by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
August 17, 2008
ON THE HUMAN SCALE, IS AMERICA A LIGHTWEIGHT?
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- When Sherlock Holmes says "Elementary, my dear Watson," he bases his further explanation of the who, when, where and why of a murder after deducing through careful investigation why he has reached that conclusion. He does not jump to conclusions based upon similar situations on record. Nor does he offer his personal opinion without having gone over every element of the case at hand.
Not today, nor in recent history, can we be sure that no stone is left unturned in the investigation into the guilty person of some heinous crime. The more sexual inferences, the more likely the story is to make the front page.
Jon Benet Ramsey's family has been totally exonerated with apologies for the decade of public ignominy and the frustration of having been told not to hide behind their lawyers and public relations people. Because they were living comfortably in an upmarket neighborhood, they could shield themselves to some degree and let the lawyers deal with the outrageous accusations.
Police "deduced" that since Jon Benet had wet the bed that night, her mother must have gone into a rage and injured her - only to follow up with killing her out of that same rage to cover having injured her. The father was accused of sexually assaulting her. No evidence of that; no DNA, but because he found the body and cradled her lifeless body, he was accused of destroying the crime scene and covering for his wife. Even the nine-year old son was called to the stand.
And now they get a letter - too late for Patsy. She died of ovarian cancer before the murder was solved, and remains unsolved. However, at the time of her death, they had just arrested John Mark Karr in Bangkok, Thailand. Patsy Ramsey believed that his confession would mean the killer had been found and justice would be served.
It didn't prove to be true but it set further investigation into the possibility that someone other than the Ramsey's were guilty. Incidentally, there were at the time of little John Benet's death, over 30 registered pedophiles in their area. No reports on investigation. Anyone old enough to read this column is aware of the Scott Peterson case.
It took some time for police to cast aspersions on this handsome husband of the beautiful wife. No one would believe it of him and yet when Amber Frey came forward and unraveled his lies, they took a closer look at his darker side and sexual prowess and proclivities. The jury sentenced him to death.
In 1954, Marilyn Sheppard was murdered. Her husband Dr. Sam Sheppard said over and over "a bushy-eyebrowed stranger" was seen but Dr. Sheppard was the one in jail and convicted of her death. The television series, "The Fugitive,?was based on this case. The perpetrator was not a bushy-eyebrowed stranger but a one-armed stranger. It made for good drama and in his actual appeal,
r. Sheppard claimed the media circus and "the atmosphere of a ‘Roman Holiday‘" denied him a fair trial. Sheppard was released in 1966 and died four years later of liver failure. Still the case goes on. His son Sam Reese Sheppard gave permission to Cuyahoga County Detectives to exhume Dr. Sheppard's body to check blood in murder room with DNA from the exhumed body.
The younger Sam R. Sheppard agreed to the exhumation. He wants the judge to declare his father innocent as he can sue the state over Sheppard's 10-year incarceration.
They had exhumed Marilyn's body in the late 1990s to see if the fetus she carried was Dr. Sheppard's or the purported lover's "love child."
The prurient interest of the reading public never abates. And there really are no secrets we can take to the grave.
The latest case hot off the presses each day involves a toddler, her mother and her grandmother. You can't tell these players without a scorecard: Toddler is Caylee, her mother is Caysee and her grandmother is Cindy - last name for all: Anthony. Everyone has lied except the toddler and she's missing. Missing for six weeks, reported less than two weeks ago, no one shows remorse and gives mixed messages.
So far, no true evidence of a death. Convoluted 9-1-1 messages. One blames the daughter, one exonerates her and another contradicts them both.
I can hardly wait to see how this one ends. I can only hope the missing child (Caylee) is well and happy somewhere in Orlando, Fla. Are we focusing on the family? They do not appear credible, nor do they appear worried. I recall the old answer in psychology: "If it's not one thing, it's the mother."
As for Patsy Ramsey: The letter of apology is too little and too late. There's an old adage for this: "So if you think some praise is due me, now's the time to say it to me, for I cannot read my tombstone when I'm dead."