April 3, 2001


By David Wright & Don Gentile

John and Patsy Ramsey have changed the story they told cops about their daughter JonBenet's murder -- they now admit their son Burke was awake during that Christmas 1996 nightmare!

In an exclusive ENQUIRER interview, the nation's most infamous murder suspects say Burke was jolted awake by screams in their Boulder, Colo. home.

"Burke knew something horrible had happened. He heard us screaming. He heard Patsy...a woman in terror," John confessed. "We thought he was asleep but he wasn't. Burke was awake.

"Burke was frightened. He had tears in his eyes. He knew something very, very wrong was going on."

Until being questioned by The ENQUIRER, the Ramseys had always insisted that Burke was still sleeping when police arrived at their home after Patsy's 911 call.

But now John has admitted to The ENQUIRER that Burke woke up before the 911 call was placed at 5:52 a.m. to summon police.

In the Ramsey's face-to-face, in-depth interview with The ENQUIRER:

* The Ramseys - who still staunchly proclaim their innocence - broke their silence about what Burke knows of the murder and revealed fears their son will explode emotionally from keeping "a lot inside."

* Even though it's almost inconceivable that John and Patsy wouldn't talk to Burke about the murder, they say they didn't find out Burke was awake the morning of the tragedy until he testified before a grand jury nearly two and a half years later!

* In chilling detail, the couple described the haunting nightmares and dreams they have about their murdered daughter.

* Patsy recently asked her dying mother to come back after her death and reveal JonBenet's murderer.

* John admits he saw the movie "Speed," which contains a key line found in the ransom note -- but claims he saw it on an airplane and didn't wear the headphones!

When the Ramseys arrived for the interview in Atlanta, oddly enough, Patsy gave an ENQUIRER reporter a hug -- then served up a dish of shamrock shaped St. Patrick's Day cookies.

In opening up about Burke for the first time, the Ramseys insisted they never once sat down with him to discuss the murder, but just said his sister "was gone...and was in heaven."

They also never told him they'd signed papers to make John's brother Burke's guardian if they were arrested.

The Ramseys were asked whether Burke, now 14, ever asked for details of JonBenet's death.

"He has never...we have never talked about anything," said Patsy, who wore a purple suit and white blouse.

John, looking weary in shirtsleeves, said they also never told Burke that they are suspects in the murder. But he revealed that an attorney he hired to represent Burke told the boy before he testified at a grand jury proceeding in May 1999.

"His attorney sat him down and said, 'Understand, they are suspicious of your parents. Do you have any questions?'"

Surprisingly, Burke said he didn't.

"He's a pretty quiet kid," said John.

John and Patsy worry that Burke is keeping things inside and they fear it will lead to an emotional blowup as an adult.

"Yeah, I worry, you betcha we do," John said with a sigh. "In fact that's one of the risks you have with a child with a traumatic experience like that.

"They keep a lot inside and they don't really start thinking about it until they get to be 40 years old and that's when it hurts."

Burke has been strangely quiet about his sister's murder, the Ramseys reveal. They say it wasn't until Burke's 1999 grand jury testimony that they found out he was awake before police arrived -- but was pretending to be asleep.

"Yeah, he testified to that. We thought he was asleep but he wasn't," said John, who had told police their son slept through the tragedy.

A source close to the case declared: "It's hard to believe that John and Patsy didn't find out until tow and a half years after the murder that Burke was awake.

"I know the reaction of the cops will be: 'Why didn't Burke tell them? Why couldn't he discuss his sister's death with them? Was it because Burke knew more than he dared to say about his parents' involvement?'

"Whatever the reason, John and Patsy have changed their story."

When asked when Burke woke up, John said it was after Patsy discovered the ransom note shortly after 5:30 a.m. Then he quickly changed his answer to say Burke woke up after the 911 call.

But then John changed his story again, calling The ENQUIRER as we went to press to say that Burke was awake BEFORE the 911 call. John told us:

"Burke recalled his mother screaming, 'Where's my baby?' and me saying, 'Calm down, calm down, we need to call the police.'"

John's admission that Burke was awake came after The ENQUIRER revealed to him and Patsy the details of our earlier exclusive report that Burke's voice is heard on an enhancement made of the 911 call. The youngster says, "What did you find?" and "What do you want me to do?"

John Ramsey tells his son, "We're not talking to you."

But Patsy still insists: "When I made that phone call, burke Ramsey was nowhere in the vicinity of the telephone."

Asked what goes through her mind when she recalls the events of JonBenet's death, Patsy gave a bizarre childlike answer.

"It kind of makes my heart go pitty-pat. I mean right now, I'm feeling like, gosh, this happened to my child."

During The ENQUIRER interview, Patsy admitted she considered and rejected the possibility that John was sexually abusing JonBenet. She openly admitted that during her struggle to defeat ovarian cancer between 1993 and 1994, John and Patsy's sex life suffered. She totally rejects the notion of John abusing JonBenet, but her reasoning is odd.

She said her mother "came to take care of the kids (when I had cancer). She slept in the other bed in JonBenet's room. I mean, if John was coming in to molest JonBenet, you know that's not going to happen 'cause Grandma was right there every night."

The Ramseys maintain that JonBenet's bed-wetting was not a problem.

"This bed-wetting is nonsense stuff...a red herring," said John.

Patsy added, her voice rising: "When children are really tired and they don't go potty before they go to bed, sometimes they have accidents."

But the close source declared: "The investigators will never buy Patsy's claim that JonBenet's bedwetting wasn't significant.

"Right after the murder, the Ramseys' housekeeper Linda Hoffmann-Pugh told police the bed-wetting was a big problem within the family."

In discussing the ransom note, the Ramseys were reminded of an ENQUIRER exclusive that revealed police believe it was written by a killer using their opposite hand.

Patsy, who is naturally right-handed, was asked if she can write with her left hand.

"Can I write with my left hand?" she said, pondering the question. A smile crossed her face and she replied: "I can-- but not very well."

She confirmed that to get a sample of her handwriting, police made her write the ransom note "every which way."

The ENQUIRER asked if her left-handed writing was legible.

"Oh, I don't know," she said, then changed her answer, saying it wasn't legible.

That contradicts a source close to the investigation who said her left-handed printing of the note was legible.

Both John and Patsy expressed a stunning ignorance about the most notable line in the ransom note, which reads, "Don't try to grow a brain, John."

Even though references to the line have appeared in published reports many times since JonBenet's murder, they said they were totally unaware that the words are nearly an exact repeat of a line from the movie "Speed."

"Oh, is that from that movie?" asked Patsy, her eyes opening wide.

John admitted he had seen the film but insisted there's no way he could have remembered the line.

"I watched part of 'Speed' on an airline one day -- without the headphones. All I see is this bus."

In the years since the murder, Patsy said she has been haunted by a recurring nightmare about that tragic Christmas night.

"I am in Boulder and walking the alleyways, the alleys behind our home -- and just searching and searching and searching. And you know I'll come upon a group of people standing there. And I'll say be careful, be careful, there's someone around here that's killing people. I have that dream over and over.

"I kind of picture myself sitting up kind of toward the Flatirons (part of the Rocky Mountains overlooking Boulder) and just wondering in which house the murderer resides."

John also has recurring dreams involving JonBenet -- but not as a 6-year-old, her age at the time of her death.

"She's usually about 2 or 3 years old and I'm holding her," John said, describing the dreams as "very comforting. I wake up with a very close feeling."

Patsy revealed she talked about her daughter -- whom she called Jonnie B. -- in her last conversation with her mother Nedra Paugh, who died recently.

"You know you're going to be with Jonnie B. soon and you're gonna know everything soon," Patsy said she told Nedra. Then she added: "If anybody can come back and tell me, I know she will."

Patsy was the last person to see JonBenet alive, sleeping in her bed -- "zonked," as she put it.

She said she kissed her daughter and recited the prayer, "Now I lay me down to sleep." But she can't remember if there was a blanket on the bed, or if it was the one JonBenet was wrapped in when her body was found in a windowless basement room the next day.

Pressed for further details of that night, Patsy responded like a woman who has had lawyers in her life for too many years: "It was 4 1/2 years ago. I have not rehearsed or reread my previous statements."

In closing, Patsy said she "would love nothing more from The National ENQUIRER than to say "The ENQUIRER finds the killer.'" And if that happened, she added "I'll be your poster for for the rest of my life."

Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner would not comment on the Ramsey interview.

But in a gloomy assessment of where the case stands, he told The ENQUIRER: "there's really not much happening right now."

The Ramseys remain under an umbrella of suspicion.