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Ramsey probe at stand

by B.J.Plasket
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER As the investigation into the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey nears the two-and-a-half-year mark, things are awfully quiet at the building where the probe is being conducted.

Since last September, most Tuesdays at the Boulder County Justice Center have been marked by grand jury meetings.

That pace, however, last month slowed to a crawl.

It is now at a standstill.

While a steady drizzle fell Tuesday outside the justice

center, there was no grand jury inside. The eight women and four men in whose hands the case rests have not met as a group since May 19. Sources say they won't meet at all this week.

As defendants made their way to county court on

Tuesday, a groundskeeper sat in the rain tending flower beds.

There were no satellite trucks, no cameras and no visible signs of an active investigation.

But those involved in the case are saying the absence of the jury doesn't mean the investigation is not moving.

Suzanne Laurion, the spokeswoman for District Attorney Alex Hunter, has said grand jury specialist Michael Kane "practically lives in the war room" that has served as investigative headquarters for nearly 30 months.

Last week Adams County District Attorney Bob Grant privy to details of the case in his role as a consultant said the jury could merely be waiting for test results on evidence.

Hunter himself last week said prosecutors and detectives are still working "day-in and day-out."

But outside observers are increasingly pessimistic the grand jury will indict anyone in the Dec. 25, 1996, slaying of the little beauty queen.

On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Burden of Proof," Court TV analyst Rikki Klieman said the grand jury's pace is good news for potential defendants in the case.

"This grand jury has slowed very, very slowly," she said. "It's really coming to a halt and, as far as we know, they haven't subpoenaed either John or Patsy Ramsey and if they're not going to subpoena the Ramseys , one wonders if they are going to get an indictment against anybody.

On that same program former Denver prosecutor Craig Silverman reiterated his belief that the case seems to have no sense of urgency.

Silverman said Hunter is "moving at such a slow pace that I think it is jeopardizing the success of any future prosecution because the whole jury pool is watching."

The Ramseys , meanwhile, appear to have completed the move from their Atlanta-area home.

The Star, a tabloid publication that recently said JonBenet's brother Burke was a "prime suspect" in the case, has retracted that story and now says the grand jury's work is "all but finished" as the Ramseys stay on the move.

The family, according to the Star, is staying with Patsy Ramsey 's mother, Nedra Paugh, in the Atlanta suburb of Roswell. The magazine said Patsy has recently been spending most of her time at her mother's house.

That same report said the Ramseys huddled with one of their attorneys for three days during the first week of June.