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Ramseys ask Salazar

The Associated Press

DENVER — John and Patsy Ramsey asked Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar to intervene in the investigation of their daughter’s slaying and appoint outside investigators to look into evidence that could indicate she was killed by an intruder.

If he refuses, they said they want Boulder police and the district attorney’s office to publicly state there is not enough evidence to charge them now in the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey .

“You cannot live a normal life under the (Police Chief) Mark Beckner umbrella of suspicion,” L. Lin Wood, the Ramseys ’ lawyer in Atlanta, said Wednesday.

Wood made the requests in a May 10 letter to Boulder District Attorney Mary Keenan after retired detective Lou Smit presented evidence on NBC’s “Today Show” to support his theory that an intruder beat and strangled JonBenet.

Wood said Boulder detectives assigned to the case were inexperienced and biased and outsiders are needed to take a fresh look at the evidence.

JonBenet was found dead in the basement of her house on Dec. 26, 1996. John Ramsey found her body hours after his wife reported finding a ransom note demanding $118,000.

The Ramseys deny any involvement in their daughter’s death, but police say they remain under suspicion. A grand jury investigating the case adjourned without issuing indictments.

After Smit’s appearances on television, Wood said several people wrote to Salazar urging his office to become involved.

Don Quick, deputy attorney general for criminal justice, said people have been calling and sending letters asking Salazar to step in since the beginning of the case.

Only Gov. Bill Owens could appoint Salazar as a special prosecutor although Keenan could ask for help, Quick said.

Wood said he does not plan to ask Owens to take action because the governor refused to appoint a special prosecutor in October 1999. Salazar served on the panel that advised Owens on that decision.

Without openly calling the Ramseys suspects in the slaying, Owens has repeatedly accused them of hiding behind their lawyers and not cooperating with authorities.

Keenan was in Grand Junction for a trial and could not immediately be reached for comment. No one else at the district attorney’s office would comment.

Beckner was also out of the office Wednesday but Boulder city spokeswoman Jana Petersen said the police department does not usually respond to Wood’s accusations.

“We don’t want a tit for tat,” she said. “This is about finding out who did this horrible thing to the little girl.”

Wood said the Ramseys would cooperate with a new team of investigators.

If his request is ignored, Wood said they would consider going to court to have the case moved out of Boulder.