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Hunter could take month on Ramsey decision

by Pam Regensberg
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- Boulder police commander Mark Beckner, lead investigator in the JonBenet Ramsey slaying, was expected to brief the media on the two-day presentation of the case this afternoon.

Eight police investigators, along with a large team of prosecutors and two criminologists, were to wrap up their two-day meeting today. They met Monday for 10 hours.

During the meeting, police officially handed over the homicide case to District Attorney Alex Hunter, who will decide the case's fate. Hunter can indict someone for the Dec. 26, 1996, murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey or can convene a grand jury to hear the case.

It is widely believed he will turn it over to the grand jury, which was empaneled in April. Hunter has said he will take at least 30 days to make his decision.

According to officials, today's meeting was a question-and-answer period. Beckner's comments this afternoon are expected to be vague and shed little light on the murder or the meetings. Hunter also is expected to make a brief statement.

Reknowned criminologists Barry Scheck and Dr. Henry Lee, who gained fame during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, left the meeting at 1 p.m.

Meanwhile, a large group of reporters and photographers had assembled at the University of Colorado Coors Event Center awaiting any comment from those directly involved in the case.

The meeting puts an end to the Boulder Police Department's nearly 17-month-old investigation.

Hunter said there were ``some new developments'' but nothing surprising during the first day of police presentations in the murder case of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey .

``I think there were some new developments,'' he said. But he refused to elaborate and added that nothing he had heard so far was surprising.

The crime specialists met for 10 hours of candid discussion Monday to review the evidence. Hunter said following the first day's meeting that police have made progress in the case, but more meetings are needed before he can decide whether there is enough evidence to present to a grand jury.

Presenting their case to Hunter for the first time, police turned over more than 30,000 pages of evidence, hoping to persuade him to file charges or at least turn the case over to a grand jury to investigate.

JonBenet Ramsey was found in the basement of her family's Boulder home. She had been beaten, strangled and sexually assaulted.

Her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey , remain under suspicion. They moved to the Atlanta area shortly after the murder .

Associated Press contributed to this report.