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BOULDER, Colo. -- It's been 20 years since the murder of 6-year-old Boulder beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey, but the still-unsolved mystery captured the nation's attention again in recent months when several networks aired specials about the case. Some claimed to introduce new evidence regarding the murder, allegedly implicating potential suspects — the victim's brother, Burke Ramsey, among them.
But Ramsey, who was 9 when his sister died, has maintained he did not commit the crime. In fact, he's taken to court all five media outlets that have run with stories pointing the finger at him.
Ramsey has successfully settled outside of court with each media outlet, save for the most recent lawsuit he filed on Wednesday against CBS. In addition to the undisclosed settlements, Ramsey's legal efforts have resulted in outlets writing retractions or pulling stories, in some cases.
Ramsey's legal team has been able to prove their points with a 12-page list of what they call "Key Facts About The Murder of JonBenet and the Law Enforcement Investigation."
Ramsey has maintained he is innocent, and he says the facts support his claim. The facts he and his legal team stand behind are as follows:
On the night of Dec. 25, 1996, the Ramsey family attended a Christmas dinner at the home of their friends Fleet and Priscilla White
After the family returned home, John and Patsy Ramsey put the children to bed and soon went to bed as well.
The family had a planned vacation and flight for the next day to Charlevoix, Michigan.
John and Patsy Ramsey woke up at about 5:30 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 26 to prepare for the trip.
Neither John and Patsy, nor Burke woke up during the night that led into Dec. 26.
Burke did not leave his bedroom that night.
After waking up on Dec. 26, Patsy went down two flights of stairs from her room to the main floor, locating near the bottom of the stairs a two-and-a-half-page, handwritten ransom note stating that JonBenet had been kidnapped.
Patsy screamed and rushed to check JonBenet's bedroom, prompting John to rush in. The room was empty.
The two checked on Burke, who they said appeared to be sleeping in his room.
At 5:52 a.m., Patsy called 911, "breathlessly imploring the operator to send help."
After calling for help, Patsy called family friends who then came to the home.
Police arrived after friends had arrived, and "failed to properly secure the crime scene, a failure that seriously compromised the crime scene."
The ransom note stated the kidnappers would call between 8 and 10 a.m., but the call never came.
Boulder Police Department Detective Linda Arndt asked John to search the home for anything unusual to "keep him occupied." The home had already been searched by police and a family friend.
John and and a family friend named Fleet White began to search the basement of the home.
John and Fleet, while searching the playroom, located a broken ground-level window and a suitcase beneath that window that was normally stored in a different location.
Eventually, John searched the "wine cellar" in the basement, which the family used as a storage area. Boulder Police did note the cellar in the previous search, but did not open the door because it was locked from the outside. In another search, Fleet opened the cellar but did not turn on the light.
John when searching the cellar did turn on the light, locating JonBenet's body. John cried out in shock after discovering the body of his young daughter.
Duct tape covered JonBenet's mouth, her wrists tied above her head and she had a sexual torture device embedded in her neck.
John picked JonBenet up and carried her upstairs, crying out for help.
Detective Arndt informed John that JonBenet was dead, observing the body.
JonBenet was "strangled to death with a torture and bondage device known as a garrote."
The garrote was "made from a nylon cord and a wooden handle fashioned from the middle of a paintbrush discovered in Patsy's paint tray in the boiler room in the basement. The end of the nylon cord was tied to this wooden handle and, on the other end, was a loop with a slipknot, with JonBenet's neck within the loop." JonBenet's neck within the loop."
Until her autopsy, the family's facts say "It was not visually apparent that JonBenet also suffered a massive blow to her head that fractured the right side of her skull -- and injury that has been described as the equivalent to an injury resulting from a fall from the third floor of a building. JonBenet also suffered a massive blow to her head that fractured the right side of her skull -- and injury that has been described as the equivalent to an injury resulting from a fall from the third floor of a building.
A pathologist who performed an autopsy discovered that "JonBenet was sexually assaulted through penetration with the broken wooden handle of a paintbrush." JonBenet was sexually assaulted through penetration with the broken wooden handle of a paintbrush."
JonBenet's body reportedly "showed many signs of struggle with her attacker."
JonBenet was "brutally tortured, assaulted and murdered."
John and Patsy were both at one point under suspicion by Boulder Police in connection with the investigation.
During the investigation, John and Patsy attempted to cooperate with investigator, including by signing "more than 100 releases for information requested by the police and providing all evidence and information in their possession requested by the police."
John and Patsy gave Boulder Police historical handwriting samples and supervised written examples.
John and Patsy did give hair, including pubic hair, and DNA samples to police.
Burke also gave a DNA sample to police.
John and Patsy consented to multiple interviews by law enforcement, and Burke was interviewed without his parents in attendance at least three times.
On Dec. 26, 1996, John gave both a writing sample and the notepad Patsy had used in their home. Police eventually determined the ransom note had been written on that pad.
Law enforcement used six "qualified and highly respected experts in the field of handwriting analysis who performed extensive analysis on the handwriting" of Patsy, John and Burke's samples.
According to the Ramsey family, "all six experts conclusively eliminated John and Burke as authors of the ransom note...they could not determine with 100 percent certainty that Patsy did not author the ransom note." However, none of the six experts concluded that Patsy wrote the note, and the Ramseys say the investigators called the chances that she wrote the note "very low."
On Dec. 25, 1996, the Ramsey family did not turn their home alarm system on, meaning the home was unlocked. At least seven windows and a door were found unlocked on the morning of Dec. 26.
On the ground level of the Ramsey home there was a removable grate over three windows that opened into the playroom area of the basement. The center window had a broken pane.
Law enforcement were said to have "found scuffmarks ... beneath the center window leading to the playroom area of the basement.
Police said the "area around the window showed clear evidence of a disturbance."
"Leaves and white Styrofoam packing peanuts that had pooled in the window area appeared to have been cleared from, or brushed to either side of, the window sill.
A leaf and a multiple packing peanuts were found in the wine cellar area where JonBenet's body was located.
The end portion of the wooden handle and the cord used to construct the garrote were never located in the Ramsey home. The Ramsey family said the perpetrator removed these items after the murder.
The duct tape covering JonBenet's mouth was never sourced to the Ramsey home.
Fiber evidence suggests that the chord and duct tape were at one time in the second floor area, near JonBenet's bedroom.
Fibers consistent with the cord to make the garrote were found in JonBenet's bed.
Other items not belonging on the second floor of the Ramsey home were found there on the day after the murder.
A rope was found inside a brown paper sack in the guest bedroom on the second floor.
Small pieces of the brown paper sack were found in JonBenet's bed and in the body bag that was used to transport her body from the scene.
John and Patsy said they had no knowledge of the rope and said they did not own it.
A baseball bat that the Ramseys did not own was located in the house.
Brown cotton fibers found on JonBenet's body, the garrote handle, the duct tape and the wrist ligatures were not sourced to and didn't match anything in the Ramsey home.
Found in the basement in mold on the floor were shoeprints containing a "HI-TEC" brand marking, and neither John, Patsy or Burke owned any shoes with that brand at the time of the murder.
"The DNA of an unidentified male was found under JonBenet's fingernails."
The Ramsey family said investigation found the DNA didn't match John, Patsy or Burke.
Other DNA evidence of a sexual assault on JonBenet was sourced to an unidentified man, which wasn't sourced back to John Patsy or Burke.
Hair from an unidentified Caucasian male was located on the blanket covering JonBenet's body, and it didn't match anybody in the home.
Multiple pieces of DNA evidence that linked back to the unidentified male were linked back to one another.
The medical examiner found that JonBenet died from asphyxia by strangulation, and was alive when she was strangled.
"There were physical findings on her body that strongly suggest that JonBenet struggled with her attacker and was conscious at the time she was garroted."
In addition to that struggle, the Ramsey family said JonBenet had burn-like marks on her face and back consistent with a stun gun.
Wood fragments from the paintbrush used to create the garrote were found inside JonBenet Ramsey, leading the family and investigators to believe she had been sexually assaulted.
JonBenet's body showed signs of sexual damage that caused bleeding.
In addition to all the physical evidence of the night -- much interest has taken place in the 911 recording. Ultimately, investigators and more could not hear anything from the background of the phone conversation.
Law enforcement developed two primary theories: That an intruder killed JonBenet, or Patsy killed JonBenet. John was not a suspect after the initial investigation.
Multiple investigators believed that an intruder subdued JonBenet with a stun gun and then sexually assaulted, tortured and brutally murdered the 6-year-old in her basement.
Several people have taken up the mantle of investigation since the original investigation, and Burke has not been a suspect.
"Burke has never been suspected of the crime of Murder in the First Degree and Child Abuse Resulting in Death.'
A grand jury had voted to recommend that John and Patsy be indicted by the Boulder DA for "committing a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation which posed a threat of injury to the child's life or health" and for "rendering assistance to a person with the intent to hinder, delay and prevent the discovery, detention, apprehension, prosecution, conviction and punishment of such a person knowing the person being assisted has committed and was suspected of the crime of murder in the first degree and child abuse resulting in death."
"As made abundantly clear by the public statements of Boulder prosecutors familiar with all of the evidence developed in the case and presented to the grand jury, no evidence existed to support a finding that Burke killed his sister and, therefore, the grand jury did not vote to indict John and Patsy based on a belief that the evidence established that they engaged in a cover-up to prevent the discovery that Burke killed JonBenet."