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.

Some of The Witness's evidence seems innocuous until it's placed in context with the Ramsey case. There are photographs of her on Santa's lap, like those last photographs of JonBenét -- however this Santa, The Witness says, was part of the child-sex subculture, a "warmup for the main event."

There are the letters and photographs, even a name in her baby book that proves she and her family have a long connection -- dating back to the 1930s -- with the family of men she says sexually abused her, including the man who has been a family friend of the Ramseys.

Still, it doesn't prove anything regarding JonBenét's death. They're just tantalizing pieces of an unsolved puzzle, especially in light of recent information that's made headlines -- after The Witness came forward. The Ramseys contend in their new book, The Death of Innocence, that the police need to look at their innermost circle of friends. Also, investigator Lou Smit, a legendary homicide detective who was hired by Hunter but quit because he felt the Boulder police were too focused on the Ramseys, recently said he believes that an intruder entered the house, and noted that JonBenét had stun-gun marks on her. And, as everyone knows, JonBenét was found with a garrote around her neck and a piece of cord tied around one of her wrists.

The most convincing piece of the puzzle is that when The Witness claimed to have been sexually assaulted once before, she told the truth. Boykin was subsequently charged with 64 counts of sexual assault, kidnapping and various other related crimes. He was allowed to plead guilty to four counts and served only ten months. Two days after he was released from prison, he showed up at the doorstep of The Witness, who had moved out of state and was supposedly in protective custody -- but her own family had told him where to find her. She was seventeen, and her torment by Boykin and others, she says, continued for nearly twenty years.

It even continued after November 1996, when Boykin died -- one month before JonBenét was murdered. The question lingers: With the master of sexual asphyxiation of little girls gone, had an amateur messed up and accidentally killed JonBenét?

The Witness does not know. But she and people like Singular, Hill, Hartman and even apparently Alex Hunter believe it is a possibility worth examining. As to whether she seems credible, The Witness doesn't act any crazier than Detective Linda Arndt, who rolled her eyes wildly, talked about counting her bullets because she was afraid of John Ramsey and claimed to know who killed JonBenét in an interview with ABC last fall.

At any rate, The Witness's account is interrupted when Hill returns. She's exhausted and starting to stress out, clutching the pillow ever tighter. She nearly goes through the roof when there's a knock on the door. It's the Boulder police. But how did they find her?

Not to worry. The officer is there to arrest the home's owner because she failed to appear in court over a citation for her barking dog. The tension runs out of the room, lost in the irony as Hill laughs: The Boulder police haven't managed to arrest anyone for the murder of JonBenét, but they can track down a renegade dog owner -- all while a would-be witness in their town's biggest murder case cowers behind the door.

As Hill begins to leave to arrange bond for the home's owner, The Witness looks up from where she's sitting on the ground, petting the dog, and tells Hill, "You're my hero."

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