Avoiding JonBenet Pitfalls -- Advice from A Reporter Who Has Been There, Done That
And, so, an arrest has been made. It’s Thursday, 10 a.m. August 17, 2006, and Boulder, a city dubiously known for nearly 10 years as the “Perfect Town” for the “Perfect Murder,” is waking up to an old story.
Bumping Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Castro from the lede, the JonBenet Ramsey murder mystery has once again demonstrated its extraordinary headline potency following the arrest of a suspect in this gruesome and infamous murder. It is a resurrection, by all accounts, that has sent the national media scrambling back to this idyllic Rocky Mountain city.
By Wednesday night, reporters across the country once assigned this dormant beat were digging into stored-away boxes, blowing the dust off of old Ramsey notebooks and files, and making reservations at the city’s swanky downtown hotels.
By Thursday morning, along the tranquil and well-traveled Boulder Creek path, a hundred-plus journalists, from the Denver Post to the Washington Post, were sitting under a deep-blue Rocky Mountain summer sky, staring at a sun-beaten podium with local mountain bikers and moms-and-their-strollers caught up in the pending press conference.
John Mark Karr, a school teacher wanted on child pornography charges and tracked down to arguably the most popular pedophile country in the world, was arrested (not charged, mind you) for JonBenet’s murder, said Boulder District Attorney Mary Lacy. But she went on to warn, in an eerie evocation, eyeballing the crowd, “We should all heed the poignant advice of John Ramsey. Do not jump to judgment. Do not speculate” that Karr is the killer.