JonBenet’s brother sues ex-Macomb coroner over comments

Oralandar Brand-Williams
DetroitNews-Unknown

Details into the two-decades-old slaying of 6-year-old Colorado beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey might soon play out in a Metro Detroit courtroom if a defamation lawsuit against former Macomb County Medical Examiner Dr. Werner Spitz goes forward.

Spitz, now a forensics pathologist who consults on murder cases, said he would not comment on the lawsuit filed in Wayne County Circuit Court “at this point” by JonBenet’s brother, Burke, who is seeking $150 million.

Burke Ramsey, who was 9 years old at the time of his sister’s slaying, says In his lawsuit that Spitz, 90, gave a radio interview to CBS Detroit radio around Sept. 19 in which he “explicitly and falsely” states Burke murdered his sister.

The suit, filed by Plymouth attorney John Lesko, quotes Spitz as saying: “If you really, really use your free time to think about the case, you cannot come to a different conclusion. ... It’s the boy who did it (committed the murder of JonBenet Ramsey). Whether he was jealous, or mentally unfit or something ... I don’t know the why, I’m not a psychiatrist, but what I am sure about is what I know about him, that is what happened here.”

Spitz also was part of an investigative panel for a CBS television broadcast last month in which Spitz said the child was killed with a blow to the head from a flashlight.

“Could be a child that did it,” Spitz said during the broadcast.

The Ramseys’ family attorney, Atlanta-based lawyer Lin Wood, told The Detroit News on Monday: “The accusations by Werner Spitz against this young man are outrageous. Such false accusations for self-promotion and profit have no place in an orderly and just society. This lawsuit is the first step to holding Spitz fully accountable for his heinous wrongdoing.”

The suit, filed Oct. 6, is one of the few times since Burke Ramsey, who lives in Charlevoix, has broken his silence on her murder. Last month, he was interviewed on the Dr. Phil television show in what was touted as the first time he’s spoken publicly about the crime.

The lifeless body of the blonde beauty queen was found in the basement of the family’s Boulder, Colorado, home Dec, 26, 1996. She had been tortured, sexually assaulted and strangled. A garrote was found near her body. A ransom note also was found in a staircase near the home’s kitchen allegedly demanding $118,000.

The child’s father, John, and mother, Patsy, contended an intruder killed the child. The girl suffered a massive blow to the head that fractured the right side of her skull.

No one was ever charged in the girl’s murder. Patsy Ramsey died in 2006 of ovarian cancer.

According to Burke Ramsey’s lawsuit Spitz “has a pattern of jumping to baseless conclusions that are not supported by a single journal or reports.”

The attorney argues Spitz claimed Burke Ramsey bludgeoned his sister to death.

“Defendant Spitz made this accusation without ever examining JonBenet’s body, without viewing the crime scene, and without consulting with the pathologist who performed the autopsy on JonBenet.

No date has been set for a hearing in the civil matter.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

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