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Media waiting and waiting for break in Ramsey case

by B.J.Plasket
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER It's getting easier to spook the reporters camping out on the Justice Center lawn while the Ramsey grand jury meets.

As the grand jury probing the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey enters what many have called the final stages of its investigation, any change in routine raises eyebrows.

Such was the case Wednesday when the grand jury, which skipped its normal Tuesday meeting, met for what appeared to be an all-day session.

Adding to the intrigue was the presence of a Denver police car in the no-parking zone near the back door of District Attorney Alex Hunter's office. That space, on grand jury days, is normally occupied by a Boulder police vehicle.

The presence of a different vehicle was enough to cause a group of reporters to pounce on Hunter's spokeswoman, Suzanne Laurion, as she entered the building around 2 p.m.

"What's the Denver cop car doing here?" one asked.

"Is the grand jury meeting?" asked another.

Laurion, like she has on so many other days, calmly said she had no idea.

"Well, the yellow tape is up," she said in reference to the police tape that cordons off parking spaces for the jurors on the days they meet.

"Why are they meeting on Wednesday?"

"Why didn't they meet yesterday?"

Laurion, who had just arrived, had no answers, and the reporters knew it when they asked.

On the other side of the building, a pair of videographers pointed their cameras at whoever came or went through the DA's back door.

Hunter himself came through the front entrance just after 2 p.m., but ignored reporters.

The increasing number of reporters and camera trucks at the Justice Center is accompanying speculation that the grand jury is nearing the end of its work. Adams County District Attorney Bob Grant, who has loaned an attorney to Hunter for the investigation and is a member of a group of metro-area DAs consulting with Hunter on the case, recently said he hoped the process would be completed around the end of May.

Others say that is unlikely, since Boulder police last week admitted they are still doing investigative work.

National media organizations now beginning to return to Boulder after a long absence are also convinced the jury's end is near. Network producers who normally arrive in advance of reporters have already begun trickling back into Boulder.

The DA's office, meanwhile, is continuing its silence. Laurion has several times said she has no idea when the grand jury will finish.

The 12-month life of the jury has already been extended by six months until the end of October. If its work is not done by then, a new grand jury would have to be seated and would be forced to virtually start over.

The county has given the DA funding to continue the probe through the end of June.