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Back to 1999 Headlines

1/7/1999

DA seeks funds for Ramsey probe

by Eric Frankowski
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER -- The Boulder County District Attorney's office will ask the Boulder County Commissioners today for $79,723 to continue the grand jury investigation into the murder of JonBenet Ramsey .

Suzanne Laurion, the DA's office spokeswoman, said since the grand jury's previous budget ran through December and county budgets were finalized in November, the funding being requested today was not included in the DA's spending plan.

Only $11,142 was budgeted for the investigation this year, for items such as space, furniture and copier rental and office supplies.

Most of the 1999 supplemental request -- $43,196 -- will be used to cover the salaries of additional investigation staff.

Former Denver prosecutor and grand jury specialist Michael Kane, who is leading the investigation, will be paid $8,240 a month for his services. If the investigation lasts through the three months of funding being requested, he will be paid a total of $24,720.

Laurion, a former adjunct journalism professor at CU who is acting as the DA's spokeswoman on the investigation, will receive $547 a week for 14 weeks, bringing her salary to $7,658.

Tim Johnson, an entry level prosecutor who is covering normal duties for attorneys working on the Ramsey investigation, will be paid $3,423 for two months and $3,972 for one month, if the investigation lasts through March.

All three are working for the investigation under independent contract, but the supplemental request for their salaries includes the 4.1 percent pay increase granted to all regular county employees this year.

Also in the supplemental request are: $13,752 for research, $7,500 for computers, $4,000 for transcripts, $375 for supplies, $1,250 for the payment of an expert witness and $2,500 for travel-related investigative costs.

A total of $388,905 has already been spent on the investigation, 87 percent of it by the DA's office. In 1997, Ramsey -related expenditures totaled $164,904, and last year, they grew to $224,000.

Laurion said, however, that the investigation has generally come in under budget, pointing out that approximately $73,000 in funds from its 1998 budget were left unspent and returned to the county's general fund.

Six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family's Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996. Her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey , are still considered suspects though they deny any involvement in their daughter's murder .