Boulder Skies at Dusk

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Time takes everything but the Truth ~ True Detective

Part 12. Steve Thomas Deposition

A. Take it to a prosecutor?
Q. Did you take your information, what you knew in all those hundred of pages, that hopefully you'll be able to find now that you'll go look for them in response to that subpoena, and take that to an experienced prosecutor and say, give me your opinion on whether this justifies a prosecution in terms of whether this is sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? Did you ever do that? That's my question.
A. No, I have friends that are prosecutors but I never went and did a case presentation of any sort to try to elicit their support in moving forward with the prosecution.
Q. All right. Or to give you an opinion on what the evidence pro and con would say to an experienced prosecutor?
A. I don't know what you're referring to, Mr. Wood.
Q. You would have to give them your evidence and you would have to give them the intruder evidence and you would have to say, please, weigh this and tell me because I don't like Alex Hunter and I don't believe that Alex Hunter is doing the right thing in not filing charges or getting an indictment and tell me if you think as an experienced prosecutor the case is here to bring charges; did you ever do that?
A. No, I never had some sort of case presentation like that, no.
Q. Why did you not, when you had old Barry Scheck, a nice guy, Henry Lee, all these VIPs there, why did you not include the intruder evidence in the presentation to objectively give those individuals both sides of the case?
A. Because the Boulder Police Department's position was, as I understood it and understand it, the VIP presentation was to show that there was sufficient probable cause to arrest Patsy Ramsey and for the DA's office to move it forward through the use of a grand jury with that end in mind.
Q. Of an indictment which is a finding by a grand jury of probable cause to charge or arrest, right?
A. Yes.
Q. You've been in the business long enough to know that the grand jury can, as they say, indict a ham sandwich, right? It doesn't take much evidence to indict or arrest, does it, sir?
A. My understanding of probable cause is facts and evidence and circumstances that are within the knowledge of a police officer that would lead a reasonable person to conclude that, A, a crime was committed and B, that a particular individual was involved. Sometimes, depending on the case, that can sometimes be a great threshold.
Q. And sometimes it can be a very small threshold, true?
A. A lesser threshold.
Q. Were you ever told by anyone that the reason the Ramsey lawyers were allowed to see the garrote and to see the firsthand original of the ransom note is because both items were getting ready to be tested in a fashion that would be destructive and that from a strategical standpoint somewhere down the road it might be advantageous for the defense lawyers not to be able to claim foul by saying that they didn't have a chance to observe these pieces of evidence before they were destroyed? Did you ever hear that explanation given as to why the Ramsey lawyers were allowed to look at those two items?
A. No. But then again it was difficult to get much by way of explanation as to why Mr. Hofstrom was making a number of deals with the Ramsey attorneys.
Q. Doesn't that make good sense though, just listening to it?
A. Well, I am familiar as a police officer that in Colorado if destructive testing is employed, the defense has a right to be present.
Q. You indicated at page 297 of your book consistent with the Boulder police, I will tell you a press release in June of '98 that you all had collected 1,058 items of evidence. Does that sound about right?
A. You know, this was a Beckner --
Q. It's at page 297 in your book.
A. I know.
Q. You adopted it as true, didn't you?
A. If I can answer the question.
Q. Yeah, I'm sorry. I'm just trying to move along.
A. Beckner put together this as, I think you're right, as some sort of a press release, but I don't disagree with these numbers.
Q. How many of those 1,058 pieces of evidence were shared with the Ramseys or the Ramsey lawyers?
A. I don't know.
Q. You consulted 500 -- you interviewed 590 people. How many of those interviews were given to the Ramseys or the Ramseys' lawyers?
A. I don't know.
Q. Consulted 64 outside experts. How many of those experts' reports were given to the Ramseys' lawyers or the Ramseys --
A. Mr. Wood, you would know much better than I how much --
Q. I've got to tell you, Mr. Thomas, I do know and I've got about 14 pages and I could be off by one or two and yet everybody keeps describing this incredible amount of evidence given to the Ramseys and their lawyers. I'm just trying to go figure out where it is because that's not what I've got and that's not what their lawyer has got. I mean, I understand they got to see the garrote and I understand they got to see the first generation ransom note and I didn't get that. But I got the few pages, incomplete pages of police reports that were bargained off with respect to the April '97 interview, right?
A. (Deponent nods head.)
Q. And I don't have any more reports. I don't know of any others that were given to John and Patsy Ramsey according to their lawyers and I'm just trying to figure out what you were talking about when you say you were describing on page 56 the incredible amount of evidence given to the Ramseys and 9 their lawyers?
A. Courtesy of Pete Hofstrom and I believe others in the DA's office who did this verbally so much was shared by Pete Hofstrom's own admission. If you're just talking about hard copy documents, I don't know what they do or you do or don't have.
Q. Take a look at page 58 for me. I don't think I have asked you this. "Some friends" -- the very bottom of 58 on to 59. "Some friends of Patsy's were concerned about how JonBenet was being groomed for pageants with the heavy makeup, the elaborate costumes and recent addition of platinum-dyed hair. It was creating a 'mega-JonBenet thing,' and some friends had planned to have a talk about it with Patsy after Christmas." Who were the friends that were concerned about how JonBenet was being groomed, identify those for me?
A. On the record this was per Barb Fernie and I think it included her, Priscilla White and a third party.
Q. Who was the third party?
A. I don't know.
Q. Were they the same people that had planned to have a talk about it with Patsy after Christmas?
A. That was my understanding and, again, that's on the record with Barb Fernie.
Q. And quote, end quote, mega-JonBenet thing, whose phrase was that?
A. Barb Fernie.
Q. On page 180 of your book you describe some kind of chilling experiences that you had about a cat being killed, mutilated and thrown on to your lawn and garden hose sliced and your wife's flower garden shredded, sergeant Whitson having shots fired into his bedroom, Linda Arndt having blood on her front door. My question is you're not in any way implying or intending to imply that John or Patsy Ramsey had the slightest to do with any of those events, are you?
A. No, not now nor did I do it in the book.
Q. I just wanted to make sure. I didn't think you were certainly. Who put the screen saver on at the Boulder Police Department that said, quote, The Ramseys are the killers?
A. I don't know who applied that to the computer screen.
Q. Did you think that was professional?
A. Oh, sometimes police humor can be less than professional behind closed doors.
Q. Well, did you suggest it might be better to take that off since you were in the process of investigation, there were a number of suspects beyond the Ramseys?
A. I did not make that suggestion.
Q. How long did it stay on the computer?
A. I don't know. I recall seeing it a few times over the course of a week or two.
Q. Was it up in 1997?
A. That's when we were over at the DA's war room.
Q. When was that, when was the war room?
A. Summer of 1997.
Q. So that's when it was up, summer of '97, right?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you know who was the policeman or detective who had a picture of Susan Smith tacked to the wall in the war room?
A. I don't know who tacked that up or who claimed ownership of that.
Q. You have been accused of trying to go out and shop experts to support the conclusion that you had already come up with in May of 1997 that Patsy was the killer. Can you see why someone would make that suggestion, Mr. Thomas --
MR. DIAMOND: May I have that read back, please.
MR. WOOD: I can read it.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) You know you have, I think -- maybe I shouldn't make that assumption. Are you aware that there has been accusations against you that you had early on made up your mind before the investigation was complete and that you went out and shopped experts to try to find somebody on handwriting, somebody on sexual, chronic sexual abuse, to try to support the 3 conclusion that you had already drawn? Are you aware of accusations made against you in that light?
A. I know that those accusations were made against the police team and they flew back and forth with the DA's team.
Q. From the timing standpoint, it appears that one could certainly make that as a plausible argument because you're out here, a lead detective, within the first few months having decided that Patsy is the killer. A lot of the experts have not been hired at that point, true?
A. Again, those are your words. I think I have characterized it as trying to follow what I have called an abundance of evidence leading in a particular direction.
Q. But at some point you concluded, and the record will speak very clearly about what you said, you say you followed that evidence. But early in 1997, within the first few months, you had drawn your conclusion, right?
A. That it appeared based on the evidence that she was not only a good suspect, but appeared to be the offender.
Q. And there were a number of experts that at that point had not even been hired to review evidence; isn't that true?
A. Yes.
Q. There was a lot of evidence that has never even been collected or even requested, true?
A. Such as the clothing?
Q. The clothes, that's a key piece of evidence, isn't it, sir?
A. Correct. As I have said, that was a mistake.
Q. Yeah, and it was one of many mistakes, wasn't it?
A. I'm not here today defending the police department.
Q. I'm not asking you to defend the police department.
A. Yeah, there were many mistakes.
Q. Was Jeff Shapiro your confidential informant on any areas other than information from Alex Hunter's office?
A. He was -- this kid was all over the board and he --
Q. I meant for you, though, please.
A. I'm sorry?
Q. I'm just asking, you described him as my confidential informant and I just want to see any areas other than to give you information about Hunter in his office that he was a confidential informant on for you?
A. Were other detectives using him?
Q. No. Were you using him for anything other than to find out about what was going on with Alex Hunter?
A. Yeah. As I started to say this kid was all over the board and would bring into the police department everything from A to Z. And most of it was nothing but occasionally and I can't think of anything right now, he may bring something in of interest. But in particular, yes, it was -- I was most interested in him for the information he was providing about Hunter and the DA's office.
Q. At page 232 of your book -- I apologize, I apparently have gotten the wrong cite in my record. Oh, 236, I'm sorry, 236 where you say first paragraph under the line 6 right here "With our Dream Team, we tallied the points supporting probable cause and found more than 50 items."
A. Yes, I'm with you.
Q. When was that tally made? Date that for me.
A. Mr. Wood, I can't date it specifically but they assisted us in our preparation for the VIP presentation and just a quick reading of this was maybe spring or late spring of '98. But no, it was before that because later in the paragraph it talks about the Title-3, which was way back before Christmas '97. So this was, I would guess, late '97, early to spring of '98.
Q. Can I -- I don't have the time today, at least, to ask you to go through and list those 50 items. But can I be reasonably confident that if I set about myself in your book that I could find reference to those 50 items in this book, that you have included those somewhere in here?
A. No, I can't commit to that because of what was, I remember there was an easel that was used in which everybody in the room put out evidence, information, that sort of thing that went on to this 50-plus point probable cause board.
Q. So it may have been all of your points, you may have --
A. It certainly wasn't.
Q. You may not agree with all of them?
A. Right.
Q. The 245, 246, you talk about your headlights sweeping across JonBenet's grave and you see the marble headstone "JonBenet Patricia Ramsey, August 6th, 1990-December 25, 1996. It was a clue from nowhere." And as I understand it, the clue was that the dates on the grave was a statement by the parents that JonBenet had died before midnight, right?
A. This is gravesite surveillance number two that we're talking about, right?
Q. I'm talking about -- I'm talking about right here on page 245 and then at the top of 246 "It was a clue from nowhere." "For some reason the parents were stating that JonBenet had died before midnight"?
A. Right.
MR. DIAMOND: Take as much time as you need to put that in context.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) If the parents had placed the date of December 26, 1996 on the tombstone of their daughter, would you have concluded that it was a clue from nowhere because for some reason the parents were stating that JonBenet had died after midnight?
A. It was a clue I think in either event given the information immediately subsequent to, it was a clue from nowhere, I think -- no, it doesn't. But given the questionable time of death and how we were trying to tie that at times to the digestion of this pineapple certainly made this a clue.
Q. But it would have been a clue of the 26th if they had chosen the 26th, right, if they were saying it was a clue to you as a detective in a homicide case that they're stating she died after midnight because they put December 26th, that's the way you would have interpreted it, right?
A. I don't know because knowing what I knew then is different than what I know, but standing in my shoes in that cemetery on this particular night this was something unknown to us at the time because the Ramseys, to my knowledge, had never indicated a date of death and this thus became a clue from nowhere.
Q. Have you ever seen a tombstone where it has alternative dates of death, sir?
A. Never.
Q. Don't you think John and Patsy Ramsey had to make a choice, and they chose December 25th, that potentially had nothing to do with their trying to make a statement about when she died; did you ever consider that?
A. Actually, I heard them make just such a statement -- or make such a statement saying -- he was trying to make a statement putting down December 25.
Q. To remind people of what happened in effect at Christmas to his child?
A. That's my understanding.
Q. But not to state that she died before midnight. As I understand it, the only way under your clue analysis as a homicide detective that the Ramseys could have avoided being accused one way or the other would have been had they put on there December 25 or December 26, 1996; is my logic right?
A. No, it's not right. As I just explained knowing what I knew then standing there looking at it, it appeared to me that here was a clue that she died on December 25.
MR. WOOD: Why don't we take a break. I think I'm down to about 15 minutes, and I would like to kind of look and see where I am and what we might do to wrap this thing up.
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: The time is 5:45. We're going off the record. (Recess taken from 5:45 p.m. to 5:55 p.m.)
MR. WOOD: I will represent if you give me 25 minutes, I will be done in terms of my discovery deposition of Mr. Thomas in the Wolf versus Ramsey case. I can't speak to Darnay, obviously, because there was the issue, as you recall, about the testimonial deposition that is still in the process, indicated by Judge Carnes to follow, but I'm done. In other words, I'm not going to go bang on Carnes and say, I need 15, 20, 30 more minutes. (Discussion off the record between deponent and Mr. Diamond.)
MR. WOOD: You wouldn't be coming back on my deposition. You would be coming back on Mr. Hoffman's.
MR. DIAMOND: My understanding of the conference, and I think the record transcript will bear this out, is that the hour that Mr. Hoffman asked for was his direct testimony for use at trial.
MR. WOOD: No, I disagree with you. I think Judge Carnes was clear I would have a discovery deposition to be able to cross-examine on a testimonial deposition if Mr. Hoffman chooses to present him by deposition at a trial or live at trial. Pretty clear. But be that as it may whether I'm right or wrong --
MR. DIAMOND: I'm just speaking to whether Mr. Hoffman is now complete. And my view --
MR. WOOD: I don't know whether he intends to take a testimonial deposition or not, but there is nothing that you and I can agree to that would prohibit him from doing so, nor do I think that I can sit here and agree that I wouldn't come back and take a testimonial deposition. I'm trying to finish the discovery deposition. I'm asking for, in effect, 15, 10 minutes or 18 minutes more than what I think I'm entitled to.
MR. DIAMOND: Are you planning on taking a testimonial deposition?
MR. WOOD: I have no way to say that to you right now. I don't think Darnay could say that to you right now. We're so far away from even knowing whether we'll ever have a testimony. This case could come up on summary judgment, for gosh sakes, that could make us a year or two away from even deciding that point, Chuck; isn't that fair?
MR. RAWLS: That's fair.
MR. DIAMOND: Let me consult for a moment. (Discussion off the record between Mr. Diamond and the deponent.) MR. DIAMOND: Start. MR. WOOD: Let's go back on. Thank you. I'll get it right here on the money. I'll mark it. You've got 25 minutes of tape left?
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: I have 35 minutes of tape left.
MR. DIAMOND: You get that on the record?
MR. WOOD: We know we've used it up. Nobody can try to sneak more than that extra ten in.
MR. DIAMOND: Just so the record is clear, we're agreeing to your proposal.
MR. WOOD: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. If the opportunity should ever present itself, I would certainly consider like accommodation and consider more if necessary.
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: The time is 5:58. We're back on the video depo.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Was the garrote handle ever tested for fingerprints?
A. I believe so, yes.
Q. Do you know what the findings were?
A. I believe that Detective Trujillo told us that it required the unwrapping of the ligature cord and the -- and it was negative for any latent prints.
Q. Was there any partial palm print found on the ransom note?
A. Mr. Wood, I talk about in the book the prints that were found on the tablet and the note, but beyond that, I don't have any real evidence beyond that. Early there was believed to have been a partial or bladed palm which I believed turned out to be nothing.
Q. Do you know whether there was any effort to take that what was believed to be a partial palm and compare it to the palm print found on the wine cellar door?
A. What I'm saying is I don't know that what was initially believed to be a partial print was even a print.
Q. It's not uncommon to handle a piece of paper and not leave fingerprints, is it, sir?
A. I don't know that.
Q. You don't want me to go there. The -- as I understand it, there was a beaver hair, what was identified as a beaver hair, found on the duct tape?
A. FBI lab identified a hair or fiber from the adhesive side of the duct tape as a beaver hair.
Q. Were you aware that Mr. Ainsworth, Detective Ainsworth, went through the Ramseys' closets in June of 1997 and taped all the closets for hairs and that no beaver hair was found?
A. Yes, but that's not surprising.
Q. Were there also brown and black animal hairs found on JonBenet Ramsey's hand that had never been sourced?
A. Brown and black animal hairs on her hand that had never been sourced? This is the first I've heard of that.
Q. How about brown cotton fibers that were found on the duct tape, the cord and her body that were consistent but no source found? Is that accurate?
A. That were consistent with what?
Q. They were consistent with each other, those fibers, the brown cotton fibers that were consistent with fibers found on duct tape, cords and her body?
A. That's beyond the scope of what I know and just to educate you, if you allow me.
Q. Sure.
A. Anything hair and fiber related, Trujillo knows.
Q. I think we've already talked about it was a large number of fibers that were never sourced, right, while you were there?
A. In the house, yes.
Q. There was a pubic hair, or what was believed to be a pubic hair, that may have turned out to be an ancillary hair, but that hair has never been sourced, as you know it?
A. As far as I know.
Q. The pineapple, we know the autopsy statement about the findings. Were there any tests performed beyond the autopsy on those contents?
A. Yes.
Q. Tell me about that.
A. What I know about that is Detective Weinheimer received that assignment during the course of the investigation, employed the help of I think a biological -- or a botanist or somebody of some expertise at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The name Dr. Bach jumps out at me, as well as others, and he completed a series of reports concerning the pineapple and I think to save time one of those conclusions I think I put in the book.
Q. About the rinds being identical?
A. That it was a fresh pineapple consistent -- fresh pineapple with a rind.
Q. Rind being consistent -- oh, with a rind but consistent with pineapple found in the house or in the bowl?
A. Yeah, and let me clarify that, pineapple consistent down to the rind with pineapple found in the bowl in the kitchen.
Q. Consistent down to the rind. It seems to me pineapple with rind is pineapple with rind. Was there something unique about this particular rind?
A. I think they were able to determine -- well, in fact, I know that fellow Officer Weinheimer disclosed to us that they were able to characterize it as a fresh pineapple rather than a canned pineapple.
Q. Okay.
A. I think the investigation lent itself as far as, and Detective Weinheimer is a capable investigator, as far as contacting Dole Pineapple in Hawaii, et ceter
Q. Do you know whether there were any other reports on the pineapple, other than the autopsy reports and Dr. Bach's reports?
A. Yeah, there was a series of reports on Weinheimer's investigation.
Q. Do you know anybody else by name that was involved in that, other than the Dr. Bach? I mean, Dole didn't give you any report, did they?
A. No, not that I'm aware of. Sorry, the names escape me but there are other reports with other planters, I guess, pineapple, for lack of a better term, experts.
Q. Any of those reports, anybody come up with something that was inconclusive in terms of findings?
A. I'm sorry, I don't recall the content of the reports.
Q. At Quantico, was there one FBI agent that said at the end of discussion that the Boulder police should keep an open mind on the case because it could be a sex offender?
A. Yes.
Q. Who was that agent?
A. I believe that was Ken Lanning.
Q. Did you all ever have a dump placed on the Ramsey phone?
A. Like a trap and trace or a wire tap?
Q. An LUD or an Amadump, where you actually go in and get the outgoing calls and the incoming calls?
A. What that sounds, in the jargon I'm familiar with, Mr. Wood, is in Colorado we would call that like a trap and trace. But I think it's different because you have to be up on the trap and trace to record incoming/outgoing, also known as a pen register. But a dump, whereas anything prior -- I'm not explaining this well.
Q. Let me see if I can help. Was there a mechanism in Boulder that would allow you to go to the phone company and say I want you to go back and tell me today on the 26th of December all outgoing and ingoing calls to the Ramsey number for, say, the last two or three days?
A. No.
Q. You had to do it forward, not backward?
A. Right, I'm not familiar with any -- the phone company here having any capability to do that.
Q. Do you know for a fact that they could not?
A. With the exception, and I don't know how detailed you want to get into this, but certainly toll calls, toll calls you can certainly go back and retrieve.
Q. Long-distance toll calls? 1
A. Yeah.
Q. Did you all do that with the Ramsey records?
A. I think so.
Q. There has been a lot of debate about whether or not John Ramsey or Patsy Ramsey or some of the Ramsey family before the murder of JonBenet owned the book Mind Hunter by John Douglas. Have you ever seen a photograph of that from a crime scene photo in their house?
A. No, but Tom Wickman swears up and down it was in the parents' bedroom.
Q. Does anyone else, besides Tom Wickman, swear that up and down?
A. No, but Tom Wickman has told that to several people.
Q. Where in the bedroom?
A. I was always under the impression as we recollect it now on one of the two night stands.
Q. By John's bed or by Patsy's?
A. I'm sorry, it's one or the other, I thought. Maybe I -- no, maybe I referenced it in the book, maybe I didn't. 2 All I can tell you right now is on one of the night stands.
Q. Did you keep a -- but Wickman is the only person that says that, right?
A. As far as crime scene people that were in the house.
Q. Or anybody.
A. Yeah, Wickman is the source of Mind Hunter by Douglas.
Q. Anyone else, besides Wickman, is all I'm trying to find out?
A. Not that I'm aware of.
Q. Did you keep a Frank Coffman article called -- from the column Clues Abound folded up in your badge wallet at any point in time?
A. If we're talking about Frank Coffman -- no, I don't I recall the article if we're talking about the same article, which I had cut out, which I had at my desk at the Boulder Police Department.
Q. Did you meet with Frank Coffman and Jeff Shapiro one day and reach into your badge wallet and unfold the article and show it to Frank and Jeff and say basically, guys, you're right about where I'm coming from, words to that effect?
A. No. Again, I was very careful with Shapiro and didn't know Coffman, but I do acknowledge of being in possession of that article. If I had it in my wallet, I don't know.
Q. You have told me about what you have described and we'll leave it to your description on the record, your feelings about Alex Hunter. You're aware of, I think, Alex Hunter's feelings of you and descriptions of you as somebody out for blood money, a rogue detective, we'll leave it at that, and maybe others. You're aware of those things being said publicly by Mr. Hunter about you?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When did the -- I mean, there is a level of animosity between the two of you and that's probably politely stated; wouldn't you agree?
A. Yes, sir.
Q. When did that start? Did it exist before the Ramsey case?
A. I didn't know Hunter before the Ramsey case.
Q. When in the scale of things do you think you can say to yourself that you formulated opinions that you hold about Alex Hunter? And you don't have to answer for him I'll ask him at the appropriate time. I want to know when you felt like you were sitting there thinking I can't believe a word this man speaks?
A. Mr. Wood, that was a -- certainly there was a culture inside the police department that existed years or a couple of decades before I even arrived there in which the DA's office and the police department had a terrible working relationship. But not knowing Mr. Hunter until our involvement on this case together, that was very incremental in fashion or incremental in stages, but by the time I left the police department, it was certainly at its height. I was very dismayed and disappointed and had no love for Hunter after some of these revelations by Shapiro.
Q. You state in your book there were 27 reasons for a grand jury and it's at page 309. But my question is, were those 27 reasons for a grand jury correlate to the 27 remaining tasks that were referred to in that June '98 press release by the Boulder Police Department?
A. Let me look at 309 real quickly. 308, 309?
Q. It's on 309 and I've got a copy of that press release where he says there were 27 tasks remaining. I'm just wondering if that's the correlation.
A. Oh, if I understand you correctly, did these 27 reasons correspond with the 27 tasks left on the to-do list?
Q. Yes.
A. No.
Q. You do acknowledge having said that the idea of Patsy Ramsey going downstairs and putting a garrote around JonBenet's neck is a hard leap to make, your words on --
A. Yes, a lot of people, as I said, myself included, but maybe in a naive way but after learning what the FBI taught us about child homicide, as I said, they've seen children destroyed and killed in the most grotesque and worst manners imaginable.
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: Careful, your mike is --
MR. WOOD: I'm making noises.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Burden of Proof 4/17/2000, Greta Van Sustren said to Alex Hunter, In the Ramsey book Patsy and John Ramsey write that John has been excluded from being the author of the note and that Patsy on a one to five scale, five meaning excluded, hit 4.5. Do you endorse those two findings?
A. Do you ever remember hearing -- I had mentioned this to you earlier and I found the transcript. Do you recall hearing that Alex Hunter had basically agreed with the 4.5 finding?
A. As I said earlier, no, I didn't see that or read that transcript.
Q. There has been some reference to an FBI statistic that 50 percent of child homicides are committed by family members. Do you recall that statistic?
A. I don't.
Q. Or it's 54 percent, I think?
A. I think the statistics that we had at Quantico at that big FBI meeting, they gave us some statistics. I may have them in the book, but you would have to lead me to them.
Q. Who is the pediatric expert that thought that there may have been some corporal punishment inflicted on JonBenet for repeated bed wetting?
A. Dr. Krugman.
Q. Steve Thomas: What was interesting is that we found no history or pathology or evidence to indicate that John Ramsey had any untoward relationship or discipline with his children. Is that true?
A. I've never thought that.
Q. I found Patsy Ramsey to be a complex person on many levels but there had been no reported history of any abuse in the house; is that true?
A. What are you reading from, Mr. Wood?
Q. A CNN chat transcript, CNN April 14th, 2000, Author Steve Thomas tells his story.
A. Can you reread for me the Patsy Ramsey section?
Q. Be glad to. I found Patsy Ramsey to be a complex person on many levels but there had been no reported history of any abuse in the house. Is that true?
A. Yeah, we had no reported incidents of any abuse in the house.
Q. 331, the second full paragraph, it starts with "Fleet and Priscilla White were being hauled over the coals because they wanted to see their previous statements, pointing out that they were being denied the same privilege given to the Ramseys"?
A. Yes.
Q. "Chief Mark Beckman declared to the Whites, who had supported another candidate for his new job, were 'morally empty' and again suggested putting Fleet White in jail." When did that occur?
A. That was late spring, I believe, of '98, certainly in 1998. But I recall this.
Q. Do you recall Mark Beckner ever asking you if you thought that Fleet White could possibly be the murderer?
A. Mr. Wood, I think maybe even in this same passage.
Q. I think that's where it is, here it is, I'm sorry. "'For what?' I had asked Beckner incredulously. Beckner later asked me if Fleet could possibly be the murderer." Have I read that correctly?
A. Yes.
Q. That would have been a comment made in 1998 by Chief Beckner?
A. That's correct.
Q. You talk about in your book that JonBenet was an incredible little kid, right?
A. Are we on the last page?
Q. I think it's -- it's page 353 of your hardback?
A. Right.
Q. You talk about something that sounds a little bit like something I read in Perfect Murder, Perfect Town about the sun and the rhythm of the earth beneath her feet. "She was an incredible little girl who loved to be tickled. Ms. America was the least she could have been." Am I reading that correctly?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you give her parents any credit for that in terms of bringing her up for those six years?
A. Certainly.
Q. Did you know a Dr. Monteleone, M-o-n-t-e-l-e-o-n-e?
A. As a matter of fact, I think that's the name I could not recall that was the pediatric expert from St. Louis.
Q. Did he ever indicate that he did not believe that parents would engage in the type of staging that was being argued existed in the Ramsey case in the absence of pathology?
A. Well, that certainly I think would contradict what he put in a report on letterhead to the Boulder Police Department.
Q. So you recall that report. Was that one of the documents you copied?
A. I don't know --
Q. Or received?
A. -- if that is, but I do recall that report and in that report I think the outstanding mention was that he was of the opinion that she had sustained prior vaginal trauma prior to December 26 or 25.
Q. There was a pocket knife found on the basement counter?
A. Which I learned later, right.
Q. And was that ever sourced, to your knowledge?
A. No. My recollection of that is terribly vague because I don't know when we talked about those thousand-plus pieces of evidence collected, those were potential pieces of evidence, I think that the pocket knife may have been collected, but I don't know. There was the suggestion that I overheard that that belonged to Burke.
Q. Was that ever sourced to Burke?
A. Not prior to me leaving.
Q. In the Ann Bardach article, I'm 2 sorry, now I can't find it. Here we go. It came out of the October '97 Vanity Fair. There is a reference to the number 74 in terms of individuals who had had their handwriting analyzed. Again I apologize, I'll lean over a minute. Right here, Out of the 74 names submitted for testing Patsy's handwriting was the only one that set off alarm bells, end quote. Do you see that?
A. I do.
Q. Was that your statement to her?
A. That may have been. I know that she talked to other police officers.
Q. Does that mean were those the 74 that maybe now is referenced 73?
A. Possibly.
Q. So that the 73 handwriting analyses that you refer to in your book were by virtue of the date of this completed sometime by September of 1997?
A. Are those one and the same?
Q. Yeah.
A. They may be.
Q. Do you believe there have been 74 handwriting analyses done before you have made that statement to Ann Bardach?
A. Well, I'm not acknowledging that it was me necessarily, but if that was me that would -- certainly I would have said it holding that belief.
Q. The most sensitive and critical police and detective reports as well as reproductions of both the ransom note and the practice note found the same day had been given to the Ramseys, the Ramseys' best defense attorneys are right and sat in Hunter's office, he mumbled bitterly. Is that something you believe you said?
A. I don't know if that was Arndt or me or who that was. I don't disagree with the sentiment.
Q. One day in early July I was contacted by a source with firsthand knowledge of the investigation. I arranged to meet with him in a parking lot outside Boulder Edgy, and fearfully he said he was speaking to me only as a last resort. He said that a flow of privileged confidential information critical to a case against the Ramseys had been leaked from the DA's office to the Ramseys' lawyers with the efficiency of a seed. Is that you?
A. It could be.
Q. If the Ramseys had been some poor Mexican couple, they would have been in their face for a week, got a confession out of them and filed first degree murder charges against them within days, quote unquote. Does that sound like something you may have told her?
A. I don't know if I made that statement. A statement that sounds similar to what I have said in the past is had this been an indigent or minority couple I think we would have handled this case entirely different.
Q. She said -- she prefaced that by saying, It's cold outside and I suggest that we find a late night coffee shop in the car. I can see the depth of this man's agitation. Quote, I have never seen politics and preferential treatment play such a major role in a case. He says that had the Ramseys 5 been some poor Mexican couple. That's you, isn't it?
A. Typically -- I met her in the summer of '97 and typically it's not cold outside in the summer in Colorado.
Q. It had to be with somebody because that's when she was here?
A. Right, it's the summertime. It could be.
Q. I'm down to two minutes. And if I can take a one-minute break to make sure that Mr. Rawls wants me to spend my last two minutes covering any last one or two questions, I would appreciate it.
MR. WOOD: I also need to go to the restroom. I held back on the --
MR. DIAMOND: I need to be downstairs at 6:30.
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: The time is 6:22. We're off the record. (Recess taken from 6:22 p.m. to 6:23 p.m.)
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: The time is 6:23. We're going on the record.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Mr. Thomas, in terms of the search of the Ramseys' hard drive and their computer, was anything found that was viewed as suspicious or incriminating in August?
A. There were, I think reams of documents that came off that recovered hard drive, but I think as far as, I don't know if the search included pornography, I think it did, nothing like that, but there was other documents that were later used for Foster. But I --
Q. For handwriting analysis, I'm talking about beyond use for analysis of handwriting, anything --
A. You mean suspicious?
Q. Or incriminating?
A. I would have to flip back through it.
Q. Anything that jumps out at you as we sit here today?
A. No.
Q. And certainly there is never any finding despite a fairly extensive search that in any way linked the Ramseys to any type of 7 pornography; am I right about that?
A. Not that I'm aware of.
Q. There is a reference to I would lose it with my two minutes ticking. Let me ask you, while I'm doing this to look at page 408, and that's probably going to be the paperback. I'll let you take a look at my copy of that. If I can point you to it, Mr. Thomas, right here, I've got it written down page 408, It should be a lesson to communities across America --
MR. DIAMOND: Can you give us just a second?
MR. WOOD: Yeah.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) "It should be a lesson to communities across America not to allow any politician to become an emperor and merely interpret the law as he or she sees fit." Have I read that correctly?
A. Yes.
Q. Would you also agree that communities across America should not allow any police officer to become an emperor and merely interpret the law as he or she sees fit?
MR. DIAMOND: Objection. Argumentative. You may answer.
A. In the context, again, please, Mr. Wood.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) Yes, just as a statement of principle that communities across America should not allow any police officer to become an emperor and merely interpret the law as he or she sees fit, it would apply to politicians and police officers, wouldn't it?
A. Non committal on that.
Q. You don't have a position on the difference between a politician and police officer in terms of interpreting the law?
A. I'll give it some thought.
Q. Okay. Last question, page 181, the last two questions and then I'm done. Are you with me?
A. 181.
Q. 181, you make reference to three FBI agents, intruder theory?
A. Help me. Where on the page?
Q. I'm looking myself. Oh, I'm sorry, I'm looking at the paperback. 161, I apologize. Do you see where it starts "Three FBI agents"?
A. Yes.
Q. What I want to know is if you can date that for me? "'The case is not being handled well,' said the CASKU agents."
A. Shortly before I believe the Ramseys' April 30, 1997 interview.
Q. Can you identify the three agents for me?
A. Supervisory special agent Bill Hagmaier, special agent Mike Morrow, and their partner and the third special agent, his name just escapes me at the moment.
Q. And those three agents prior to April 30, 1997 said that the intruder theory was absurd, Hofstrom needs to act like a prosecutor not a public defender. Don't do tomorrow's interview and get a grand jury as soon as possible, right?
A. Yes.
Q. The final question, page 204.
MR. DIAMOND: And this is the final question?
MR. WOOD: Yes, I appreciate it because I think I'm probably 30 seconds over.
MR. DIAMOND: That's all right.
Q. (BY MR. WOOD) "To unlock that damned S.B.T.C. acronym at the bottom of the ransom note, I called the U. S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. I talked to Linda Percy. 'I've been waiting for this call for six months.'" Can you date that call for me, please, sir?
A. I believe, and I can't definitively, but I believe that was in the summer of 1997.
Q. June, July or August of '97, you believe?
A. As we sit here right now, yeah, I recall that as being the summer of 1997.
MR. WOOD: Thank you for the accommodation on the additional time, both to Mr. Thomas, thank you. Mr. Diamond, thank you. Mr. Smith, thank you. My portion of the examination in the Wolf versus Ramsey case from a discovery standpoint is complete.
MR. RAWLS: As is mine.
MR. DIAMOND: Before we leave, I believe it's automatic under your confidentiality order for a period of ten days after the --
MR. WOOD: After the transcript.
MR. DIAMOND: That there's an automatic in position of confidentiality. To the extent I am wrong, we are designating this as confidential subject --
MR. WOOD: It is.
MR. DIAMOND: -- look, review it.
MR. WOOD: Any deposition is deemed confidential if you sign on to a protective order. That's why I thought you all were -- MR. DIAMOND: I don't know that we have to sign on to a protective order to do that, I --
MR. WOOD: I didn't go into any confidential information as it turned out. I tried to phrase it in a way that avoided that problem.
MR. DIAMOND: I appreciate that. MR. WOOD: I will treat clearly the statement about his Social Security number as confidential. MR. DIAMOND: I think you should treat the entire contents of this deposition as confidential.
MR. RAWLS: I think it does say that for ten days they have a right to designate --
MR. DIAMOND: Ten days after receipt.
MR. RAWLS: Receipt of the transcript.
MR. WOOD: If they sign on to the provision of the protective order. Whatever the order says, we're going to do justice by the order because the last person I want to see is Julie Carnes telling me I violated her order. Life is too short.
VIDEO TECHNICIAN: The time is 6:30. We're going off the record. (WHEREUPON, the deposition recessed at 6:30 p.m.) . . .
INDEX TO EXHIBITS Exhibit Description 9/20/01 the calendar for law enforcement training 6/18/97 fax cover sheet from Don Foster to Gordon Cooper, w/attachments 3 9/18/01 New Ramsey Book to Hit Stands Photocopy of autopsy photo of JonBenet Ramsey Photocopy of autopsy photo of JonBenet Ramsey (Original exhibits retained by Attorney Lin Wood.) . . . . . . . . . . .
REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE STATE OF COLORADO: COUNTY OF DENVER: I, Kelly A. Mackereth, Certified Realtime Reporter, Certified Shorthand Reporter, Registered Professional Reporter and Notary Public within the state of Colorado, do hereby certify that previous to the commencement of the examination, the deponent was duly sworn by me to testify to the truth. I further certify that this deposition was taken in shorthand by me at the time and place herein set forth and was thereafter reduced to typewritten form, and that the foregoing constitutes a true and correct transcript. I further certify that I am not related to, employed by, nor of counsel for any of the parties or attorneys herein, nor otherwise interested in the result of the within action.
My commission expires 4/21/03. _____________________________ Kelly A. Mackereth
CAPTION The Deposition of Steven Thomas, taken in the matter, on the date, and at the time and place set out on the title page hereof. It was requested that the deposition be taken by the reporter and that same be reduced to typewritten form. It was agreed by and between counsel and the parties that the Deponent will read and sign the transcript of said deposition. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
CERTIFICATE STATE OF ________ COUNTY/CITY OF _______ : Before me, this day, personally appeared, Steven Thomas, who, being duly sworn, states that the foregoing transcript of his/her Deposition, taken in the matter, on the date, and at the time and place set out on the title page hereof, constitutes a true and accurate transcript of said deposition. Steven Thomas . SUBSCRIBED and SWORN to before me this day of _________, 2001 in the jurisdiction aforesaid.
My Commission Expires Notary Public . . . . . . DEPOSITION ERRATA SHEET . RE: Alexander Gallo & Associates File No. 1637 Case Caption: Robert Christian Wolf vs. John Bennet Ramsey, et al Deponent: Steven Thomas Deposition Date: September 21, 2001 . To the Reporter: I have read the entire transcript of my Deposition taken in the captioned matter or the same has been read to me. I request that the following changes be entered upon the record for the reasons indicated. I have signed my name to the Errata Sheet and the appropriate Certificate and authorize you to attach both to the original transcript.              (c) 2023