The Accidental Jurist

Leonard Peltier. Stephen Miles. Now the witness who might break the Ramsey case. Itís no wonder Lee Hill thinks he needs to pack a pistol.

The next day, however, Hartman called Hill. He'd decided that the woman's best protection would be to publicize her story. Then, if anyone made a move against her, he'd draw attention to himself. Hill, Singular and Hunter were against the idea, but Hartman remained convinced that this was the best way. And that's how a brief outline of the woman's allegations hit the newspapers.

The meeting with the FBI and the news story accomplished two things. At the safehouse, The Witness, who had been complaining that she was in severe pain, was taken in for a medical examination, which revealed that she had recently been beaten and sexually assaulted as she'd claimed; in fact, she was suffering from abdominal bleeding, had several sexually transmitted diseases and showed marks where she claimed to have been burned with a stun gun. Her injuries were so severe that she stayed in the hospital for two days.

However, because of the publicity, tabloid reporters were on her trail. The safehouse managers were afraid they'd find her and reveal the location, endangering other women. She had to find someplace else to stay. This time, a friend of Hill's, who had made it a passion to gather information on the Ramsey case through her Web site, offered her home in Boulder. Hill and The Witness gratefully accepted.

Lee Hill
Lee Hill
Action figures: Steven Seagal and Lee Hill are working on movie and television projects.
Action figures: Steven Seagal and Lee Hill are working on movie and television projects.

The Witness sits on the couch, clutching a pillow to her abdomen. She looks ready to bolt when Hill announces he has an errand to run and leaves her alone to tell her life story to a stranger.

Dressed in a loose-fitting plaid shirt and sweat pants, The Witness would blend in to any crowd. She's of average height and build. Her hair is short, brown and unremarkable. Her blue eyes tear up behind wire-rimmed glasses and her face flushes several times during the interview, but she doesn't cry. When she smiles or laughs, it's always a quick, fleeting thing, as though she's waiting for the other shoe to drop.

She's been living here since the first article appeared in the Daily Camera. She's afraid to go outside. Afraid that they may spot her, and she will have to flee again.

The question is: Are they real? Or are they just the figments of her paranoia, the bogeymen of a troubled 37-year-old woman?

It's easiest to dismiss her story, as the police in Boulder and California apparently have done. But there's also enough to make one wonder.

She was born April 25, 1962, and since that time has led a double life. One life was presented to the public: a pretty little blond, neatly dressed and very polite, though quiet under her mother's watchful eye. And like another famous girl thirty some years later, she was dressed up and posed for photographers -- for example, she's a model for a 1964-'65 calendar that's among the "evidence" she has shown to Hill.

The other side of her life was much darker. Her earliest memory, she says, is of sitting on the toilet in her parents' home when she was three years old, screaming because blood was dripping from her body into the water. "I had been raped," she says.

In hundreds of pages of recollections she wrote down for her therapist, long before JonBenét was murdered, she alleged, "I was taught at a very young age to tolerate the pain or be punished. I was taught at a very young age to always thank the man for being so good to me, and one of the first statements I memorized for my family was, 'It was my pleasure,' even if what had just been done to me hurt me.

"The only problem that they ever had with me was that sometimes when a man was going to start fucking me, I would urinate all over the bed. My urinating in the bed caused me to have more than one beating with a belt, but it seemed to be something that I couldn't help."

Her child's body was too young to enjoy sex or achieve orgasm. Toward this end, a man named Mackie Boykin was appointed as her "handler." Boykin had been in her life, she says, "ever since I can remember." However, he became part of the family after his brother married her mother.

Living just a few houses down the street, Boykin's job was to train her and other little girls -- whom she says her family and their "guests" referred to as their "Pretty Little Whores" -- in sadomasochistic sexual practices. One of his favorite techniques was to get her body to simulate orgasm (through convulsions) by choking her to the point that she almost passed out (and occasionally did). To accomplish this, he sometimes pressed his thumbs against the carotid arteries in her neck, or used a variety of ropes, belts and scarves to bind her wrists and ankles and choke her, all while other men, referred to as "Uncles," sexually assaulted her.

This subculture was a family tradition, according to The Witness. Her own mother told her that, as a child, she had been similarly used by one of the men whom she allowed to rape her daughter.

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