During Christmas 1996, somebody killed a little girl in her own home in Colorado. Dead little white girls made for good copy, even before the rise of the Internet and The Daily Mail online. Dead little white girls involved in disturbing baby beauty pageants and covered in lipstick and mascara is a news bomb cyclone. Even before that fake term was invented.
JonBenet Ramsey consumed the then shameless tragedy profiteer media of the time, the tabloid papers and cable news. Nancy Grace came like no Methodist woman has before her. The fact that no killer was identified immediately by the police, or ever, led to the kind of rampant speculation that fuels disturbing child murder story mayhem. This perfectly filled the talking heads void left by the O.J. trial.
While every pedophile within a hundred miles of the home during the night of the murder could’ve easily been a suspect, the lack of sexual assault on the body and the lack of any signs of forced entry into the home made that rampant speculation practically moot. Though it did carry on for month after month, including sketches of a man who looked like Santa Clause. Or maybe it was Santa Clause. Down the chimney to rape and murder children. The perfect cover.
Those with a thinking brain figured out quickly the murderer was somebody sleeping in the home that evening, and or possibly a close family acquaintance with key access to the house. Since there was nobody in the latter category unaccounted for, that left the mom, dad, and brother. All of whom became suspects. The rage nature of the killing made the then nine-year old brother, Burke, the prime suspect. Weird for a nine year old, but he was a weird kid. Also, parents with no record of abuse, outside of pimping their daughter in pageants, don’t suddenly bludgeon their little girls to death. Insane moms do occasionally murder their own kids, but it’s always drowning or poisoning or some weird Biblical shit. Never a wrench to the temple.
The District Attorney could never quite place a finger on the culprit, leaving the case one of the great unsolved blown-out blonde wig hair kid murders ever. Leading to numerous follow-up news shows claiming to provide new evidence as to the true killer. TV clickbait for those with enough free time to be less discerning.
In the Fall of 2016, during Sweeps, CBS ran a special bringing together pathologists and analysts and rampant speculators to re-examine the murder 20-years on. Hey, remember JonBenet and all the fun we had speculating over her killer? Here’s more.
During the broadcast, one of the “expert guests” implied that Burke Ramsey killed his sister. It wasn’t a direct accusation, more of an implied statement, but enough for Burke Ramsey, now late 20’s, to file a $750 million lawsuit against CBS and everybody who appeared anywhere in the show. Apparently, you’re not allowed to imply somebody killed their baby sister in this country without legal adjudication. Or so agreed the judge this week who allowed the case to go forward, despite pleas from CBS et. al., to have the civil suit thrown out for lack of cause.
Burke Ramsey’s case relies on his assertion that CBS ruined his reputation. Considering 99% of people only know him as the creepy Ramsey brother who likely killed his little sister as covered up by his parents, that seems like an uphill battle. In a world where Hulk Hogan won $125 million for Gawker destroying his rep by showing his bare ass pounding his buddy’s wife, you have to at least try for a corporate gouge. CBS went low and cheap with their primetime special. They likely had lawyers reviewing the footage to ensure this kind of suit wasn’t possible, but maybe they effed up.
In general, the public will root for Ramsey against the corporate giant news outlet framed as having made “fake news”. The judge allowing the case to go forward means negotiations between parties must now begin. It’s not like the kid has more sisters to kill. He probably needs some new hobby cash. Expect settlement terms to be non-disclosed with no admission of guilt, or around $30 million. If you’ve ever thought about killing your sibling who gets all the attention from your parents while you’re sent away to boarding school, this certainly might affect your decision.