Today Show - April 13, 2000

This aired 4/13 on the TODAY show.

KATIE COURIC, co-host: The mystery of who killed JonBenet Ramsey is back in the headlines. A new book out this week by one of the detectives on the case says Patsy Ramsey accidentally killed her daughter and then tried to cover it up by making it look like a kidnapping. Lin Wood is an attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey.

Mr. Wood, good morning. Welcome back.

Mr. LIN WOOD (Attorney for John and Patsy Ramsey): Good morning, Katie.

COURIC: Let me ask you what you think of these latest allegations by Steve Thomas in his new book.

Mr. WOOD: You know, Alex Hunter, the district attorney in Boulder, has described Steve Thomas as a rogue detective. I think he's a bad cop. Somebody that would shoot before he would think. He's made allegations in this book against Patsy Ramsey that are totally unsupported by any evidence. It's like a tabloid in a hard cover. And I would think that if you go to buy it at a store, you would feel the way you feel when you have to go buy one of these tabloids. You hope nobody sees you when you purchase it. Unfortunately, because I have to monitor the tabloids, I know what that feeling is like. But this book is just a lie when it comes to talking about Patsy Ramsey. She did not kill her daughter. And there's no evidence to support this theory that's espoused by this rogue cop.

COURIC: I know that in the Denver Post, John Ramsey called Steve Thomas an inexperienced moron. What else have they said to you about the book and about this man?

Mr. WOOD: Well, they don't intend to read the back. John Ramsey is a gentleman. Anyone that's met him knows that. If you've seen him in his interviews, you know it. This is a man whose wife has been accused of murder by Steve Thomas. This is a man who has sat back and watched Steve Thomas put his daughter's name and picture on a book, illegally utilizing confidential police file information, to write a book so that he can profit. He wants to profit off of the death of this child. And Steve Thomas is a person that should not be allowed to do so.

COURIC: Will you take legal action?

Mr. WOOD: Steve Thomas is at the top of the list. He has to be. You can't sit back and let someone make these kinds of accusations that cannot be supported without testing him in a court of law. I'd like to have 10 or 15 minutes of cross-examination of Detective Thomas, because I think it wouldn't take much longer than that to destroy this man's credibility.

COURIC: So you are planning to sue?

Mr. WOOD: That is--I haven't read the book from cover to cover. I know it's been vetted well by the lawyers. But I would say, Katie, that Steve Thomas is high on the list under the umbrella of litigation for John and Patsy Ramsey.

COURIC: You know, you mentioned, Lin, that Alex Hunter called this man, Steve Thomas, a--a--a rogue cop. But Alex Hunter, in interviews here on the TODAY show with Dan Abrams, has not exactly defended your clients. In fact, he's talked about the key piece of evidence in this case being that ransom note, that three-page ransom note. And in this new book, it says of the 73 suspects whose writing samples were analyzed by experts, only Patsy Ramsey could not be excluded as its author. Based on...

Mr. WOOD: I challenge that. Katie, I will tell you, I challenge that statement. I think that's a lie. And if it's not a lie, then I think the Colorado Bureau of Investigation handwriting experts are incompetent.

COURIC: She was not excluded though...

Mr. WOOD: I would like for that evidence to be put out.

COURIC: ...Lin, she was not excluded. Even when I talked to John and Patsy Ramsey he said...

Mr. WOOD: Sure, I understand that.

COURIC: ...that was a low probability that she had written the note. Which is--which is different, frankly, than being excluded.

Mr. WOOD: Absolutely. I understand--I understand the point. She was not excluded but nor was she identified as the writer of the note. The person that's relied upon by Steve Thomas in terms of trying to connect Patsy Ramsey to that note is a man named Don Foster. And, in fact, Don Foster, who now says that Patsy wrote the note, I have a letter that Don Foster wrote to Patsy Ramsey in June of 1997 where he stated that he was convinced that she was innocent, that he would stake his professional life on it. They are relying on a man, Don Foster, who is a discredited and a person not worthy of belief, plain and simple.

COURIC: Let's move on and talk about this lie detector test, if we could. The Boulder police have said that they will ask John and Patsy--Patsy Ramsey to take one. It's something that they have not done in the past. And, of course, I talked to them about this last month. Let's listen and then we'll talk again.

Mr. WOOD: Sure.

(Beginning of file footage)

COURIC: Did you all take a lie detector test?

Mr. JOHN RAMSEY: We were never asked to take a lie detector test.

COURIC: Why not volunteer to take one?

Mr. RAMSEY: I--that didn't occur to me, first of all. That wasn't my motive.

Ms. PATSY RAMSEY: I understand that lie detector tests are not admissible in court anyway. It's kind of a voodoo science. I don't believe...

Mr. RAMSEY: I would if I was asked. Certainly I would. But the fact is, I was never asked.

(End of file footage)

COURIC: That seems up for debate, Lin, in terms of whether the Ramseys were ever asked. Because, according to the police interview that Dan Abrams talked about yesterday, it was brought up.
Mr. WOOD: Yeah, let me make a...

COURIC: Go ahead.

Mr. WOOD: ...let me clarify that point for you. In fact, Patsy Ramsey was not asked. She was only asked hypothetically what she would do, and she said she'd take 10 if necessary to get this investigation looking for the real killer. John Ramsey was also asked hypothetically if he would take a test and he said that in other interviews. That he has, in fact, recalled being asked hypothetically would he take it. But I've gone back...

COURIC: And he said he would be insulted.

Mr. WOOD: ...look--he did. And I've gone back and looked at the transcripts of that, which I would like for the Boulder police to make public in their entirety. And John did say that he would be insulted when he was asked, 'If at some point in time, I ask you to take one, would you?' John was wrong about his recollection three years after the fact, but he didn't go back and study those transcripts when he came out in these interviews and answered every question honestly and openly.

COURIC: Lin, the fact of the matter is now they have been requested to take a lie detector test. So will they? And if so, when?

Mr. WOOD: They will take a lie detector test if it is performed by a fair and impartial and independent examiner and if the results of that test are made public. They have also asked for the courtesy of the tests to be performed in Atlanta. But they will not take a lie detector test that is administered by the FBI because the FBI is not an independent agency from the Boulder Police Department. They have been involved in this investigation. Some of their members have formed beliefs about the Ramseys that are adverse to them. But if Boulder will offer these people an independent, impartial examiner, and there are plenty of them out there that are not connected to an agency that's been involved in the investigation, and they have said very clearly, they will take this test.

But it's a shame that they have to do that, Katie, because what's happened to John and Patsy Ramsey is the system of justice has been turned upside down. They have to now go out, literally, and try to prove their innocence...

COURIC: But if they're innocent they--you would think they would be...

Mr. WOOD: order to get the police start looking for a killer.

COURIC: think they would welcome a chance to prove their innocence, or at least indicate their innocence, through a polygraph.

Mr. WOOD: Well, they've done everything that they've been asked to do so far, Katie. And I've indicated that if they will be treated fairly and they will be administered an independent test, that they will do that. I don't know what else it's going to take for the authorities in Boulder, Colorado, to come to the realization that they've wasted a lot of time and a lot of money looking at the wrong people. There's someone out there that killed this child. It's not John and Patsy Ramsey. The police need to go out now and start looking for the killer of this child.

COURIC: All right.

Mr. WOOD: To find out who did this horrible crime.

COURIC: Lin Wood. Lin, thanks so much for talking with us this morning.

Mr. WOOD: Thank you, Katie.