Boulder Skies at Dusk

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No stun gun was ever found.

Marks found on JBR's body were consistent with a stun gun; hence there is a fierce debate over whether a stun gun was used on JBR. A stun gun seems most consistent with an intruder theory, as there is no evidence the Ramseys owned a stun gun.

Effects of Stun Guns.

Robert Stratbucker has written a technical paper on the physiological effects of stun guns. Description. "The stun gun is designed to key into the nervous system. It dumps its energy into the muscles at a high pulse frequency that makes the muscles work very rapidly, but not very efficiently. This rapid work cycle depletes blood sugar by converting it into lactic acid all in just seconds. The resulting energy loss makes it difficult to move and function. At the same time, the tiny neurological impulses that travel throughout the body to direct muscle movement are interrupted. This causes disorientation and loss of balance, leaving the attacked in a passive and confused condition for several minutes. Still there is no significant effect on the heart and other organs. As a general rule, a 1/4 second contact will repel and startle the attacker, giving intense pain and muscle contraction. One to two seconds will cause intense pain, muscle spasms and a dazed mental state, this may drop the attacker to the ground. Over three seconds will cause intense pain, loss of balance, loss of muscle control, mental confusion and disorientation. Generally any charge over three seconds will cause the aggressor to fall to the ground. The aggressor will be unable to recover for several minutes and effects may last for up to fifteen minutes.

Case Studies.

There are several examples of young girls being paralyzed by stun guns without screaming:
Jaycee Dugard. Jaycee was 11 years old when she was abducted after being stun-gunned. The following are excerpts from the 135 pages of Jaycee Dugard's grand jury testimony unsealed Thursday by El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Douglas Phimister:
Dugard: And all of a sudden, his hand shoots out of the car window, and I feel this shock. And I stumble back into the, into the bushes. And...I'm sorry.
Q: That's all right. Take your time.
Dugard: He gets out and I stumble back into the bushes. I'm sitting now in the bushes, trying to get away, but I feel like my whole body is — wouldn't work. It was tingly and I can't — nothing works. All of a sudden, I'm in the car, and there's something on top of me, and I feel like there's pressure on me. ... I was put on the floorboard and then something thrown on top of me, and then legs, pressure, face down. I don't know what happened after that because I think I — because I don't remember the car pulling away, or I felt like I blacked out or something.

Girl Paralyzed by Stun Gun and Did Not Scream.

Internet poster reports: "This morning Madison went to play with a neighbor's son. My neighbor is a physician who is taking a year off with a new baby. The other child is about 6. Anyway, he got a hold of his dad's stun gun and zapped Madison in the butt with it. She DID NOT scream, she simply dropped like a rock (according to the mother). She (the mom) called me, Madison was not completely unconscious but absolutely out of it for about 10 minutes. She weighs 65 lbs [JBR weighed 45 lbs].

Ramseys Did NOT Own Stun Gun.

In their book, John Ramsey describes going to a spy store due to his concerns about risks to Access Graphics related to electronic bugging: "As we left, the clerk gave me a videotape catalog to take home. When I returned to Boulder, I threw it into a drawer and completely forgot about the tape. I surmise that as the police went through everything in our house, they found the video catalog, which apparently turned out to have an advertisement got it....stun guns! Not too long after that the police reported to the media that they had found a stun gun "instructional video" in the Ramsey house. So on the one hand they were supporting the stun gun theory, but on the other hand they were not indirectly saying that I had used this weapon on my daughter. Of course, for a period of time the video created a significant uproar and cast further suspicion on me. Later we got a copy of the video catalog from the store in Coral Gables, and found it was recorded in Spanish! Not only had I never reviewed the tape; if I had I wouldn't have understood it" (Ramsey and Ramsey, 2001: 195).

Why Body Not Exhumed

In principle, exhumation of JBR's body might have resolved the uncertainty about whether a stun gun was used. Parents Do Not Control Exhumation Decisions. LE Preferences May Carry More Weight Than Parental Desires. Internet poster Margoo has noted that it was not up to the family to decide about exhumation; law enforcement was completely in control of this decision and elected not to do so. While they will certainly listen seriously to parental concerns, LE always had the authority to override this. It wouldn't make sense to let suspects in a case be able to control such a critical decision.

Parental Opinions Matter.

Another internet poster has suggested "there is still a preference in modern courtrooms to not disturb the body unless it's of dire importance. And religious and personal requests from the family are always considered and given quite a bit of weight. In order to get a court order the family is always consulted by the judge and LE has to have a really GOOD reason for wanting to do it."

John Ramsey Opposed Exhumation.

John Ramsey was opposed to exhumation (“We had buried our child, she was at peace, she was safe. That was just an abhorrent thought to me,”).

Police Against Exhumation

DA Deferred to Police. "[Boulder DA Alex] Hunter considered the stun gun theory--"iffy." He talked to the police about exhuming JonBenet's body, but they were against it" (Schiller 1999a:466; quote and source from Internet poster Rainsong). It had earlier been reported by investigate reporter Lawrence Schiller that "in January 1998, Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter said "Every rock must be turned over, and if that means swabbing everyone's mouth or exhuming JonBenet's body, that's what the police will have to do." So again, this account implies that it was BPD controlling this decision.

Potential BPD Motivation for Not Pursuing Exhumation. It has been suggested "The BPD had already publicly DENIED the stun gun theory. They had more to lose by risking a finding that the marks WERE consistent with a stun gun than having THEIR claims confirmed."

Lou Smit Favored Exhumation. Internet poster has stated that for a long time after Schiller's book was published, "Lou Smit wanted very badly to exhume the body. He and other professionals felt there was still a good chance they would find the body in good condition. It depended on the type of casket, temperature of the soil, etc." But Smit had resigned from working for the DA in September 1998, so he had no authority to execute his preferences.

Evidence for a Stun Gun

Lin Wood's motion in Burke Ramsey's 2016 defamation case against CBS includes a thorough refutation of the claim in the CBS documentary that Burke caused the stun gun injuries with his train toy (detailed in pp. 78-82).

Marks Were Inflicted on Christmas Night.

"defendants {John and Patsy Ramsey} have presented photographs of JonBenet taken Christmas morning that clearly reveal the absence of any marks on her neck. (See Defs.' Ex. 33 attach. To Summ. J. Mot. 68.) Yet, the autopsy report clearly shows reddish, burn-type marks on JonBenet's neck and back. (See Autopsy Photos attach. as Defs.' Ex. 27-30 to Smit. Dep.)" (Carnes 2003:98).

Forensic Evidence.

The strongest case for a stun gun was made by Lou Smit, a retired detective hired by Boulder DA Alex Hunter. Transcripts of interviews with Lou Smit and companion photos making the case for a stun gun are available at Webbsleuths for Court TV (November 7, 2002) and 48 Hours (October 4, 2002). No Apparent Struggle by JBR. "Because it is logical to assume that JonBenet would struggle against an attacker she did not already know, the use of a stun gun helps to explain why no evidence of a struggle was found in any of the bedrooms in defendants' home. (SMF P 143; PSMF P 143.)" (Carnes 2003:98).

Expert Opinion.

"Moreover, defendants have presented the testimony of Dr. Michael Doberson, a forensic pathologist who examined the Boulder Coroner's autopsy report and autopsy photos, and who concluded that the injuries to "the right side of the face as well as on the lower left back are patterned injuries most consistent with the application of a stun gun." (Report of Michael Doberson, M.D., Ph.D. at 5(A) attach. as Ex. 3 to Defs.' Ex. Vol. I, Part A.)." (Carnes 2003:98).

"Defendants' evidence that a stun gun was used, then, stands unrebutted. In other words, plaintiff has failed to produce evidence that creates a material dispute of fact on this point or that offers an alternative explanation for the origin of these marks, other than a stun gun. Accordingly, the Court concludes that the undisputed facts indicate that a stun gun was used in the commission of the murder." (Carnes 2003:98-99).

Spacing of Marks Consistent with AirTaser.

Internet poster has done comparisons using photos to demonstrate the marks on the back were 3.5 cm apart, which is consistent with an AirTaser.              (c) 2023