.

KING: Did you question them at that time? Do you both remember that?

P. RAMSEY: Absolutely.

KING: OK. And you were taken off the case?

THOMAS: I resigned from the Boulder Police Department the summer of 1998.

KING: Because of this case?

THOMAS: Absolutely.

KING: And you resigned because?

THOMAS: Because I felt that Patsy is involved in this death, in this tragedy, and I felt that it had become such a debacle and was going nowhere. Out of frustration, I left the case and police work.

KING: John, why did you agree to go on with Steve? This is rather historic. I'm trying to remember if there is television like this.

J. RAMSEY: This man, as a police officer, has caused irreparable harm to my family. He has called my wife a murderer. He has called me a complicity to murder. He has called me a liar. He has slandered my relationship with my daughter, Patsy's relationship with JonBenet. He did that in public forum, which is reprehensible, and it needed to be addressed in a public forum.

KING: As most people say, you could have sued.

J. RAMSEY: You can count that that's coming down the road.

KING: You are going to sue?

J. RAMSEY: You can count on it.

KING: Patsy, did you wholeheartedly agree to come? Did any of you dispute coming here tonight?

P. RAMSEY: No, not a bit.

KING: You felt you wanted to confront this.

P. RAMSEY: Absolutely. It's time.

KING: Is it difficult for you to sit in Steve's presence?

J. RAMSEY: It's not pleasant. This man has harmed us deeply. He's failed in his responsibilities as a police officer. He's failed us. He's failed JonBenet. He's failed the community of Boulder. It's not pleasant, no.

KING: Steve, how do you respond?

THOMAS: Let's talk about failure. Let's talk about parents who I feel have failed their daughter, who after this became a homicide, of course they cooperated when it was a kidnapping, but after it became a homicide, Patsy, you waited four months before you came and talked to the Boulder Police Department and answered questions.

P. RAMSEY: No, Steve, I did not.

THOMAS: Well, tell me when. I was there every day. Tell me how many hours...

P. RAMSEY: Were you in our home that day? Were you in our home the day JonBenet was missing?

J. RAMSEY: Let's read the papers.


KING: Whoa, whoa, we're having to talk over each other. You say you did appear with the Boulder police.

P. RAMSEY: Yes, I did.

KING: How would he not know about it?

P. RAMSEY: He wasn't there.

THOMAS: At the Boulder Police Department, I don't remember you there. KING: You weren't there the day they came.

P. RAMSEY: You were not there.

J. RAMSEY: Let's deal with facts. December 27, 1997, Commander Eler (ph) released a press release: "The family has been cooperative, and the investigation is continuing." December 29, 1996, "The family continues"...

KING: You mean '97.

J. RAMSEY: I meant '96, sorry. "The family continues to cooperate with the police investigation, although the police have not yet conducted interviews with the father or mother. They have been in no condition to be interviewed up to this point."

We spent days with the police. We gave them everything they asked for.

THOMAS: What day was that, John?

J. RAMSEY: Well, let's talk about it. It was the 26th, it was the 27th, it was the 28th.

THOMAS: Before there was a homicide.

J. RAMSEY: We gave some blood samples.

THOMAS: And let me respond, Larry. When he says they came in on the 28th, they came in to give what's called nontestimonial evidence. They knew through the lawyers I'm sure that...


And let me finish, John. May I finish, please? They had no alternative. They had to come in on the 28th. On the 27th, two detectives went to their house to schedule an interview. They didn't speak with Patsy. They asked when they could arrange to come in.

Let's cut to the chase here. You waited until April 30th of 1997.

J. RAMSEY: Let's really cut to the chase, Steve Thomas.

THOMAS: Let me cut to the chase.

J. RAMSEY: Let's cut to the chase. What is your theory? Tell us your theory directly to our face.

KING: It's fair to say this? You certainly approached this impartially, one would assume? You didn't know the Ramseys, right? You didn't know JonBenet, you didn't know any of the Ramseys?

THOMAS: Absolutely.

KING: When did you come to the conclusion you came to, and that conclusion is what?

THOMAS: Well, despite what the Ramseys assert, that it was the 26th, they now know I came to the case, was called into the case two days later. It was probably spring of '97 or later when evidence continued to come back indicating Patsy's involvement in the authorship of the ransom note, one.

But let's cut to the chase, John. Let's make a very important distinction here. A dead child -- your child -- was found in your basement for which you can offer a satisfactory explanation...


And if I can finish, please.

J. RAMSEY: Steve.

KING: Let him finish his theory.

J. RAMSEY: I'd like to hear the theory.

THOMAS: You cannot offer a satisfactory explanation. You resisted coming into the police department and being subjected to questions by the detectives working this case. I didn't have a dead child found in my basement.

J. RAMSEY: Does that make me a murderer?

THOMAS: No, not at all. Do we want to get into evidence?

P. RAMSEY: Love to.


THOMAS: Let's get into evidence.

P. RAMSEY: We'll start from there.

KING: Let me get break. And since we don't have anybody arrested in this, we don't have a trial, we're sort of taking you into evidence here. I feel like it's "Law & Order." Your evidence will be presented to the Ramseys, they can respond, and we'll do it right after this.


KING: We're back.

Steve, theory?

THOMAS: Well, theory, I hope we get a chance to talk about their convoluted "sex crime, pedophile, kidnapper-turned-murderer theory," but I think it's very simple.

KING: We'll get their theory. What's your theory? THOMAS: My theory is quite simple: Whoever authored the ransom note killed the child, absent some great conspiracy, that they think this intruder came into the house.

KING: So you agree that whoever authored the ransom note probably killed the child?

J. RAMSEY: I agree.

P. RAMSEY: I would agree with that.

KING: Your contention is she wrote the note. What do you base that on?

THOMAS: I do. I do. I base that on questioned document examiners. By the time I left the Boulder Police Department June of 1998, Patsy, out of 73 suspects whose handwriting had been looked at, you were the only one who showed evidence to suggest authorship.

KING: And why then didn't they go right in and arrest?

THOMAS: These people know better than anybody. Probable cause was not the issue in this case. Patsy, you could have been arrested in this case.

P. RAMSEY: I wish I had been, and then we would have had a free and fair trial, and you would have met your Waterloo, Mr. Thomas.

THOMAS: Are you saying that...


THOMAS: Let her answer the question, John.

J. RAMSEY: Steve, you assaulted my wife.

THOMAS: Why won't you let your wife answer the question?

J. RAMSEY: Because you have assaulted her. You've called her a murderer. You have checked 73 suspects and said because Patsy's handwriting was the only one that couldn't be eliminated, therefore, she is a murderer. That is a absurd.

THOMAS: Why did you change your handwriting post-homicide?

P. RAMSEY: I didn't change my handwriting, Mr. Thomas.

THOMAS: Why would questioned document experts and people who looked at the ransom note suggests that you changed handwriting habits after the homicide?

J. RAMSEY: We have not heard that. That is not what our actions have said.

THOMAS: Can Patsy answer the question, Mr. Ramsey?

J. RAMSEY: If you are going to continue to assault her, I will continue to answer the questions.

THOMAS: Well, she came on the show tonight. I'm assuming she's capable of answering the questions here.

J. RAMSEY: She's very capable of answering your questions.

P. RAMSEY: I still haven't heard the theory yet. I totally agree that whoever wrote this ransom note killed our daughter. Yes, I concur wholeheartedly.

KING: He believes you wrote the note.

P. RAMSEY: What I want to hear how is it exactly that you think I killed my daughter. I just cannot understand that. I want to hear it from start to finish. Tell me exactly what happened.

THOMAS: You were home that night, and apparently...

P. RAMSEY: Tell me what happened.

THOMAS: You can't say for certainty -- you were in the house, right?

P. RAMSEY: Yes, I most certainly was. Answer my question, please.

KING: He certainly wasn't there, so he can't know for certain.

J. RAMSEY: He has a theory. He has accused Pasty of murder.

KING: He has to have a theory, all right.

J. RAMSEY: What is the theory?

THOMAS: And you've heard the theory.

J. RAMSEY: I have not heard the theory.

THOMAS: I offered a hypothesis.

J. RAMSEY: Answer my question.

THOMAS: I'm trying to, John.

KING: Your theory is?

THOMAS: My theory is that Patsy, in a violent confrontation with her daughter...

KING: Accidentally killed her?

THOMAS: No, not -- accidental, I hypothesize, in the sense that it lacked motive, not unlike...

KING: No motive.

THOMAS: Accidental in that sense. Excuse me, John, did you have something else?

J. RAMSEY: I've got lots else, but go ahead.

THOMAS: At that point, instead of making a right turn, she made a left turn and covered this up. It's not unlike 11,000 other children that have been murdered in this country or killed feloniously by parents in the last 20 years. I don't see this as that remarkable a case, other than what it became.

KING: If it's this pat as you say -- and the way you make it, it's kind of pat -- why has no action been taken against this couple?

J. RAMSEY: Because his theory is contradicted irrefutably by the forensic evidence.

THOMAS: Is that right, John? Now why don't you tell us this convoluted, sex crime, pedophile kidnapper?

J. RAMSEY: Would you allow me to answer the question please, Steve?

We have had some of the world's best forensics experts look at evidence. They have told us that JonBenet was strangled to death. The last act that this creature did to our daughter was a vicious blow to the head. That is irrefutable.

THOMAS: That's not consistent with...

J. RAMSEY: That's not consistent with your theory, and that's my point.

THOMAS: Right, but you're suggesting, if I am hearing you correctly -- and let me ask you, why will you not take the FBI polygraph?

P. RAMSEY: Don't change the subject, Steve. Come on.

J. RAMSEY: OK, dealing with the topic at hand. We're dealing with big issues here. You have accused us of murder.

THOMAS: Let's hear your theory. I'm waiting.

P. RAMSEY: We're waiting for you to finish. Tell me exactly step by step how you envision...

THOMAS: I wasn't there.

P. RAMSEY: You must have conjured something in your head for you to come out and call me a murderer of my child. I want to hear one through 10. When did I write this ransom note? Before or after I killed JonBenet?

THOMAS: You tell me: You wrote the ransom note.

P. RAMSEY: No, you're the one theorizing here, you tell me.

THOMAS: You were in the house that night.

And John, you can't say for certain.

KING: It's circumstantial.

THOMAS: Yes. And John, you can't say for certain who did or did not kill JonBenet, because you have said you were asleep. You cannot say for certain because you weren't there.

J. RAMSEY: I want to hear your theory, Steve. Let me ask you this: Are you prepared to state that Patsy killed JonBenet, that I covered it up, and that you can prove that in a court of law? Are you prepared to say that tonight?

THOMAS: I've written a book, and I stand by my book.

KING: And your book said that.

THOMAS: My book stands on its own. I haven't heard this "pedophile, kidnapper, murderer" theory.

KING: So you mean their theory?

J. RAMSEY: They are all options.

P. RAMSEY: So you will not say in a court of law...

THOMAS: Certainly we considered options in this case.

KING: When you're a detective -- this fascinates me -- do you guess as to motive when you're looking into a crime? Like, why was this child killed for what purpose?

THOMAS: Certainly.

KING: And in this case, you came to a conclusion it was sort of in a rage.

THOMAS: Yes, I don't think that there was premeditation to this child being killed.


You're still not answering my question.

J. RAMSEY: What in our background did you find -- and our background has been investigated for 3 1/2 years. What in our background did you find that would show that we were capable of this horrible crime?

THOMAS: You play right into it. I don't show that there is a motive in this case. I don't suggest that.

J. RAMSEY: Answer the question. What did you find in our background that would demonstrate that we are capable of this crime?

THOMAS: I gave you a pass, John. Unless you want to say otherwise, I don't think you were involved.

P. RAMSEY: We, he said "we."

J. RAMSEY: I'm asking about, you accused Patsy of murder, me of complicity.

P. RAMSEY: What in my past...

J. RAMSEY: What in Patsy's past did you find?

P. RAMSEY: ... have you seen that has ever indicated that I would be capable of doing something like this? Those 11,000 parents that you state, did they have a past?

THOMAS: I'll ask you a question right back. You suggest this great conspiracy...

P. RAMSEY: I don't want a question right back. I want...


THOMAS: Certainly. You suggest this great conspiracy involving...

J. RAMSEY; Answer...

KING: All right, let me get a break. Let me get a break, and we'll have to have more direct questions and answers.

P. RAMSEY: He never answers the question.

KING: All right, we'll be right back with Steve Thomas and the Ramseys.

Don't go away.


KING: Is the key to this, what your saying, the note? That's the whole key?

THOMAS: Absolutely. As a matter of fact, I've heard Patsy Ramsey say on national television that even own experts cannot eliminate her as the author of the note. And a follow-up question to that there is people who rate higher on that scale who are potential suspects -- and I'd ask you who, who are these people?

J. RAMSEY: None of your business, Steve, because you're no longer a police detective.

THOMAS: Let me ask you this...


THOMAS: I'm asking you why you're not going to the Boulder Police Department. KING: Your contention is it is based on your belief she wrote the note?

THOMAS: Primarily.

KING: So two plus two equals four.

THOMAS: Primarily. Yes, sir.

J. RAMSEY: Answer my question: What in Patsy's background did you find that would cause you to believe that she could commit this horrible act?

THOMAS: Well, I'll pose this and...

J. RAMSEY: Answer the question, please.

KING: Let him try -- go ahead.

THOMAS: I can't get three words out.

J. RAMSEY: Answer the question.

THOMAS: Let me pose this: Why, then, absent this great conspiracy that you suggest, would these pediatric experts come in...

J. RAMSEY: Please, answer the question, Steve.

KING: All right.

THOMAS: Fair is fair.

J. RAMSEY: Can I ask a question and have the answer?

KING: I know, but someone could not have a background and still do something violent.

J. RAMSEY: Very, very unlikely.

KING: You mean if a person commits violence, they have committed it before.

J. RAMSEY: In a court...

THOMAS: According to your theory.

P. RAMSEY: Most probably.

J. RAMSEY: Abused situation, in virtually all the cases, there is a history of abuse that's known by the parents, by the authorities, by the social service agencies.

KING: Was a thorough investigation done of the Ramseys and their children?

THOMAS: Yes, absolutely. KING: And?

THOMAS: And why would pediatric medical experts that the Boulder Police Department brought into this case swear out, via affidavit, that JonBenet had been subjected to prior vaginal trauma.

J. RAMSEY: You're lying. You're lying, Steve. That is a lie.

KING: Wait a minute. You're saying they didn't say that?

J. RAMSEY: Our pediatrician, who saw JonBenet a dozen times each year for the past three years before this happened, has sworn and testified in public that he saw no evidence of sexual abuse.

KING: And what was evidence your pediatrician saw?

THOMAS: Well, my pediatrician, pediatric experts that were brought into this case, a blue ribbon medical panel.

J. RAMSEY: Who are they, Steve? Can I ask you who they are?

KING: Said? Said?

THOMAS: Said that this little girl, prior to the night she died, had been subjected to previous vaginal trauma.

P. RAMSEY: That is a lie.

J. RAMSEY: this is the same category as his so-called "linguistics expert," who he brought in and testified that...

KING: Let me ask you, what's his motive? What do you think? Why? Do you think he's out to get you?

J. RAMSEY: I think at this point he's a profiteer. He's the only person from inside the system who has written a book, who has gone on national television. It's disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful.

KING: But he did quit his job over this, so obviously you...

P. RAMSEY: Because he was headed down a wrong path. He was at the point of no return. And his ego is the size of a barn, and he can't put it aside to try to find the murderer of this child.

THOMAS: Everybody is wrong, but Lou Smith.

P. RAMSEY: That's right. That's what it says in your -- everybody but Steve Thomas is wrong.

THOMAS: Everybody is wrong but Lou Smith -- the FBI, federal law enforcement, the FBI polygraphy unit, state law enforcement, the governor of Colorado, the police detective, the D.A.'s office.

P. RAMSEY: Did they show -- did all of those people show all of their evidence to the grand jurors? Why didn't they come... THOMAS: Let's remember, the grand jury did not exonerate you either.

J. RAMSEY: It's not the grand jury's task to exonerate. Their task is to indict.

THOMAS: I think the grand jury may have issued a report had they -- you were the targets of this grand jury.

J. RAMSEY: No question.

THOMAS: You know it.

J. RAMSEY: I know that.

THOMAS: Probable cause wasn't an issue. And Patsy tonight I think I've heard her say she wish she was arrested in this case.

KING: Well, because they feel it would be an end, to have a trial.

J. RAMSEY: We've been tried in public by innuendo and slander from people like you. God knows we would have loved to have a fair trial in a court of law.

THOMAS: I don't apologize for the book. I left a career, Larry, as you said. I wrote the book for the same reason that you did, to put information out publicly.

J. RAMSEY: No, you put that book out to line your pockets with money based on our tragedy.

THOMAS: No, that's not true. And as a matter of fact, I think you wrote a book as well and took money for that.

J. RAMSEY: It's going to charity.

Tell me what...

THOMAS: And I think you've also said it's going to a legal defense fund.

KING: On the other side, you said that one of the reasons this case is unsolved is him.

J. RAMSEY: Absolutely.

KING: Why?

J. RAMSEY: Because he failed miserably in the task he was given. He was inexperienced. He didn't accept help from people...


KING: Do you think he had the opportunity to solve it at that point? J. RAMSEY: I think experienced homicide investigators could have solved this case by now.

P. RAMSEY: No, it's not all Steve Thomas' fault. You, it is not all this young man's fault. He did not have good leadership in his department to lead him down a path of experience. You know, you can't fault the man for that, truly. I can understand that.

KING: You can understand, Patsy, why you were suspects?

P. RAMSEY: I can understand because there was no one leading this man with any leadership capability to investigate the homicide of the young child. I understand that. I know the first time that I interviewed with detective, then-Detective Thomas, I saw the passion in the man's eyes. He wants to find the killer of this child. It's just that he's going down the wrong path. Now what I do...

KING: Doesn't this anger you?

P. RAMSEY: Well, you know, I felt sorry for the man, truly. We know we're not guilty. He is convinced that we are. Now I am sorry for that.

KING: Somebody is wrong.

P. RAMSEY: He has -- his career has suffered. He's a young man. This was -- he was at -- you know, very young in his career. He has lost his job. His -- he doesn't have a family yet, I don't believe. Perhaps you're married.

God willing, if you ever have a child one day, you will know the pain perhaps when someone hands you the child in your arms, and says, Mr. Thomas, this is your child, do you tell me that you are going to look at that child, and -- you just had a new baby, Larry. Could you ever conceive of...

KING: I can't imagine how anyone could harm a child.

P. RAMSEY: ... doing something to this child, let alone the things that this man is...

KING: I'm sure it's beyond belief to you, too, right, that anyone could harm a child?

THOMAS: Of course. It happens every day, unfortunately.

P. RAMSEY: I want see the day when he has a child.

KING: Let me get a break and come back. We'll be back with more. We'll also include your phone calls.

Don't go away.


KING: Now the Ramseys, your theory of the crime is, just so we have it right: committed by a male intruder, psychopath and a pedophile, killer is either an ex-con or knows criminal, entered the home while you were out to dinner, and original intent was to kidnap, and then killed after that. Have I got that right?

J. RAMSEY: Generally right. Most important, though, is the sequence of events, which are supported by forensics experts. JonBenet was strangled with a professionally made garrote. The last act this creature did to my beautiful child is strike her in the head with a vicious blow. She was either dead or near dead when that blow was administered.

KING: Now I know detectives like to put together a thing. So Steve, help me. Put together what you think happened that night?

THOMAS: Well, I certainly don't think -- and I still haven't heard this convoluted "sex crime, kidnap gone awry" theory.

J. RAMSEY: I just said it.

THOMAS: Is that it? Is it that simple?

J. RAMSEY: That's it. It's that simple.

THOMAS: That this person came in the house, had to find Patsy's pad, had to find a pen.

J. RAMSEY: Answer the question, please.

THOMAS: I'm responding to your last statement.

KING: No, we'll get into each one. Give me yours, and then we'll examine each one of the things. What happened?

THOMAS: Well, as I've said, I think it takes a very simple explanation that's consistent with the evidence. Who wrote the ransom note? Patsy, who can't be eliminated.

KING: What do you think happened before that? What do you think happened? In other words, you're putting together a crime. Let's say that police tried to put death together a scenario in the O.J. Simpson case, and their scenario was he came upon this scene, he reacted out rage, he ran -- they had a scenario. What's the scenario?

THOMAS: Well, certainly, in a domestic homicide, some evidence that might otherwise be incriminating that could be explained away, I think there are lacking pieces of a puzzle here...

KING: That they hid?

THOMAS: No, that prevented beyond a reasonable doubt in the minds of prosecutors from taking this case forward.

KING: What do you think happened?

THOMAS: But I think there was a toiletting issue that night that has been dismissed and underplayed. KING: OK, toiletting -- explain.

THOMAS: A bed-wetting or a toiletting issue.

KING: That caused Patsy to get mad at her daughter.

THOMAS: Absolutely.

KING: And say slap her, or hit her, or punish her?

THOMAS: I don't know. I'm suggesting that there was an explosive encounter, because at one point put the child in clothes, a red turtleneck, for example, not the same clothing she was found in deceased, the following day. I think something happened in that bathroom.

KING: All right. Why would it lead then to garroting and hitting on the head: What would lead to that?

THOMAS: I don't know. What can you imagine would led to garroting or hitting on the head?

P. RAMSEY: What can you imagine? I can't imagine. I want to you look at me and tell me what you think happened.

THOMAS: Actually, I'll look you right in the eye. I think you're good for this. I think that's what the evidence suggests.

P. RAMSEY: Steve Thomas, you are so...

KING: So in other words, she killed her daughter in a rage over the bed wetting and then garroted her.

THOMAS: Yes, this is interesting hearing this theory, because again it's not consistent with forensic experts that worked with the police department, the law enforcement in this case. Right?

J. RAMSEY: I disagree. Totally disagree.

JonBenet -- in fact, the autopsy says this. JonBenet died of strangulation. That is consistent with...

P. RAMSEY: Where am I supposed to have learned how to make this garrote?

THOMAS: John calls it a very skilled instrument of some sort. You admit, now, do you not, that it was your paintbrush that was used? Do you admit that?

P. RAMSEY: I don't know!

J. RAMSEY: Steve...

THOMAS: No, I care. Let her answer the question, John.

P. RAMSEY: The perpetrator was in our home. He had access... THOMAS: Your paintbrush...

P. RAMSEY: He had access...

THOMAS: He forgot -- the kidnapper who forgot his ransom note. The kidnapper who forget his pen and all his tools of the instruments.

KING: Steve, what do you think the perpetrator was doing there?

P. RAMSEY: You know what: This isn't -- we're not going to solve this tonight. And I refuse to have a Jerry Springer-type exchange with this man.

KING: It's not. It's not.

P. RAMSEY: You know, this has subverted justice in this country like nothing in the history of the Constitution of this country. We have had now two detectives from the Boulder Police Department: First, Detective Arndt comes on, and emphatically, as emphatic as Mr. Thomas is this evening, says that John Ramsey was the murderer. She could see it in his eyes the day that we found JonBenet. Now, Mr. Thomas, as emphatic but with yet another idea of how this happened, says that Patsy is the murderer.

KING: Well, will you agree, Patsy, that almost none of it makes sense?

P. RAMSEY: You're right.

KING: None of it.

P. RAMSEY: It was an evil, evil...

KING: What was the guy doing?

P. RAMSEY: ... man.

KING: Why did the intruder do this?

J. RAMSEY: It was an evil, evil person.

P. RAMSEY: I don't know, but when we find out, God willing, we'll know.

J. RAMSEY: We will know when we find...

KING: But this person stalks the streets. I don't mean to be too...

P. RAMSEY: Yes, he does.

J. RAMSEY: Absolutely.

KING: ... maudlin here, but there's someone out there.

P. RAMSEY: Well, somebody better get worried about it, because there are children in this country that are just as vulnerable as JonBenet was.

KING: To your -- I've got to get a break. I want to ask you when we come back, to your knowledge, are the Boulder police still working on other suspects? We'll be right back. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Our guests are John and Patsy Ramsey. Their daughter, JonBenet, was killed 3 1/2 years ago, and they're the authors of "The Death of Innocence." Steve Thomas is the former Boulder police detective originally assigned to this case. He's author of "JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation."

Now, back to -- no qualms here. You're not out to get them, right?

THOMAS: Absolutely not.

KING: And you don't think he started out to get you, right? He believes his theory.

J. RAMSEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) believes it, as flawed as it is. Let me ask this question.

THOMAS: Well, how about the convoluted sex crimes theory? I still haven't heard that John. I had to explain my theory. Let's hear this pedophile kidnapper.

J. RAMSEY: What Steve Thomas' theory is based on is that...

THOMAS: You're not going to answer?

J. RAMSEY: ... our child wet her bed and we slaughtered her. That is so preposterous.

THOMAS: You weren't there, John. You can't tell.

J. RAMSEY: I was there. I know Patsy.

THOMAS: You were...

J. RAMSEY: I've lived with her for 20 years. I know that she loved that child more than anything in the world.

I would have given my life for JonBenet, Patsy would have given her life for JonBenet, and I'm sorry we weren't able to.

KING: Are you saying that if it were Patsy you would never have covered it up?

J. RAMSEY: Absolutely not. Not in a New York minute.

KING: So you never doubted your wife, ever?

J. RAMSEY: No, no. No.

KING: Not for a second?

J. RAMSEY: There is sufficient evidence to a trained eye that an intruder came into our home. The forensic evidence supports...

KING: And came with the idea of what?

J. RAMSEY: I don't know for sure.

KING: Well, for kidnapping?

P. RAMSEY: We based this...

J. RAMSEY: We speculate. The world's -- one of the world's leading profilers, John Douglas, has said that this killer was angry with me or was very jealous of me. And this was an anger or jealousy that was acted out against me.

KING: Instead of taking it out against you, he kills your child.

J. RAMSEY: Sadly yes.

KING: You don't buy that?

THOMAS: Well, that's certainly -- the colleagues, John Douglas' former colleagues in the FBI are not of that opinion. It's interesting that the defense-paid experts and investigators and so forth that are working on the case have one opinion whereas law enforcement and those in Colorado working this case have another.

J. RAMSEY: So you're telling me...

KING: Are they looking at other suspects, by the way?


THOMAS: Yes, they -- it's interesting. The Ramseys at this point -- of course, the Boulder police will look at any legitimate suspect that's brought to them. But at this point, until the Ramseys satisfy the Boulder Police Department that they are not involved in this case...

KING: You're asking them to prove their innocence?

THOMAS: Well, they cast the cloud and the initial doubt that hindered their presumption of innocence.

J. RAMSEY: Why, Steve?

KING: By not coming in?

J. RAMSEY: Why do we have to prove our innocence?

THOMAS: You don't.

J. RAMSEY: That is fundamentally contradictory to the Constitution. THOMAS: You don't, John. It may be fundamentally wrong, but at this point, given the evidence...

J. RAMSEY: What evidence? What evidence, Steve?

THOMAS: How long do you have, John?

J. RAMSEY: Tell me one...

THOMAS: It took us two days...

J. RAMSEY: Tell me one tangible piece of evidence that's presentable in a court of law that says that one of us...


KING: ... how about the idea that -- if I were accused of killing my child and didn't do, I'd be down there in the police office. I'd sleep in the police office.

J. RAMSEY: This was the police.

KING: I'd (UNINTELLIGIBLE) any question.

J. RAMSEY: This was the police.

KING: I'd do lie detector tests.

J. RAMSEY: This is who we had to work with.

KING: I'd do anything.

THOMAS: How much time...

J. RAMSEY: We're not fools. We're not fools.

THOMAS: ... did you spend at the Boulder Police Department since this murder?

P. RAMSEY: Let's don't get back to that. We still haven't heard the scenario, Steve.

THOMAS: How long...

KING: Well, when you hurt yourself, though...

THOMAS: I haven't heard you. Patsy, how -- how many hours....

KING: You did, Patsy. You hurt yourself when you hired a lawyer, you hired..

P. RAMSEY: Let me tell you something.

J. RAMSEY: Let's explain how that happened. We were crushed, we were devastated. We had lost our child. Our youngest child was murdered in our home. Friends surrounded us, they did things for us, they made decisions for us. That included bringing in lawyers and acting in what they thought was our best interest.

We did not make decisions in those three days.

KING: In retrospect, was that a mistake?

J. RAMSEY: No, not when I saw Linda Arndt go on national television, who was one of the detectives, and say, I saw it in John Ramsey's eyes on December 26th, he was the killer. And now, we have her counterpart and colleague saying that Patsy's the killer. This was (UNINTELLIGIBLE) decision.

THOMAS: They can't blame the cops when they're not there helping. You know, on one hand, they're screaming for the murder to be solved.

P. RAMSEY: They were with us 24 hours a day.

THOMAS: Patsy, you haven't answered this question.

P. RAMSEY: The police were with us 24 hours a day.

THOMAS: How -- to this day, as we sit here -- as we sit here tonight, how much time in the last four years have you spent in the Boulder Police Department with the detectives working this case?

P. RAMSEY: I don't know, but I'll tell you that much.

THOMAS: It's zero.

KING: You never were there?

P. RAMSEY: I have invited them.

THOMAS: You've never gone to the Boulder Police Department.

J. RAMSEY: Let her answer the question please.

KING: All right. Patsy, he asked a fair question.

P. RAMSEY: How many overtures have been made to them, including one on the table right now, for us to come and talk with them, and bring our detectives and our investigators and share information and work together...

KING: You're making that offer to them now.

P. RAMSEY: ... put pride and prejudice aside, Mr. Thomas, and work to find the killer of this child?

THOMAS: Are you making a commitment to go into the Boulder Police Department next week or next month for an unlimited amount of time to cooperate?

P. RAMSEY: Cooperation is a two-way street. OK?

KING: All right. But why -- he's got a fair offer. Why not go?

P. RAMSEY: Two-way street.

KING: He's not there. Why not go to the police department?

J. RAMSEY: Here's -- here's what we've laid on the table. We have told Chief Beckner that we need them to help find this killer. They have absolute authority over this case, and that's not going to change.

We've had investigators, seasoned investigators collectively with over 500 homicides under their belt who have been working on this case day in and day out. They have questions, they have information.

KING: Why don't you all get together?

J. RAMSEY: We would love to.

KING: So why don't you go, as he said...

THOMAS: Go down there next week.

KING: Why not go there next week?

J. RAMSEY: We'll be -- if we could go there tomorrow with our investigators, sit down with their detectives, get all questions answered, we'll be there tomorrow.

KING: Why would they not do this?

THOMAS: Absolutely. I'm glad to hear this.

KING: OK. So it's on the table. You would go to Boulder tomorrow with your private investigators, meet with all their detectives, and sit down for as long as it takes to get through this?

J. RAMSEY: Sit around the table and let's get all the questions answered.

P. RAMSEY: They've got question, we've got questions.

KING: The Boulder should say to this tomorrow morning, come aboard.

THOMAS: Well, it depends...


THOMAS: ... because I hear -- I hear a hidden caveat here, which is...

J. RAMSEY: What's the caveat? This is the problem.

THOMAS: If you're offering -- I'm not there anymore, John. I'm a citizen who's concerned that you won't go into the police department and answer police questions.

KING: They're offering -- they're offering to come with all their investigators, answer any questions, present their side of things.

THOMAS: It's June 1st tomorrow. When are you going to be at the police department?

J. RAMSEY: Steve, you're not...

P. RAMSEY: You're not in charge.

J. RAMSEY: It's not up to you. You're not in charge.

KING: No, but they've made the offer. If the...


P. RAMSEY: Offer's on the table.

KING: If the Boulder police called you and said, come down next Monday, you'd come.

J. RAMSEY: With our investigators...

P. RAMSEY: With our investigators...

KING: They would come.

J. RAMSEY: ... and their detectives around a table, you bet.

KING: OK. We'll be right back with more. Don't go away.


KING: Now back on the FBI thing for a moment, one would assume that the FBI, all they want to do is gather evidence. They don't care if you did it or didn't do it.

J. RAMSEY: All we...

KING: They're an investigative agency.

J. RAMSEY: All we asked for is independent polygraph.

KING: But why -- why is the FBI not independent?

J. RAMSEY: Because they've been holding the hands of the Boulder police for the last 2 1/2 years.

KING: But do you think the FBI wants to be guilty?

J. RAMSEY: I think they have a vested interest?

KING: Do you think care?

J. RAMSEY: I don't know if they care.

P. RAMSEY: We're not saying that.

THOMAS: The FBI's part of some great conspiracy.

J. RAMSEY: Can I answer the question?

KING: Yes. Why -- yes. The FBI, why...

J. RAMSEY: I don't know. I have friends in the FBI. They're good people. All I know is they're not independent.

The Boulder police stated to us it would take them a week to get the polygrapher from the FBI ready to ask us questions. That shouldn't be necessary unless there's other motives in mind.

The question is very simple: Did you kill your daughter? Did you write the ransom note? Do you know who killed your daughter? If we answered those truthfully...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) more than that, do you? I know the Boulder police said they'd -- the polygrapher needed to know more. What did he need to know more to...

THOMAS: Well, in a polygraph there's no legal consequence to a polygraph at this point. And the chief of police...

KING: In Colorado.

THOMAS: Yes. The chief of police has even said he's not accepting the results of this polygraph, and it doesn't make or break the case one way or the other. But you've now based a polygraph. Will you not submit to an FBI polygrapher?

P. RAMSEY: But why...

J. RAMSEY: The polygraph issue's over. The people who gave us...

THOMAS: Why is it over, John?

J. RAMSEY: ... a polygraph trained the FBI expert.

THOMAS: Why is it over? Is the FBI part of this great...

J. RAMSEY: Steve, could you -- could you...

KING: All right, but what...

J. RAMSEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) ask a question I'd like to answer it.

THOMAS: Well, you don't allow me an opportunity.

KING: Why would the FBI care?

J. RAMSEY: I don't know, but all I asked for was independent.

Look, we were never asked to take a polygraph test. When we were asked...

KING: It's not -- Colorado doesn't allow it in a court, right?

J. RAMSEY: Wrong. Steve, let's address that right now. The cover of your book -- your book, your disgraceful book. "Why? His inside story answers a wide range of important questions. Why were the Ramseys handled with kid gloves and never asked by law enforcement to take lie detector tests?"

THOMAS: Because the D.A. carried you in their pockets during...

J. RAMSEY: But then don't tell me it was wrong. It's in your book that you were never asked.

THOMAS: You had a press conference last week.

J. RAMSEY: I'm saying...

THOMAS: Let me answer.

J. RAMSEY: ... they never asked...

THOMAS: Larry, it's only fair that I get...

KING: What happened at the press conference?

THOMAS: At the press conference they released a press packet in which they gave the verbatim transcript. And I think even Alex Hunter has said that anybody reading that transcript, a monkey could understand what was asked.

Let's call that ancient history. I'm asking you today, not three years ago...

J. RAMSEY: Larry, if I'm reading this wrong, correct me.

THOMAS: And again, Larry, he's not letting me answer the question. But three years ago we're talking about. We're right here at the table tonight. Will you take an FBI-sponsored polygraph?

And the answer is?

P. RAMSEY: Why will they not review the polygraphs that were taken? Why has he made a statement that says they're unacceptable when he has not even taken the time to look at them?

THOMAS: Well, when you're at the police department next week, ask them these questions.

P. RAMSEY: That would be break. If you can broker that deal, boy, that would be a great thing.

KING: We'll be back with more on -- we -- we'll be right back. Don't go away.


KING: Just to go over this. Your theory is this was based on bed-wetting, anger and then it turned into cover-up, right?


KING: And that's the reason -- and then the writing of the note was after the fact?

THOMAS: That's what I believe.

KING: After the baby is killed?

THOMAS: That's what I believe.

KING: Patsy writes the note. And John complies with her.

THOMAS: No. I think -- I don't think John was involved.

KING: But John covers?

THOMAS: I think John's had some questions in the weeks and months that have followed.

J. RAMSEY: You can't speak for me, Steve.

THOMAS: Well, I said I think. Believe it or not, John, I'm entitled to an opinion.

KING: But all of this started with bed-wetting.

THOMAS: I think so. Yes, and this is not out of the realm of concept. It happens every week in this country.

KING: Do you know of other cases?

J. RAMSEY: Steve, you don't have children. Do you have a pet?

THOMAS: Yes, John, and let me tell you I'm glad you -- I'm glad you brought it up.

J. RAMSEY: Do you have a pet?

THOMAS: I do, and if I could respond...

J. RAMSEY: If that pet ever -- and pets do this -- wet on the floor, would you kill it?

THOMAS: I know how much I love my pet, my dad, my wife.

J. RAMSEY: Would you kill it, Steve?

THOMAS: And if somebody killed my dog, I would be at the sheriff's department, the police department, every day. J. RAMSEY: But would you kill your dog...

THOMAS: ... until I found out who came in my house, wrote a phony ransom note and killed my dog.

J. RAMSEY: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) on the floor? Would you kill it, because that's what you're accusing us of?

THOMAS: I just answered your question.

J. RAMSEY: No, you didn't.

THOMAS: Yes, I did.

P. RAMSEY: Would you kill your dog?

THOMAS: Let me ask you this. It's interesting. You brought out my book. In your book, you talk about sponsoring -- or legislation bringing the FBI into any child...

J. RAMSEY: Bringing a federal agency...

THOMAS: Larry, let me finish my question.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) federal agency.

THOMAS: Well, who do you want, the Border Patrol?

J. RAMSEY: I would like an agency that knows more about child crimes than you did.

THOMAS: I think, John -- and if you'd let me finish the question, you have said you want federal law enforcement brought into crimes where a child has been killed. But in this case, you don't want them brought in because they're part of this great vast conspiracy.

J. RAMSEY: I would have been -- you know, the biggest mistake I...

THOMAS: Why not now?

J. RAMSEY: Excuse me, Steve.

THOMAS: Why not now?

J. RAMSEY: The biggest mistake I made when this happened was that I didn't call the FBI directly. I called the Boulder police.

THOMAS: They were there that day.

J. RAMSEY: That was a horrible mistake.


P. RAMSEY: They were not... J. RAMSEY: And they were not leading the investigation. Linda Arndt was leading the investigation.

KING: You should have called the FBI right away?.

J. RAMSEY: I should have called the FBI. Should have called them.

THOMAS: The FBI was there and advising from day one, John.

J. RAMSEY: I never saw them. They were never...

THOMAS: Whether -- they were at your house.

J. RAMSEY: I wanted them -- if they had been called to lead the investigation, that would have been a much better system.

THOMAS: Mr. Ramsey, they were at your house.

P. RAMSEY: They were not in our house.

THOMAS: Yes, they were, Patsy.

P. RAMSEY: You weren't there. You were not there.

KING: If you didn't do this -- Patsy, if you didn't do this, you're out of your mind -- you must be going out of your mind no matter what.

P. RAMSEY: I am not going out of my mind, no matter what.

KING: No, I mean -- well, I mean by out of your mind, if you did it, this was terrible. You didn't do it, you're being accused of doing it and your daughter was dead, that would drive me nuts. So I don't know how you get through a day.

P. RAMSEY: I have a faith that comes from only one source. God knows who killed JonBenet Ramsey. Steve Thomas does not know, Patsy Ramsey does not know, and John Ramsey does not know. God knows, and the truth is going to prevail. This is not...

KING: You have complete faith in that?

P. RAMSEY: Absolutely. We -- with the help of the police authorities, this case can be solved.

KING: Well, we've made a leap forward here, if they all sit down. You've got to agree with that?

THOMAS: Well, absolutely. But the Bible also says, without confession, there is no forgiveness.

Patsy, do you think...

J. RAMSEY: It doesn't say that.

THOMAS: It doesn't?

J. RAMSEY: Christ did not ask for repentance when he forgave his executers.

THOMAS: Without confession, there is no forgiveness. Do you think that God will forgive the person that did this?

P. RAMSEY: That's up to that person and God.

J. RAMSEY: That's up to God.

THOMAS: Do you support the death penalty for the person who is ultimately convicted of this crime?

J. RAMSEY: I do not support the death penalty because of the horrible flaws I've seen in our justice system. There are many, many innocent people on death row today because of people like Steve Thomas.

THOMAS: Patsy?

J. RAMSEY: I concur.

THOMAS: Do you support the death penalty in this case, whoever killed your daughter?


KING: No, because they would say, what if it's the wrong guy that's convicted and they find out 10 years later?

P. RAMSEY: We need a DNA database, you know, as one of the things that we're purporting, because we have unexplained DNA. If we knew whose DNA that was...

KING: There is DNA there.

P. RAMSEY: ... then we would know who killed JonBenet Ramsey.

THOMAS: Nobody at this -- nobody at this table is a DNA expert, and the DNA experts in this case, at the time I left, had told us this is not a DNA case because of issues: degradation, contamination.

J. RAMSEY: There is unidentified DNA that was found under her fingernails and on her underwear.

KING: It could have been there from five day ago.

P. RAMSEY: Oh, please.

THOMAS: No, there are other sources other than the killer for this DNA report.

P. RAMSEY: Why would it be under her fingernails and her underwear? J. RAMSEY: If there are other sources, then tell me who it is? But until we know who it is, I'm hopeful that that DNA belongs to the killer.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with Steve Thomas and the Ramseys on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Tomorrow night, we begin our celebration of 20 years of CNN, 15 years of LARRY KING LIVE. with two two-hour specials, tomorrow night and Friday night. And on Saturday night, the new king of Jordan. We'll be right back.


KING: Some closing questions for each.

Do you ever have doubts about your theory?

THOMAS: Certainly questions come and go, but again, myself and others that were associated with this case have tried to step back and look at the big pictures and the circumstantial case. Everybody wishes it was a smoke -- everybody at this table wishes it was a "smoking gun, no-doubt, beyond a reasonable doubt" case. It's not. It's a circumstantial case.

KING: Yes. Well, all cases where there's no witness are circumstantial.

THOMAS: Well, not necessarily, if there's ballistics or DNA evidence or a bloody fingerprint.

KING: But you are content that if they meet with everybody and meets with Boulder police, as came up here tonight, that's going to be a step forward.

THOMAS: It's a start. I'm certainly not saying anybody's going to be exonerated.

KING: Do you think it's possible, Patsy, that you know the killer? I mean, not know who it is, but that you may -- this may be someone who knows you.

P. RAMSEY: I don't know. That's been speculated for three years.

KING: You speculate. What do you think? I mean, you must think about it all the time.

P. RAMSEY: I think about it all the time, every day, every waking moment: Who could have done this to my daughter?

KING: John, do you think -- you said it might be someone mad at you?

J. RAMSEY: I am not ruling out any possibility. It's a horrible thought to think that somebody would be angry with me enough to kill my daughter, but I'm not ruling out anything.

KING: Do you think it's ever going to go away?

P. RAMSEY: Never go away.

J. RAMSEY: For us.

P. RAMSEY: For us, it will never go away. But I am confident, with God's help, we will find out who did this.

KING: Steve, if they didn't, you have to admit this is a terrible traged?

THOMAS: Well...

KING: Beyond the tragedy of the death.

THOMAS: Well, at this point, absent a confession, the killer has to confess in this case, because it's arguable that Patsy could never be convicted because of reasonable doubt.

J. RAMSEY: No...

THOMAS: And John, let me finish my thought. Patsy cannot be convicted because of some reasonable doubt, but an intruder cannot be convicted either because of the same reasonable doubt. This case requires a confession.

P. RAMSEY: It requires DNA identification.

J. RAMSEY: We have the killer's calling card. We have three pages of handwriting this killer left for us. It's a gift. We have DNA that might be a gift. We don't know yet.

P. RAMSEY: In their...

J. RAMSEY: That handwriting...

KING: You've got to get a match?

J. RAMSEY: When we find the right suspect and get enough samples, three pages of handwriting will allow us to make a conclusive match. That has been stated by experts in the handwriting field.

KING: That's the key to this whole thing, right?

J. RAMSEY: This is a huge key and a huge gift.

KING: It's a strange, letter, isn't it?

THOMAS: Absolutely. It is an absolutely bizarre letter, that the writer knew so much about this family, using Patsy's tablet, a pen from within the home, and...

P. RAMSEY: They did not use JonBenet's name.

THOMAS: He or she certainly did not. I don't know what your point is with that.

KING: They may not have known the name of the child.

THOMAS: Well, certainly knew that the dog wasn't home, that the alarm wasn't on, that John had this remarkably coincidental bonus of $118,000. Good Southern common-sense. The chance of this being some random intruder...


P. RAMSEY: I don't think it's random.

THOMAS: ... one question document examiner said are infinitesimal.

KING: Are you suing Steve?

J. RAMSEY: Yes, you can count on that, Steve. You'll spend a lot of quality time with what you'd call "Team Ramsey."

THOMAS: We'll see you, John.

KING: Thank you all for agreeing to do this. Thank you, Ramseys. Thank you, Steve.

Again, the books are, John and Patsy Ramsey's book is "The Death of Innocence." Steve Thomas' book is "Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation" -- "JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation." This crime took place Christmas night 1996 in Boulder, Colorado.

We invite to you stay tuned now for CNN "NEWSSTAND." We'll see you tomorrow night from Atlanta with a two-hour special kicking off two two-hour specials, Thursday and Friday night, a look back at 20 years of CNN.

Thanks for joining us, and happy anniversary to all of us. Good night.



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