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Hunter, Lee set meeting on Ramsey case evidence

by B.J.Plasket
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER A Thursday meeting that may decide the future course of the JonBenet Ramsey murder investigation will be closely watched by Gov. Bill Owens.

But foul weather on the East Coast could delay the meeting.

District Attorney Alex Hunter and his prosecution team are scheduled to meet with forensic scientist Henry Lee to discuss tests on crime-scene evidence gathered in the three-year-old homicide case.

Hunter earlier this month said some of the world's leading forensic specialists are involved in the case. None, however, are expected to accompany Lee to Colorado.

In fact, a blizzard that is crippling the Eastern seaboard may preclude Lee from traveling.

"He's a little worried about the weather," said Suzanne Laurion, a media liaison for Hunter. Laurion, who was called back to work this week because of Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise's illness, said Lee's busy schedule will keep him from flying in early.

Lee is not expected to travel from his Hartford, Conn., home until Thursday morning.

Although many Eastern airports have canceled or delayed flights in recent days, the Connecticut weather forecast for Thursday calls for partly cloudy weather in the Hartford area.

Prosecutor Michael Kane, who left Colorado to enter private practice in Pennsylvania shortly after a grand jury disbanded last fall, is also scheduled to attend the meeting. He and Hunter are expected to be joined by Bruce Levin and Mitch Morrisey, the two prosecutors who have been on loan to Hunter.

Adams County District Attorney Bob Grant, another member of Hunter's Ramsey task force, may also attend.

Gov. Bill Owens, who late last year declined to appoint a special prosecutor to the case, will not have a representative at the daylong meeting.

But, according to press secretary Dick Wadhams, the governor will be watching.

"The governor is very interested but not directly involved," Wadhams said. "He stays abreast of the case and is quite interested in new developments."

Laurion said Hunter is aware that Owens "continues to show considerable interest" in the case and will contact the governor "if anything substantive" comes out of the meeting.

The test results that will be scrutinized on Thursday may prove critical in keeping the case alive.

Hunter in recent weeks has reiterated his earlier claim that there is insufficient evidence to file charges, and insiders say the test results may provide Hunter with his last chance to file the case in the absence of a significant breakthrough.

Funding for the investigation, meanwhile, runs out at the end of March.

Lee has been analyzing the test results conducted on items described only as crime-scene evidence for the last two months.

Laurion said Hunter will issue a statement at the conclusion of the meeting, but said he will not hold a press conference.

Hunter has refused to comment on the meeting in advance.

The location of the meeting also remains a secret.