Letters to the Editor

From the week of October 19, 2006

The Professor and the Patsy

CU in the funny pages:Regarding Alan Prendergast's "Made for Each Other," in the October 12 issue:

Congrats on a job well done exposing CU's heir apparent to the Churchill/Barnett throne. Michael Tracey is a jackass and, being such, he fits in brilliantly at the institution that prides itself on making sure the jackass never becomes an endangered species. Thanks for a great piece.

Chris Walsweer
Denver

Hold the lettuce:Alan Prendergast did it again and again by writing his article on professor Tracey in the fair, unbiased manner that's characteristic of him.

Alan should be teaching journalism at CU and Tracey should be flipping hamburgers at McDonald's.

Jack McInroy
Aurora

The evil that men do:Alan Prendergast's article on Michael Tracey's continued interest and unwaivering belief in the Ramseys' innocence misses the main point. As a student of popular culture and holder of a journalism degree (and having taught college journalism), I think Tracey's point is that every crime, just like every story, has at least two sides, and inevitably many nuances within them. The criminal-justice system and the media organizations' trend toward speedy resolution has created a beast that resembles a modern-day stoning without any due process.

It is not just possible but probable that an evil person, an intruder, came into the Ramsey home and killed an innocent child. It is not just possible but probable that Patsy Ramsey was a grieving mother who was then "raped" and persecuted by the people -- the media, the police and her friends.

As a grieving mother, I know that you can't act "normal" when something evil has taken your child. As a journalist, I know that there are at least two sides to this story. As a mother, I am going to try to understand Patsy Ramsey's grief. As a human being, I admire Michael Tracey's willingness to do the same.

Name withheld on request

Someone call out the cops: A longtime reader, I felt compelled to write you for the first time after reading Alan Prendergast's "Made for Each Other." The Boulder Police Department can't look any worse then it already does from befuddling this case from day one. I'm no amateur sleuth, but it seems like Mr. Tracey knows more about the case then anyone -- and yet he has not been labeled a suspect. Boulder spent thousands to fly a kook back to the States while the killer remains in our back yard. Tracey seems more obsessed with this case than John Mark Karr, but the police consider him an informant.

If Boulder wants to get the egg off its face, I say they arrest the real fraud. It is repugnant that they let Tracey know about the DNA before the lawyers. That's like handing a known bank robber a gun in front of a bank.

Aaron Futrell
Aurora

The reel story: I am reluctant to afford Alan Prendergast's attack on Michael Tracey recognition it does not deserve, but it includes four major factual inaccuracies which cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged.

The first is that when making our last documentary together, Michael Tracey identified the suspect most immediately in need of elimination. He did not. The suspect was identified by a respected investigative journalist from Britain while working closely with experienced homicide detectives intimately involved in the Ramsey case. I had no difficulty in confirming his findings. As a result of the documentary, this suspect was quite properly eliminated from the investigation.

The second is that the role Michael Tracey played in the documentary was not the role described by Alan Prendergast. Tracey made possible a documentary which -- importantly -- revealed the strength of leads which had never been followed up. It referred to "boxes" of such leads and quoted detectives calling for "teams of detectives" to be deployed to follow them up. It suggested that the reason this was not happening was that the people of Boulder had become exhausted with the case -- which deprived the elected district attorney of the public support and resources needed to mount such an investigation. The purpose of the documentary was clear to viewers, although Alan Prendergast chose not to report this. I also personally made it clear to him. He chose not to quote me on this.

The third major inaccuracy is that it is utterly untrue that Michael Tracey pursued John Karr on his own. From the outset, he sought and followed the advice of experienced homicide detectives. This was long before the district attorney's office launched its formal investigation.

The fourth major inaccuracy is that while it is true John Karr changed background details (in part, at least it would seem, to conceal his identity), his confession as to how he actually killed JonBenét remained remarkably consistent from 1997 (long before his contact with Michael Tracey) through to 2006 and alarmed everyone who heard him talk about it. Although in part unexpected, it was also consistent with the autopsy evidence.

To assert, as Prendergast does, that someone who made a credible confession to the horrific sexual torture and murder of a six-year-old should notbe investigated is to reveal, as Michael Tracey has argued, that he inhabits a different moral universe than the rest of us.

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