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Back to 1999 Headlines

8/24/1999

Ramsey media plan rea

by B.J.Plasket
Daily Times-Call

BOULDER While presiding over a grand jury that hasn't met in more than three months, District Attorney Alex Hunter has steadfastly refused to say when the investigation into the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey will end.

But a plan to "handle the media" at the end of the grand jury process has already been prepared.

Suzanne Laurion, Hunter's media liaison, on Monday said she has completed and submitted to Hunter a five-page plan detailing how information should be given out when the grand jury ends its work.

The jury, which began meeting in September, did not meet on Monday and hasn't met since May 25. by law, it cannot meet past Oct. 20.

And Laurion swears she doesn't know what direction the probe will take.

"I'm on a need-to-know basis," she said. "I'm not privy to grand jury matters."

Laurion said her report to Hunter includes plans for three different scenarios an indictment, a no-indictment and the issuance of a report in the event there is no indictment.

The plan calls for a full-scale news conference in the event there is not an indictment, but advises against such a conference if an indictment is handed up.

Hunter, whose only public comments this year came at an impromptu news conference on Aug. 5, at that time said he would not be "handicapped" by the Oct. 20 deadline and did not rule out a continuation of the now 32-month-old investigation.

"I don't want to get people's hopes up or down or in any other direction," he said at the time.

Laurion on Monday said Hunter will "safeguard the secrecy of the grand jury to the end."

Laurion also reiterated her earlier statement that she needs little time to prepare for the media onslaught that will likely accompany the grand jury's end.

"Preparation could take as little as 15 minutes," she said.

Laurion said she gave the plan to Hunter last week, but that he has not yet reviewed it.

Speculation and suspicion in the case has centered on JonBenet's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey , who have steadfastly maintained their innocence. Their daughter was beaten and strangled to death in their Boulder home on Christmas night of 1996.