Statement Analysis®

JonBenet Ramsey Murder - Burke Ramsey's Interview

Twenty years after JonBenet Ramsey's death, her 29-year-old brother Burke Ramsey agreed to be interviewed by Dr. Phil McGraw. The three-part interview aired on the Dr. Phil Show on September 12, 13, 19, 2016. Here are some excerpts from the interview.

September 12, 2016

DP: Do you remember the last time you saw JonBenet alive?
BR: I want to say it was in the car on the way back from the Whites.

Burke Ramsey does not state with certainty the last time he saw his sister alive. Instead he said, "I want to say." He may have phrased his statement that way because he is uncertain when he last saw JonBenet alive. After all, it has been twenty years. It could also be he does not want to tell us when he last saw his sister alive.

DP: After you went to bed did you hear anything out of the ordinary at all during the night?
BR: No.
DP: You don't recall waking up hearing anything in retrospect?
BR: No.

Burke answers these questions with a direct answer, "No." These are good answers and might shed some light on what did not happen that night. Two small marks were found on JonBenet's body. Some experts believe this was the result of a stun gun that was used on her. Unlike what you see in the movies, a stun gun does not render a person unconscious. Instead, it pisses you off. It causes pain that makes you want to get away from the device. The person being stunned usually utters a few interjections! The stun gun itself might make a crackling noise when deployed. Burke Ramsey did not hear anything out of the ordinary that night.

Dr. Phil asked Burke if he remembered waking up that morning. Burked said he remembered his mother coming into his room and saying, "Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh." and "Where's my baby."

DP: After she left, what did you do?
BR: I just laid there. Didn't really know what else to do.

Burke used the unique word "just" which is often used to minimize things. In this case, Burke is minimizing his actions. The word "just" is not needed. He could have said, "I laid there." However, he wants us to believe that all he did was lie in his bed. Therefore, he used the word "just." It is a slight indication he didn't just lie in his bed.

The pronoun "I" is missing in the second sentence. He didn't say, "I didn't really know what else to do." The missing "I" shows a lack of commitment to the statement. We see further problems with this sentence in his use of the word "really." This word is not needed; "Didn't know what else to do." He adds the word "really" to bolster his statement but it often weakens the statement. It is possible he used the word "really" to try and convince us he did not know what to do.

Dr. Phil told Burke that he found it odd that his mother would burst into his room while it was dark and make frantic statements. Later, a police officer would come into his room shining a flashlight and Burke's response was to lie in his bed.

BR: I guess I kind of like to avoid conflict or I don't know. I guess I just felt safer there.

Burke used the word "guess" which means he is not certain about something. He may not be certain what his answer should be or he may not be certain if he likes to avoid conflict.

The phrase, "I kind of" indicates he doesn't always avoid conflict. He then stated, "I don't know" which further shows us he is uncertain why he didn't get out of bed. He again used the word "guess" and followed this up with the unique word "just."

DP: Where you curious?
BR: I'm not the worried type. I'm not the, I guess part of me doesn't want to know what's going on.

Burke tells us he is not the worried type. He then has an unfinished sentence or thought. He followed this up by saying "I guess." Again he is uncertain about what he was feeling that morning.

DP: Critics would say you weren't curious because you already knew. He didn't have to get up and go check because he knew exactly what
BR: I was scared I think. I mean I didn't know if there's some bad guy downstairs and my dad's chasing off with a gun.
      You know, I had no idea.

Burke doesn't tell us he was scared because he added the words, "I think." This means he is uncertain if he was scared. He used the phrase, "You know." Some people will use this phrase because they want you to take for granted what they are saying is true. However, we take nothing for granted. We don't know unless the person tells us.

Lastly, he used the phrase, "I had no idea." Rarely can a person honestly say, "I have no idea" or "I have no clue." Most people have an idea or an opinion on just about everything. When people use these phrases they are acting like they know absolutely nothing which is hard to believe.

September 13, 2016

Dr. Phil showed Burke a copy of the ransom note that was left at the Ramsey's residence.

DP: Does that look light her (Patsy Ramsey) handwriting?
BR: Ah, honestly looking at that she would always bug me about having good handwriting and she would like make me
      rewrite stuff to try to get me to have good handwriting and I think it's too sloppy.

The first thing we see is that Burke never answered the specific question. He never said, "No." When people do not answer the specific question they are withholding information.

He used the word "honestly" which is a word that indicates possible deception. Some people will use words like this to try and convince you they are being truthful. Other people simply have a habit of using words like "honestly."

He wants us to believe this is not his mother's handwriting because it is "too sloppy." However, he used the word "think" which means he is not certain if it is too sloppy. We must remember that the writer most likely tried to hide his or her handwriting style. He or she wanted it to look sloppy so no one will be able to identify the author.

After Patsy Ramsey ended her 911 call, she supposedly did not immediately hang up the phone. Some people believe they can hear Burke Ramsey saying, "What did you find?" Dr. Phil asked him about this.

DP: Did you speak those words?
BR: No.
DP: Were you there when that call was made?
BR: No.
DP: So you were not there and you did not speak those words?
BR: That's correct.
DP: It's also been speculated that your father can be heard yelling, "We're not speaking to you."
BR: Definitely don't remember that. I don't know. Unless someone erased my memory or something.

Burke gives a good answer to the first three questions. He stated he was not there when the 911 call was made and he did not ask the question, "What did you find?" However, in his fourth answer he leaves himself out of the answer. He did not say, "I definitely don't remember that." We cannot believe he does not remember if he does not tell us he (I) does not remember.

It is also strange that he mentioned he does not remember his father making that comment. If he wasn't present when the 911 call was made, then it would not be a matter of not remembering. It would be a matter of, "I wasn't there."

He goes on to say, "I don't know." This means he is uncertain. What is he uncertain about? Is he uncertain that he doesn't remember his father making that comment?

JonBenet's autopsy showed she had eaten some pineapple. Most experts believe she ate the pineapple approximately 1 - 2 hours before she died. John and Patsy Ramsey have always maintained that JonBenet was asleep when they returned home and that they immediately put her to bed. A bowl of pineapple was found in the kitchen area. The Ramseys claim they did not put the bowl of pineapple on the table. One theory to explain the pineapple is that Burke prepared himself a late-night snack. He admitted that he got up after everyone was in bed to play with a toy. JonBenet may have awakened and came downstairs to play with her toys. During this time, she ate a piece of pineapple out of the bowl. At some point, Burke became mad at her and struck her with a flashlight that was in the kitchen. Dr. Phil asked Burke about the bowl of pineapple.

DP: Did you and she eat pineapple together any time during the day?
BR: Maybe. Like, I don't remember specifically eating pineapple but very well could have. Like, would you remember eating
      pineapple 20 years ago? Like, you know.

This question is poorly worded. The theory is that Burke and JonBenet were eating pineapple at night and not during the day.

Burke answered with "Maybe" indicating it was possible the two of them had eaten pineapple that day. He reaffirms this when he said, "Very well could have."

DP: Did you hit your sister over the head with a baseball bat or a flashlight?
BR: Absolutely not.

The answer sounds good. The word "not" is a negative word. The word "absolutely" adds emphasis to his denial of hitting his sister. However, the best answer to this question is "No" or "No, absolutely not."

There was an incident where Burke and JonBenet were outside playing. Burke was swinging a golf club and he accidentally hit JonBenet with the club. Dr. Phil asked Burke about this accident.

DP: Was that on purpose?
BR: No, absolutely not.

Burke used the same language as when he denied hitting JonBenet over the head the night she died. However, this time he added the word "No." He is more emphatic that the golf culb incident was an accident than he did not hit his sister in the head with a flashlight. It appears the golf club was an accident. JonBenet was standing behind him and he hit her with his backswing.

There were two marks on JonBenet's body. Some investigators believe they are stun gun marks while others disagree. James Kolar was an investigator with the Boulder District Attorney's Office. He has put forth the theory that the marks were left by the prongs from a train track that was in the room next to where JonBenet's body was found. After hitting her over the head, the killer may have jabbed her with the end of the train track to see if she was still conscious. Dr. Phil talked about this theory.

DP: Did you ever hit her with the train track?
BR: No, I'd...
DP: Did you ever (Dr. Phil then makes a lunging motion.)
BR: No
DP: Poke her with the train tracks?
BR: The more you said that I was like, "How would I even do that? " Like, I never did anything like that.

Burke gives a good answer by saying, "No." The problem is he was about to say something else and Dr. Phil cut him off. If Burke was going to say, "No, I'd never do that" the would be a weaker denial.

Dr. Phil then suggested that Burke may have stabbed JonBenet with the train track. Burke again answered "No." In his last answer, Burke asked the question, "How would I even do that?" Answering a question with a question indicates sensitivity. The problem is Burke answered the question when Dr. Phil made a lunging motion. Therefore, his last answer may be more of a statement. He may not be answering a question with a question.

DP: Let me ask you this straight up. Did you ever sexually abuse JonBenet?"
BR: No, absolutely not."

Dr. Phil makes the mistake of prepping Burke by saying, "Let me ask you this straight up." Statement like this puts the subject on guard. This alerts the subject that the question is going to be an important question. The subject will now concentrate on his answer making sure he gives a good answer. You should never alert the subject that your question is an important question. Questions such as, "What is your name?" and "Did you kill her?" should be asked in the same manner.

Burke gives a good answer. He answered "No" and then reaffirmed this by saying, "Absolutely not." We don't know if he gave a good answer because it is the truth or because Dr. Phil prepared him for the question.

In reviewing these last few questions, we find Burke gave the following answers.

1. Was he present when the 911 call was made? - No.
2. Did he hit his sister over the head with a baseball bat or flashlight? - Absolutely not.
3. Did he hit her with a golf club on purpose? - No, absolutely not.
4. Did he stab her with a train track? - No.
5. Did he sexually abuse JonBenet? - No, absolutely not.

The best answers can be found in questions 3 and 5. It appears the golf club incident was an accident. Therefore, he can emphatically deny purposely hitting her. There is no evidence Burke sexually abused JonBenet. Any person who was asked a question like this would find it disturbing. Therefore, he strongly denies it.

When asked if he hit JonBenet over the head he said, "Absolutely not" but did not say, "No." When asked if he was present when the 911 call was made or if he poked her with the train track he said, "No" but did not say, "Absolutely not."

September 19, 2016

DP: There still are people who believe that you killed your sister. What do you say about that?
BR: Look at the evidence or the lack thereof.

If someone told you there were people who believe you had killed someone, what would your response be? You most likely would say, "I didn't do it." You may talk about the lack of evidence as Burke did. However, most people would also deny the act itself. Burke does not do that.

DP: How would they have broken into the house do you think?
BR: I've heard the basement window. I remember for a long time I, I think I unlocked the front door during Christmas day, and I always felt bad about doing that. Not that a locked door would stop somebody if they wanted to do something like that.

If Burked killed his sister, then he knows there was no intruder. If he knows there was no intruder, why would he feel bad about leaving the front door unlocked? This is an indication he is telling the truth. He believes there was an intruder and he may have helped that person enter their house. It is possible he is making this up. He wants us to believe he felt responsible for letting someone into their house. The problem is most deceptive people are not smart enough to include information like this in their statement.

DP: Let's clear this up once and for all. Did you do anything to harm your sister JonBenet?
BR: No.
DP: Did you murder you sister JonBenet?
BR: No.

Burke gives very good denials. However, Dr. Phil again preps Burke by saying, "Let's clear this up once and for all." This alerts Burke that these are very important questions and he should carefully think about how he will answer them.

A Summary of What We Have Learned

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