By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
What did Boulder do to deserve this?
That's a stupid question. Next question.
Okay. So why did Boulder call a rare news conference last Thursday, introduce it as a "briefing" and then let Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter launch into a half-hour, Mayberry-meets-Naropa soliloquy that covered everything from his dawn workout schedule to feelings in his belly (which knows he's got a case) and heart (which knows he's not arrogant) to "resource allocation" to media ethics to understanding reporters' frustration to perhaps having had his job too long to, seven weeks after the murder of JonBenet, being "stripped of any mercy" that he might previously have shown JonBenet's killer, whoever that might be--not that Hunter's telling?
Okay. So what kind of mercy do you ever show a person who fixes a garrote about a six-year-old's neck, sexually assaults her and then kills her?
Okay. So when Hunter says he feels our pain, the "pain everyone feels about this loss," does he know he sounds like the "I love you, man" man on the beer commercials?
Okay. So when did "roundtable"--as in, call lots of local district attorneys and listen as they politely sidestep just what a mess this case has become and then make them part of your "expert prosecution task force"--become a verb?
Okay. So after Hunter's not-so-brief "briefing" came a cameo appearance by Boulder police chief Tom Koby, who also apparently has been stripped of any mercy, stripped right down to his rarely seen uniform, and who proceeded to prove it by showing no mercy to reporters. Although they'd been told they could ask questions that fit within the scope of the discussion--just what is that workout regimen, Mr. DA?--as soon as reporters actually asked them, why did Koby treat them like frat boys smuggling beer into a rush party?
Okay. So if Koby follows the "media management" rules handed down by his mentor, one Lee P. Brown, wouldn't it have been thoughtful--sensitive even--to have provided those to reporters in advance? (For those who missed Professor Koby's remedial class, it breaks down thusly: Don't answer "stupid questions," don't answer questions that lead to speculation, don't answer questions that compromise your investigation.)
Are there any more questions? Good.
While Koby and company swatted reporters' queries like so many pesky flies, the real news--the real "sharing," so to boulderspeak--was happening nearby, as Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise took his boss's case for more bucks to the Boulder County commissioners. At the same time Hunter was revealing that he'd been "stripped of any mercy" he might have had for the killer if, say, that killer had confessed and saved everyone a whole lot of pain and expense, Wise was confessing to commissioners that out of 50,000 cases, he could think of only two cases "where the person walked in and pled guilty. Confession doesn't mean anything, and you won't get one, anyhow."
At the same time Hunter was announcing that two experts who'd worked for O.J. Simpson's criminal defense team would be joining Boulder's task force, Wise was assuring the commissioners that no one from the L.A. District Attorney's office would be joining the group. And the folks coming on board would work cheap, including DNA expert Barry Scheck, who "just kicked the poop out of the prosecution out there." Sure, the O.J. additions might draw even more attention to the case and, not incidentally, Boulder, Wise acknowledged, but "you know, the funny thing is that it doesn't matter anymore. Once a case captures the national attention, it starts this frenzy." Adding fuel to that fire, one commissioner speculated, was reporters' appreciation for the amenities of the Boulderado Hotel and the Pearl Street Mall. "That's assuming they stay out of the local pasta bistros," noted another.
(Why did Patsy Ramsey, who has not yet managed to schedule an interview with the Boulder Police Department regarding the murder of her six-year-old daughter, go to the Boulder sheriff to help pasta pusher Jay Elowsky plead his case with authorities? Next question.)
At the same time Hunter said little--but said it long--about the case, Wise was considerably more up front with the commissioners about the nature of the "press conference going on right now over at the City with Tom Koby and Alex Hunter. They are announcing, among other things--they're actually announcing very little about the case." And that could be because the Boulder cops' investigation has problems. "It's not as bad as Peter Boyles is reporting, but there have been some problems," Wise said, then proceeded to exacerbate them: "Well, I'm not going to criticize the Boulder Police Department, but I'd sure like to, but I really don't want to get into that...If there weren't a close relationship between Tom Koby and Alex Hunter, we wouldn't be in the case at all right now."
I love you, man.
On Friday, Hunter woke to a rosy dawn and a Rocky Mountain News cover that bannered his "message to the murderer" and all hell breaking loose over Wise's comments, particularly his reference that "one of the suspects had money."