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Lou Smit Discusses JonBenet Ramsey's Murder

Aired May 28, 2001 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, it's one of the most sensational unsolved crimes in U.S. history: Who brutally killed JonBenet Ramsey in her own home on Christmas night, 1996? Her parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, remain under what authorities call an umbrella of suspicion. But a renowned detective called in to work the case says the evidence indicates that an intruder committed the terrible deed.

Lou Smit, Colorado homicide cop for more than 30 years, joins us for a compelling hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.

A great pleasure to welcome to LARRY KING LIVE tonight -- he'll be with us for the full hour -- Lou Smit, the renowned Colorado detective who has investigated more than 200 homicides in 33 years.

Three months after the 1996 killing of JonBenet, he came out of retirement at the request of the Boulder County DA to help investigate the crime, and then a year-and-a-half later resigned in frustration. After long silence, he has gone public with his views. Why have you gone public?

LOU SMIT, INVESTIGATED JONBENET KILLING: Well, Larry, it's been almost -- it's been a little over four years. It's time that someone came forward and told another side of the story.

KING: But all those years -- before we get to that -- that you stayed silent and we (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to you during that time, because people knew that while you quit and you were angry and feeling that there was someone else who did it and that the Ramseys were being unfairly accused, why didn't you come forward sooner?

SMIT: Well, Larry, I really wasn't angry when I quit. I was -- when I quit, I believed that the law enforcement agency was going to probably indict John and Patsy Ramsey. That's not the way the case told me to go. I didn't want to be part of perhaps putting an innocent person in jail.

Since I left, I had been working the case more or less on my own. There are other people involved in looking at the intruder side of the story. I'm just not doing this myself. I have worked with the Ramsey investigators for the past 2 1/2 years.

KING: Have you been paid?

SMIT: No. No, this is not a paid job. I'm doing it mainly because I do want to seek the truth in this case. I believe that there is evidence pointing toward an intruder, strong, credible evidence. And I believe that if law enforcement and others look carefully at the case, we have a good chance of catching the killer.

KING: Is there also, honestly, strong, credible evidence the other way?

SMIT: I don't believe there's strong, credible evidence the other way at all. If it's not the Ramseys, then it's an intruder. If there is no intruder, then it has to be the Ramseys.

I see very little credible evidence that John or Patsy Ramsey murdered their daughter.

KING: Now, Lou, you know that police department very well.

SMIT: Yes.

KING: What's taking so long?

SMIT: Perhaps they've been going the wrong way for four years. I think early on in the investigation I did, told them, are you sure you're going the right way?

I believe that four years later, with some of the most intense investigation that this country has ever seen, that they still haven't been able to put together a case. This has been looked at by the grand jury for 13 months. It is an extremely intensive investigation into the family.

KING: Into the family. So when a detective gets a case -- just so we understand, then we're going to go through all this -- does he start with any perception or does a good detective begin with "I don't know, I want to find out"?

SMIT: Yes, that's normally the way that a detective goes into it.

KING: And is that what you did?

SMIT: Yes, I did. I felt, perhaps at first, I leaned toward the parents doing it, only because of what I had read and what I had seen on television. But as I got into the case, I started seeing red flags, which started pointing the other way. And I did bring that up to the police department and also to the district attorney's office.

KING: And what, Lou, did they say?

SMIT: They more or less were focused on the Ramseys.

KING: And they told you that?

SMIT: Yes. In so many ways they told me that.

The investigation was focused toward the Ramseys. There was no one that was really looking hard at the intruder side of the story. KING: Therefore, if you're right and no one is looking for the intruder and the Ramseys didn't do it and they don't have any information that can bring an indictment, this is never going to be solved.

SMIT: Well, Larry, I don't believe that. I believe that any case can be solved. I believe...

KING: But you have to be looking, though, don't you?

SMIT: Yes, we have to be looking, and I think there are some of us that are looking, and I think that there are others who are willing to look if they can receive the right information. There is evidence out there that points at an intruder.

KING: And we're going to go through this with you, but you said the Ramseys had no motive that you could find.

SMIT: There is...

KING: What was the intruder's motive?

SMIT: The intruder's motive might be just as it seems. I've worked many homicide cases, and the crime normally is as it seems, Larry. Don't make it complicated. If this is initially portrayed as a kidnapping and a murder, don't try to make it into something else. A ransom note was written. Somebody came into the Ramsey home, and they had with them duct tape. They had with them a rope. They had with them a stun gun. They had intended to do something that night.

The victim was JonBenet. It could have just as well been Burke. Someone...

KING: The other -- the son, the brother.

SMIT: Yeah, the brother. Someone came into the Ramsey house with a purpose in mind and left behind a ransom note.

KING: Why would a kidnapper kill the person they're going to kidnap at the scene while writing a ransom note? You're not going to get any money that way.

SMIT: That's true. I don't know what happened during the evening to change this person's mind. But the opposite is also true. If people believe that the Ramseys for some reason inadvertently killed JonBenet, staged this massive cover-up to make it look like a kidnapping, wrote a 2 1/2 page ransom note, brutally garroted their daughter, and then did not bring her body out of the house, no one can answer that question either.

KING: We'll take a break, and when we come back, we'll have Lou Smit take us right through his theory. We'll show you some pictures to support it as well.

This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: Did you try anything to revive her?

JOHN RAMSEY, JONBENET'S FATHER: I took the tape off her mouth, I tried to untie her arms. They were very tightly bound. I couldn't get the knot undone. And then I just -- I -- I picked her up and I just screamed, the kind of scream you scream in a dream when you -- you're trying to speak but you can't. It's just a scream.



KING: OK. We're back with Lou Smit, the retired Colorado detective. Give us your theory. Take us through. What do you think happened?

SMIT: I believe that some time during December 25th, 1996.

KING: Christmas night.

SMIT: Christmas night -- someone got into the house of John and Patsy Ramsey. I believe there is some evidence to suggest strongly that they may have come in through a basement window.

KING: A window. Was that window open when they investigated it?

SMIT: Yes. When John Ramsey had first seen the window...

KING: There we see a window. That's the window, right?

SMIT: That's the window. Now, again, that picture that you see is the first photograph taken of that window after the crime scene technicians got back into the house. Now, later on, I believe that it was noted that this window may have been opened even by John Ramsey and Fleet White. But what that window did show us, when we first seen it, was that entry could have been made there. There was a scuff mark down the wall. There was leaves and debris on the floor, directly below that open window.

And when we looked at photographs of the window well that leads into that window, we've also seen evidence of recent disturbance. There is also foliage under the grate that covers this window well, which would indicate that someone may have opened and shut the grate. There is also disturbance on the windowsill of the middle window only, not the other two windows.

KING: Lou, if it is, though, a cover-up, couldn't Mr. Ramsey or someone have gone out and done all those things?

SMIT: Sure, anything is possible. But he would have had to go out, and lift the grate, go through window well, he would have had to open the window, leaving perhaps finger marks on the window itself. There is also another window that leads into that basement where it also shows recent disturbance, as if someone may have tried to get in that window. KING: No prints on the window?

SMIT: No prints that we know of on the window.

KING: All right, then we leave -- all right, so that leads us to one thing, the intruder comes in through the window. Then, I remember you are telling me about a suitcase.

SMIT: Yes, and that is why it strongly suggests that this was very recent. That suitcase.

KING: There, we see it.

SMIT: According to John Ramsey, that suitcase -- and also according to the housekeeper -- was not underneath that window prior to that night. John Ramsey said that that is not where suitcases are normally kept.

The position of that suitcase when it was first observed there, by Fleet White, was that it was directly against the wall, directly underneath that open window. There is evidence on top of that suitcase, a very small tiny pea-sized piece of glass which could have come off the shoe of the intruder.

There is also what appears to be a disturbance on the top of that suitcase, as if someone may have stood on it at some particular point. That suitcase is very significant, because it does allow easier egress from that basement through that window.

KING: So, your theory is, the intruder brought the suitcase? Opened the window and put suitcase down to step on it?

SMIT: The suitcase was in the house. It does belong to John Andrew.

KING: So, the intruder had to jump in through the window?

SMIT: The intruder had to come in through the window.

KING: He used the suitcase to get out.

SMIT: Yes. It would make it much easier to get out of that basement.

KING: Conversely, the Ramseys could have put the suitcase there.

SMIT: Absolutely. That could be.

One thing, though, Larry, that I think that should be borne in mind here, the Ramseys have no history whatsoever of any type of criminal activity. They have -- there is nothing to even suggest that they would entertain those thoughts, as far as being able to elaborately stage a crime like this.

Whoever killed JonBenet is a criminal who knows these things. There is nothing in the background of the Ramseys to indicate any type of psychological problems, any type of anger that would be directed toward their daughter. There is just no background which suggests that the Ramseys would even know how to do these things.

KING: And that is always key in detective work?

SMIT: It points...

KING: Couldn't someone one night just in a fit go berserk, having not gone berserk before?

SMIT: Yes, anything is possible. Even the ridiculous is possible. But not likely.

And what are the chances, Larry, of two people going berserk at the same time? I think that it's out of the realm of possibility, that two people could do this. It's -- John and Patsy Ramsey just have no motive to commit this crime and no background.

KING: And we will pick up from there, when we come back with Lou Smit on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, right after this.


KING: OK, Lou, we have seen the open window, we have seen the suitcase, and then you have a theory as well dealing with the bed, which is? What's your theory?

SMIT: I believe that the killer did take JonBenet from her bed.

KING: Right there.

SMIT: And brought her down to the deepest, farthest, dirtiest corner of that basement, and did fashion a garrote there that was used to strangle her. And that he did also stunt-gun her, very possibly, at that location. And then he also brutally hit her on the head with a blunt object.

KING: Why is the bed significant to you?

SMIT: The bed is significant in all of the rooms, even upstairs, is significant, when you look at the photographs. When you see the photographs, they show a bed that is -- is somewhat messy, but it didn't look like there has been any violence in that room. There is nothing on the floor. The various tables in that room and the other bed don't show any signs of violence occurring in that room. Also, upstairs, in the master bedroom, there is no indication there where anything was disturbed, or where there had been any violence. In Burke's room, it's the same way.

I can find no evidence in any of the photographs or any of the reports that I read where there has been any type of violence upstairs, but I do see where JonBenet was subjected to violence in the basement. Even the bed itself, the bedding does not appear to be stained, as if -- there was bed wetting which has been suggested, that perhaps Patsy, in a rage over a bed wetting incident of JonBenet suddenly went berserk up in that room. KING: Wait, hold it right there. You know Steve Thomas, don't you?

SMIT: I do know him.

KING: The detective, he has been on this show. Did you watch this show when he was on the night with both of them?

SMIT: Yes, I did.

KING: That was incredible to sit there with someone accusing someone of murder. We asked him -- watch, I just want to get this and then you can comment on it, when Steve Thomas was asked his theory. Watch.


STEVE THOMAS, FORMER BOULDER POLICE DETECTIVE: I say, in law enforcement circles, this is under this hypothesis that I purport that this was not an intentional killing, that this was accidental initially, which by definition lacks motive. But then what happened, I think, a panicked mother, instead of taking that next step, went left, and covered this thing up. I don't think that -- this isn't rocket science.

KING: Do you think she was disciplining the child, it got out of hand? Is that your guess?

THOMAS: Well, who knows. The victim certainly knows, and the offender certainly knows, but my guess is, yeah, there was some sort of explosive encounter between mother and daughter that resulted in this child dead.


KING: Lou, is his guess as good as yours?

SMIT: Well, I think that perhaps this is a guess. But what I see in this crime is not an accidental murder. This is not a little doink on the head, and I think I killed my daughter, so I'm go going into this massive staging.

I see a brutal first-degree murder. I see a very violent death of JonBenet. I see someone fashioning a garrote and putting it around her neck. I see someone tightening that garrote to control her. I see someone taking that handle and pulling it very violently tight and killing her.

KING: Now, you have investigated a lot of murders, and I guess you have seen horrific murders.

SMIT: Yes.

KING: What kind of person does this?

SMIT: The person I see doing this is a very vicious, brutal criminal, perhaps a sadistic pedophile.

KING: Not a kidnapper-type? Kidnapper types are usually professional, they are out after a ransom, they are going to take -- they are going to keep the child alive, keep them well, going to want to talk to the child before you pay the money. Why would a kidnapper do this?

SMIT: Perhaps, the kidnapper is also a sadistic pedophile, perhaps that was his intent all along. I don't know what was in the mind of the killer. All I know is that the killer fantasied making this garrote in his mind. He fantasized putting this around JonBenet's neck.

He had to put a handle on this garrote. He had to put a noose on this garrote. He had to put it around JonBenet's neck, probably while she was still bound and had duct tape on her mouth, this is a fantasy in the mind of the killer. Why he did this, inside the house, I don't know.

Perhaps he don't have a place to take JonBenet. Perhaps he couldn't get her out of the house. I believe that the suitcase has another function in that window. I think perhaps he tried to stick her in that suitcase. I believe that there is...

KING: Really they are going...

SMIT: Fibers on the outside of JonBenet's clothing which may have come from the material inside that suitcase. That is what the lab report says.

KING: Certainly, it is hard to believe a mother would garrote a child. I mean that -- a stretch.

SMIT: Larry, that is not only a stretch, it has never been done before. There is no recorded...

KING: You never found a case where a mother did that.

SMIT: Never recorded history where a family member -- a mother or a father has garroted their child. Child strangulation is very rare. Usually when a person is involved in the death of their child, the child is hit on the head or pushed into something, to take -- to take a piece of rope, fashion a garrote, put it on the child's neck, she is definitely struggling at the time that this is put on the neck, there are fingernail marks in her neck, which suggest very strongly, that she was awake, when this happened.

KING: I need to take a break and we'll come right back. Lou Smit is our guest, don't go away.


KING: Back with Lou Smit, veteran detective.

All right, there's no report ever of a garrote and a mother doing it to a child. How many cases do we have of a kidnapper killing the kidnapee at the scene.

SMIT: I don't believe that is common either. I...

KING: So we have two weird occurrences here.

SMIT: Yes, we do. This case is probably one of a kind. I don't think you are going to run into a case like this again. But why, again, would a mother have to do all of these things if it is indeed Patsy that did this? There is also DNA under the little girl's fingernails, which would suggest very strongly foreign DNA.

KING: ...says because, of course it was moved and everything, it's inconclusive -- that DNA could have been there from months ago, right?

SMIT: Larry, perhaps they should throw it away if it don't mean anything. DNA is DNA. You have certain strong markers in DNA. It is foreign. It is male. It is in three different places. Don't take a good clue like that and just throw it away. Sure, you don't have a full sample, you don't have all of the 8 markers that you are supposed to have. But you've got enough markers where you can at least point a very strong finger at someone if you catch him.

And if you if this person don't have those markers, they have also used that same criteria to eliminate people, so why do they keep taking DNA from these people? And eliminating them without -- eliminating parents whose DNA also does not match, Larry?

KING: There was another time -- a question I want to show you with Steve Thomas -- by the way, this is when Steve was on alone not with the parents, but, watch.


KING: Why her? Why do you think it was her?

STEVE THOMAS, AUTHOR, "JONBENET: INSIDE THE RAMSEY MURDER INVESTIGATION": Well, I think the most significant evidence in this case was the pen the pad, the ransom note, and the handwriting, and when we finished an investigation after 18 months, and presented our case to the district attorney's office presumably for them to move it forward, one statistic that was cited in that presentation was that out of 73 people, whose handwriting was examined in this case, there was only one whose handwriting showed evidence to suggest authorship who was in the home that night who couldn't be eliminated as the author and that was Patsy Ramsey.


KING: OK, Lou and we have -- let's show a picture of the ransom note, and Lou, tell us why you disagree there. is the note.

SMIT: I disagree on the ransom note that Patsy is the only one that has not been eliminated. I'm sure that they took handwriting examples from many people. Some of the people they took handwriting examples from is just original writing which is just very minimal in content. Full samples weren't taken of all of those people that Steve is talking about.

Also, those full samples were only shown to one examiner. I'm sure that there were six examiners that inspected Patsy Ramsey's handwriting, sure those same 50, 60 people he is talking about -- those handwriting examples with these other examiners and see what other kind of results that you get.

KING: You have a lot more experience than Mr. Thomas? Steve is fairly new to criminal detective work at the time.

SMIT: Larry, I probably spent the last 32 years in this business. Working as street detective, I'm a working detective, I have worked many homicides, I do see this case through different eyes than Steve.

KING: Steve is sincere.

SMIT: Steve is very sincere.

KING: As are you.

SMIT: Yes.

KING: So, would you say then, if it ever came, that the Ramseys were involved, you would be shocked?

SMIT: If the Ramseys were involved, I would be very shocked.

KING: We will break and be back. We're only half way through with Lou Smit. Don't go away.


KING: Lou Smit's our guest, renowned Colorado detective, investigated more than 200 homicides over 33 years. Three months after the killing, he's called back out of retirement to help. Eighteen months later, he quit. Did you question the Ramseys?

SMIT: Yes. I questioned John Ramsey officially in June of 1998. And since I've left the investigation, I've talked with John and Patsy Ramsey on numerous occasions.

KING: Have there ever been moments when you felt: "Maybe I'm wrong"?

SMIT: Larry, I have talked to these people in depth. I do not feel at any time when I was talking to them that they did this. I have talked to a lot of people that have also talked with the Ramseys, including very professional people. They don't think they did this. Sure, you can visualize anything. Like I say, you never can close a door completely. But in this case, it's not likely at all that the Ramseys did this. I think there's a very high probability that they did not.

KING: If they had acted -- the police and the rest -- had acted on your concept, right away, assume intruder, do you think more evidence would have been gathered? Do you think possibly someone would have been caught?

SMIT: Larry, I think that if they would have put as much effort into going down the intruder path as they went down the Ramsey path, that we would have had a very good chance of catching an our guy. The Ramsey path has been worn out. After four years, there has been so much investigation into that path that I don't think there's anything else that they can find.

KING: Would you agree, Lou, with Henry Lee, who said this was a very damaged crime scene?

SMIT: Yes, there were a lot of mistakes made on this crime scene.

KING: And what about the fact that Mr. Ramsey moved the body?

SMIT: Mr. Ramsey did move the body, but I think that Henry Lee and other profilers will be willing to say that normally the person who does the killing does not even want to find the body. The fact that John Ramsey found the body, and he did move the body, shows me more that he did not do this.

Let me explain.

KING: Please.

SMIT: If John Ramsey was involved in the killing of JonBenet, and he went through all of this rigmarole to have the garrote and to put the wrist ligatures on, and to put the duct tape on her mouth and to put her in the basement, why is it that the first thing he did when he went downstairs is to take off the duct tape, which he had just staged to put on there? Why would he take off the wrist ligature, which he had just put on there to make it look like she was bound, and then why would he take her upstairs after they put her in this cellar to be found by the police? It doesn't make sense. Why would you unstage something that you just staged?

KING: Why do you think, then, as another thing that doesn't make sense -- why do you think the kidnaper didn't kidnap her?

SMIT: Again, I don't know the answer to that question. My gut feeling...

KING: What do you think?

SMIT: My gut feeling is that he was going to take her out of there. The ransom note is very explicit on what he's going to do. Whoever wrote that ransom note...

KING: Obviously wrote it before he killed her.

SMIT: Absolutely.

KING: No sense writing it after you kill her.

SMIT: Right, you wouldn't have the presence of mind to do this. Take a real close look at that ransom note. That ransom note is full of violence. It tells exactly what this person's going to do to JonBenet if everything doesn't go exactly right. Many references to death and dying. She'll be "beheaded." She'll "not see 1997." Her remains will "be denied you for her burial."

All violent references to the death of JonBenet. The person who killed JonBenet had it in his mind that if anything went wrong, he was going to kill her, and he did.

KING: What do you think went wrong?

SMIT: I believe that the killer had started out with a kidnapping in mind. Now, this again is my hypothesis. This is...

KING: You've got to put a scenario together, right?

SMIT: I believe that he was going to take her out of house. There is some evidence to suggest that he did perhaps try to put her in a suitcase. Perhaps he couldn't get the suitcase in the window and then get out of the window himself. Perhaps he got into the window and couldn't pull the suitcase out after him.

So, I don't know why he suddenly went to that basement room, fashioned a garrote from something that was right there in plain sight and brutally murdered JonBenet. Perhaps she knew him. Perhaps she screamed. Something triggered this man to kill JonBenet in a very brutal fashion.

KING: Had to be a man?

SMIT: I believe it is a man and I say that for a couple of reasons: No. 1, this person did sexually assault JonBenet. She was sexually assaulted that night. She did bleed, which means that it was done before she died. She was brutally struck on the head, a very, very violent blow -- very coordinated in order to do that with one shot. I believe that -- and the garrote was very deeply embedded in JonBenet's neck. There is male foreign DNA. I think it suggests strongly that it was a man, but I will not rule out the probability that it could be a man and a woman or even two men.

KING: We'll be right back with Lou Smit. Lots more, don't go away.


KING: We're back with Lou Smit, who has finally gone public with his thoughts. What about stun gun?

SMIT: I think that the stun gun is one of the best clues left behind by the killer, as far as a clue, not only into a possible way we can find him, because someone would probably have seen him with a stun gun, but it also may explain why JonBenet did not cry out when she was first abducted. There has been a lot of theories on the stun gun. I am convinced that a stun gun was used. I am not positive that it is an Air Taser stun gun.

KING: Meaning?

SMIT: Meaning that the Air Taser stun gun is as close as we've been able to find to the marks on JonBenet. Myself and Dr. Doberson, from Littleton, the coroner, have conducted experiments on pigs. We have replicated the marks on JonBenet by using it on pigs. Stun-gun marks are very distinctive, Larry. Stun gun marks have no cuts, they're not bleeding, there's no bruising, there's no swelling, there's no blistering. JonBenet's marks on her body -- two sets of marks, one on her back and one on her face -- show all of those characteristics. Those same characteristics are shown on other stun gun cases that we've been able to uncover.

KING: And a kidnaper uses a stun gun to prevent noise, right?

SMIT: To prevent noise? Well, I'm not saying to prevent noise, because this particular stun gun is rather loud, unless it's pressed against the skin. Then it's very quiet.

KING: Why does no one wake up?

SMIT: Very good question. First of all, when it's pressed against the skin, on the experiments we did with a pig, it makes very little noise. Second, the Ramseys are up on the third floor of this large house. Carpeted floors, even in the basement. We conducted experiments where we would scream and yell. You could barely hear it upstairs but you could hear it clearly outside.

KING: Footprints in the snow -- where did they go?

SMIT: Well, that's one of the reasons that I initially thought perhaps that the Ramseys would have done this. And I think that most of people in this country, when they first heard about this case, were told there were no footprints in the snow. And yet, the photographs themselves show in the area surrounding the entry and exit parts of this house there was no snow. There was some snow in the yard.

And yet, when the media first reported it, their whole thing was no footprints in the snow. I even remember telling my daughter, I said: "If there is no footprints in the snow, it has to be the Ramseys. There is no way a guy could get into the house unless they came down the chimney." That was just a misnomer. There is evidence, photographic evidence, that there was not snow around that house.

KING: Do you think she was targeted, that it was someone who knew these people, who knew that -- obviously knew they had money?

SMIT: Yes, I think that is motive for the intruder. The Ramseys were very highly visible prior to the murder. JonBenet was in various pageants. She was in the Boulder parade for Christmas, very highly publicized event. She had her own float, little Miss Colorado. JonBenet also was in various school functions where she performed.

John Ramsey was the head of this large Access Graphics company. He was known as "Billion-Dollar John." There was a large article in the local newspaper, signifying that they had just passed the $1 billion mark. There was a large Christmas party with all of the Access Graphics employees. John Ramsey was the featured speaker. He was highly visible.

KING: Could it have been someone with a fascination for the little girl who wrote the kidnap note as a rouse, never intending to kidnap?

SMIT: Certainly. Again, I don't know what was in exactly in the mind of the killer. It's hard to answer a why question in regards to that, because it's always subjective.

Evidence tells you a story. Photographs tell you a story. Why this person did that I don't know, but he definitely had targeted JonBenet. He definitely used this device to strangle her, and built that. He had to know how to do that. He definitely bound her hands, not tight, to make where she would be bound, but lose for the appearance of bondage. He put duct tape on her mouth.

I believe this man is into fantasy. I believe he targeted JonBenet, because that's part of his personality.

KING: We will take a break. When we come back, we'll ask -- people like this usually do it again. We'll be right back with Lou Smit. Don't go away.


KING: We are back with Lou Smit. Wouldn't someone that perverse not be able to shut it off? Do other things to other people? Wouldn't there be history that would tell us that?

SMIT: I would say that the person who did this to JonBenet with the violence and the brutality that he exhibited, that he has done this before, and I believe he will do it again. This type of a personality cannot stop.

KING: But he has waited four years, or do you think he might have done it again without doing some of things he did to JonBenet.

SMIT: We don't know where this person has gone, Larry. He could have gone anywhere in this country after he...

KING: Out of this...

SMIT: Out of this country. He could be in jail right now for other crimes that he has committed. We don't know that. But I will tell you this: if and when we catch him, and we dig into his background, we are going to find a lot more crimes he has done.

KING: Back to the ransom note. Weren't there some things in the ransom note that were taken right out of the movies?

SMIT: When I first seen it, and Alex Hunter first showed it to me -- I wasn't hired at the time...

KING: The D.A.

SMIT: The D.A. And I told him at that time that, Alex, I think this note was written before the murder. It was written in a very calm, precise manner. There was references to different types of ransom movies in that ransom note. The movie "Ransom" itself was playing in Boulder, and it just opened, just the end of the prior month, in November. There are direct quotes almost from, two or three, of the techno, ransom-type movies, from "Speed" and "Dirty Harry" and "Nick of Time."

KING: What does that tell you?

SMIT: It just tells me that this person who wrote the note fantasizes about these things. It's part of his fantasy.

KING: What about those who say that you have bonded with the Ramseys, that you have become so wrapped in this that you aren't going to not listen to whatever the other side presents?

SMIT: You know, Larry, I know that that's out there. And that just definitely is not true. Yes, I do show compassion to the Ramseys. Yes, I do talk to the Ramseys.

I found out as a detective, you do not build walls between you and the person that even you are looking at. I have never done that. I don't know where you have to interrogate even a suspect every time that you meet him, or meet them. I do believe, again, in showing compassion toward the family, but I have not bonded with the Ramseys. I rarely talk to them even now.

KING: Weren't there a story that you prayed with them?

SMIT: I did. That's a true story. It's part of my...

KING: You mean, that's good cop/bad cop theory? You are still a cop then?

SMIT: You're still a cop. I found that one of the best traits of a good detective is compassion, and I believe the whole thing is being able to communicate with the people that you are even suspecting. Don't turn away people without talking to them. Talk to them as long as you can, learn about them.

KING: Do you like them?

SMIT: That what I say. I do like them, but I don't love them, as far as that type of a thing where I bonded that closely.

KING: Can you learn a lot from talking to the son?

SMIT: You know, I have never really had a long, in-depth interview with the son.

KING: He might have seen temper, he might have known other people who may have been prowling around, right? I mean, wouldn't he be someone to talk to?

SMIT: I think that it's very necessary to talk to the son. Burke Ramsey was a 9-year-old boy at the time that this happened. He was interviewed exclusively shortly after the murder. He came in for I believe two or three days and talked to Dan Schuler, another detective. They got almost every bit of information out of him that they could during those interviews.

I believe that Burke Ramsey has told them the truth. I believe that he is not involved in this in any way.

KING: But, I mean, he would be helpful in talking about temperament of his parents.

SMIT: Yes, and I'm sure that that was gone to in every detail when Dan Schuler talked to him.

KING: Does the Boulder police deserve the rap they are getting?

SMIT: Personally, I have never badmouthed the Boulder police department, other than saying that I believe they are going in the wrong direction.

KING: We will take a break and come back with our remaining moments with Lou Smit. Don't go away.


KING: A couple other things with Lou Smit, the charges that the Ramseys didn't cooperate with the police, didn't go down, didn't volunteer. Some have said, if it was my kid, I would be at that door everyday, knocking the door in, saying, find the killer.

SMIT: I know, Larry, that that has been one of the highest criticisms of the Ramseys, but Larry, what happened in this case the Ramseys did talk to the police for the first two days. There was a police officer that was with them 24 hours a day for the next three days. The Ramseys should have been interviewed right away. That was a mistake. One of the biggest mistakes that was made. They should have been brought down to the police station right away. It was not their decision not to do that...

KING: ...why were they asked a week later?

SMIT: The Ramseys a week later were burying their daughter also at the time being advised by lawyers. John Ramsey had talked to Mike, one of their friends. Mike suggested the lawyers. From what I have been able to see, since I have been in this case, even from the outside, is the lawyers advised them not to do anything. The lawyers were trying to keep the Ramseys out of jail. The focus was on the Ramseys right from the beginning.

KING: But if they knew they didn't do it --- you don't have to listen to what your lawyers say.

SMIT: And that's exactly what happened. The Ramseys are the only suspects I have ever been in contact with that has been interrogated as a suspect for six days. John and Patsy Ramsey have been interrogated more than anybody I have ever seen.

KING: Where do we go from here?

SMIT: I believe that what should be done, even at this time, they have worn the Ramsey path out, I believe that perhaps they should get in fresh minds and fresh eyes, experienced people that can take a look at this case with an unbiased view point. That means getting rid of perhaps even the detectives that are working on it now. Getting rid of Lou Smit. Let somebody else in there that can objectively take a look at that case.

KING: Who would make that decision?

SMIT: The decision would be made by the people that are in charge of this case. All I know is that the case if it's left the way it is now, will sit on that shelf, the Ramseys will be held hostage under this umbrella of suspicion for as long as they live, unless somebody gets out there and looks for this guy. If the Ramseys didn't do that, how long will they be held hostage, Larry? Is that just part of our judicial system that we allow that to separate.

KING: What do you think will happen, Lou?

SMIT: I'm hoping that other people will take a very close look at this case. I'm hoping that John and Patsy Ramsey, if they can do this, try to help as much as they can in order to facilitate finding the killer.

KING: Like, more ransom money?

SMIT: No, maybe more ransom money, perhaps even going in and talking with the people who are investigating this. I think there has to be bridges built, instead of walls. I think the walls have been built all of this time and, there has to be a bridge built.

KING: What has it done to you?

SMIT: I'm just a retired detective that wants to retire. But I won't be able to do that as long as this case is open.

KING: So, it's obviously going to obsess you.

SMIT: I will work on this case as long as I'm able to do it. There is a very dangerous killer out there in my mind. I see this person. He will do this again.

KING: Thank you, Lou.

SMIT: Thank you.

KING: Former Boulder Police Detective Steve Thomas, who used to be an investigator on the Ramsey case has his own theory about the killing of JonBenet. It points to Patsy being responsible, following the interview you just seen, we asked Thomas to comment on Smit's theories.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) THOMAS: There is nothing new here. People involved in the investigation have known of Lou Smit's assertions and positions for several years now, and it's old information that has been investigated by the authorities in Boulder. I like Lou Smit personally, but this is the same debate we were having since 1997.


KING: Thomas also responded had to Smit's assertion that the Boulder Police Department made John and Patsy the primary focus of their investigation, giving scant attention to other potential suspects.


THOMAS: Well, I have to respectfully disagree. There were scores of leads, many, many, leads and dozens of suspects who were indeed investigated during the course of this inquiry by the Boulder Police Department.


KING: A final editorial note: we asked officials from the Boulder Police Department to comment on Lou Smit's theories, and they referred us to a statement issued by Chief Mark Beckner on April 30. He says, "The department believes it would be improper it to debate the merits of the Ramsey case evidence in the public arena."

The statement also says that Lou Smit has not been involved in the official investigation of JonBenet's killing for the past two and a half years. And adds -- quoting here, "The case and development of evidence has changed significantly over that period of time."

According to the Boulder police, they formerly interviewed more than 600 people in this case. Investigated about 140 potential suspects. Logged about 1400 items of evidence. And built a file approximately 40,000 pages long.

Thanks for watching. Good night.



4:30pm ET, 4/16

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