Tag Archive: Jasper AL Murder for Hire Capital


JonBenet Ramsey-Labyrinth of Lies Part 7

Welcome to Jasper

Welcome to Jasper

Jasper, Alabama-population 14,222

According to Wikipedia, tiny little Jasper is the county seat of Walker County Alabama, and once ranked among the world’s leading producers of coal.  Walker County, it must be noted, bears the dubious distinction of being the “murder for hire capital” of America.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Have Gun, Will Travel

                Have Gun, Will Travel

Contact

A series of serendipitous and unlikely mini-miracles occurred and suddenly “I Know” was at the other end of the phone.  It didn’t seem real, but the urgent, southern voice acted as grounding.  The story came out in a wild patchwork of unfinished thoughts, strings of names of unknown people, and rapid fire vignettes. “There was this time John Mark Karr came in to the store where I worked to take some pictures of me. Said he worked for a beauty salon in Atlanta….You know, I drive around town with the names of all the people involved written on my car”. And so it went for about two hours, total stream of consciousness.

Trying to keep this person on topic went about as well as herding cats. “Do you know who Lisa Wallace is? You know about Governor Wallace? Lisa was Wallace’s third wife (1981-1987). Well, she was selling an antique table, a Persian rug and some ivory and I bought it. Mary offered to store the table for me because it wouldn’t fit in my apartment. The apartment was too small.  This really started when my friend Carrie got kidnapped. She was never found. I miss her so much”.

“I tried contacting the police so many, many times. They just ignored me. I finally talked to Lou Smit. I wrote that note! I wrote that note for Mary because she said she was writing a book about Carrie! I gave it to her in a paper towel tube, that cardboard thing in the center of the roll She told me to buy a mailing tube, but I didn’t. That made me mad”.

There was no paper or pen handy, having been caught off guard  “Better to just let them get it all out”, I thought. Hopefully, there would be another opportunity to pin things down, get the names straight and ask prepared questions. Hopefully.

Blood Moon

Super Blood Moon Eclipse

            Super Blood Moon Eclipse

The second call came in just a few minutes into the super blood moon lunar eclipse in late September. It had been a quiet Sunday and the questions prepared after the first call sat near the phone along with a pen. They had been there for over a week. . There was no way to know when IK would call back, nor if IK would call back.

The moon wasn’t up quite yet. I had gone back in the house to check the time. A few minutes later, the phone rang. The timing was mind numbing.  I picked up the receiver and heard that distinctive southern inflection “It’s me, IK“. I grabbed the pen and notebook . “Here we go”, I thought. “here we go”. Just as Earth’s shadow began to slowly move across the face of the moon, it began.

Q.  When did you meet Mary?

A. I don’t remember exactly. Let me think. It was after my friend Carrie went missing. She was kidnapped in 1991 on September 11th. There were search teams through the United Methodist Church. People looked for her all the way from here to Tuscaloosa because Carrie’s vehicle was caught on a security camera down there. I couldn’t never go because I had to work. But this customer came in from time to time and he would talk to me about it.  He and his wife were in the search. His name was Jim. At some point, he invited me to his house to meet his wife Mary. You know, I think Mary and Jim had something to do with Carrie disappearing, too. I just feel it. Jerry didn’t do that by himself. He didn’t kill himself, either.

(ed. note – police said that suspect Jerry Bland committed suicide as they began to circle the house. IK doesn’t believe that. There were reports that $50,000 was missing from the $300,000. Who got paid and why)?

Q. How long did you know Mary before she mentioned the book?

A. I have to think. She was planning to write a book about the kidnapping.  Maybe it was 1992 before I went over there. I don’t remember exactly when.  There was a Christmas party in ’94. John Mark Karr was supposed to be  there. I don’t think he showed up, though. There’s this man. He scares me. When he came in, I just had to get out of there. So I never saw John Mark there, but I know they were expecting him. You know, when John Mark Karr’s family said he was with them at Christmas Day 1996, they were lying for him. The book, the ransom note had to have been somewhere around the time of that party. I have trouble placing the time. I would like to be hypnotized. I could remember things better.

(ed. note – To me, the way this question was answered indicates a genuine memory process. Notice the associations IK went through in an effort to pinpoint the timeline.)

Q. How old were you back then?

A. Well, I am sixty seven now, so what would that be?

Q. It’s a little over twenty years ago that you are talking about so you would have been in your mid forties. Was Mary about the same age as you?

A. No. She was older

Q. By how much?

A. I am not sure to the year, but I would say she was around ten years older.

Q. What do you remember about her physically?

A. She wasn’t tall, had very tiny feet (giggle).  Her hair was dark…. brown, maybe

Q. How about her husband Jim?

A. He wasn’t tall either, salt and pepper hair. He was a few years older than Mary. I can’t recall his eye color. He didn’t have any scars on his face.

Q. The first time we spoke, you talked about a clipboard and sheets of paper. Did Mary hand you a clip board with blank pages on it that you wrote the note on?

A. No. I wrote that note so many times. I kept making mistakes. I started with a small note pad that I bought from the store where I worked. You know, Handy Dandy. We started with that, but it got to be so messy.  

Q. Then what was the clip board for?

A. Mary kept her ransom note script on there. She would read to me from it and I was supposed to write it down. She said it was a collaboration, but she never liked my ideas.

Q. Was Mary’s ransom script hand written or typed?

A. I don’t know. I never saw it. Mary held the clip board and read to me from it. She never showed me the script.

(ed. note – At the time of the 1st call, IK had specifically said that they had written the note many times due to making mistakes, losing their place while transcribing, and finally took everything home to finish it. This was after several sessions over at Mary’s home office).

Q. Well, wait a minute, if you never saw the script, what were you transcribing from?

A. I already told you that I bought a small note pad where I worked. The first sessions went in to that pad. But it was a mess. Then I go over there one time and she hands me a big pad. It had pages torn out.

Q. It had been used?

A. Yes. It had a short grocery list on there. You know, there was a palm print on that ransom note. That had to be mine. She got me so mad that I slammed my hand down on one of the pages.  (ed. note: there were no prints lifted from the note, not even Ramsey prints)

Q. What did she do that got you so mad?

A. Well, you know this was supposed to be about my friend Carrie. But she tells me to write :Mr. Ramsey”. I said, Mary, who is Mr. Ramsey? That’s not Carrie’s husband’s name. Mary said “that’s one of the characters in my book”. I didn’t know what to think. Then, she tells me “JonBenet”. Well, I can’t spell that, so I ask her how to spell that and she didn’t know. That’s when I got really mad and I told her, these are your characters. How can you have a character but you can’t spell their name? I just was so mad. It didn’t make any sense. I slapped my hand down right on the paper really hard.  She couldn’t spell JonBenet, I couldn’t spell it, so I said “why don’t we just say ‘your daughter’?  She was ok with that so that is what I wrote. I tried to get her to change a few things, but (other than that) she never would.

Q. What did you try to get her to change?

A. The ransom amount, for one thing. It just didn’t make sense to me to ask for $118,000. I told her ‘that’s such an odd amount…and it’s too low. You should make it a million’.  She wouldn’t do it. It had to be $118,000. And I told her to change attache to ‘briefcase’. Wouldn’t do that either.It didn’t feel like much of a collaboration to me. 

Q. Ok, ok…then when was the final note written? The one that went into a paper towel tube? The one that ended up at the Ramseys’?

(ed. note – the answer rocked my world)

 

to be continued in Labyrinth of Lies Part 8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JonBenet Ramsey-Labyrinth of Lies Part 6

JonBenet

JonBenet

And the Wind Cries Mary

After all the jacks are in their boxes, and the clowns have all gone to bed,
you can hear happiness staggering on down the street, footprints dress in red.
And the wind whispers …Mary.

A broom is drearily sweeping up the broken pieces of yesterday’s life.
Somewhere a Queen is weeping, somewhere a King has no wife.
And the wind it cries ….Mary.”  Jimi Hendrix

The Ransom Note

Back in 1997, magazines and tabloids trumpeted that handwriting experts hired by Boulder PD felt that there was a 73% chance that Patsy Ramsey had written the infamous ransom note. Examination of a deposition taken of John Ramsey in conjunction with a lawsuit filed by journalist Christopher Wolf yielded a firmly contrary point of view.

When probed about the possibility that his wife had written the note, John Ramsey stated in unequivocal terms that he did not believe that she had.  He described her handwriting as being feminine and fluid, unlike the uneven and choppy writing style of the person who penned the lengthy note.  He added that Patsy had been very well educated and the the misspelling of the words business (“bussiness”) and possession (“posession”) precluded her as author of the note.  He was certain that his wife did not write it.

Patsy insisted to the day she died that she had not written the note nor had anything to do with her daughter’s murder.  No matter. 73% is a nice, strong percentage. And no matter that it made no sense whatsoever for a murdering mother to pen a rambling three page ransom note, yet leave her child’s cold corpse in the basement where it could be discovered.  One wonders if it ever occur to the Boulder PD that they were looking at a sophisticated misdirection of blame?  Might someone have been trying to pull off a perfect crime?

The “Experts”

The experts pointed to distinctive words and phrases salted in the note here and there which they felt really, really screamed “Patsy”; the word “hence” for example. She was known to use “hence” from time to time.  Did she harbor some secret animosity toward her entrepreneurial and very successful husband, enough to scribble this highly insulting gem,  “don’t try to grow a brain, John”? And why would she make the mistake of telling him to “use that good southern common sense”?  Patsy knew that John did not come from the south.  They were residents of Atlanta before they moved to Boulder.  Patsy was born and raised in West Virginia but John had grown up in Michigan.  John was no southerner. Whomever wrote the note did not know that.

No7ThirdPlace

In hopes of generating leads that would result in identifying JonBenet’s killer a forum called Webbsleuths was created. It was moderated by an individual using the screen name Jameson.  In late 2001, using the screen names “No7ThirdPlace” and “I Know”, a person came in to the forum and began to share a breathtakingly peculiar story, a story which Boulder P.D. saw fit to ignore.

“No7ThirdPlace”  posted a series of details about a personal experience that slowly unfolded between late 1992 through 1995.  Over time, “No7ThirdPlace/”I Know” ” came to realize that those experiences held a critical clue to the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.  It took many attempts and the intervention of Jameson to get Boulder P.D.’s attention.  When a detective finally did speak with “I Know”, his manner was rude and demeaning .  The clue conveyed to the police came to nothing. The lead was ignored.

 

Alabama State Map

            Alabama State Map

And the Wind Cries Mary (while softly whispering Jasper, Alabama)

“I Know” had made the acquaintance of a woman named Mary after her friend, Carrie Smith Lawson, had been kidnapped in September 1991 . The twenty five year old Mrs. Lawson had received a call from someone who claimed to work at a local hospital.  “Come quick! It’s your father”, she was told.

Carrie and her husband rushed out of their home in Jasper, Alabama only to be set upon by masked assailants, as the husband Earl Lawson told the story. They tied Earl up and abducted Carrie in her own Ford Explorer.  Two days later, she was allowed to place a call to her husband. The kidnappers wanted $300,000 in ransom which was to be left in a specified tunnel. The ransom money was delivered but Carrie was not returned. Police subsequently made a relatively swift arrest of one Karen McPherson.

McPherson quickly rolled on her distant cousin, Jerry Bland and admitted to being the voice on the phone. As police surrounded Bland’s house, he shot himself in the head.  Most of the $300,000 ransom was recovered from his attic.  But there was also significant cash in his car which was linked to a recent cocaine deal.  Jerry had a hobby, Jerry had a part-time job.  Remember the death of the daughter of an ex-housekeeper of the Ramseys in Boulder a couple of weeks before JonBenet?  (see part 5)

Some weeks later, Carrie’s Ford Explorer was recovered from a wooded area some 45 miles away from Jasper, but Carrie was never to be seen again. She was declared dead by the court two years later.

“I Know” had been friends with Carrie and was deeply distraught when Carrie disappeared.  Around the time Carrie disappeared, prime suspect Jerry Bland was captured on a security camera in Tuscaloosa, some fifty miles to the south. Volunteer search teams looked everywhere between Jasper and  Tuscaloosa.

Handy Dandy

Welcome to Jasper

Welcome to Jasper

A semi regular customer of the Handy Dandy convenience store where “I Know”  worked as cashier started talking to “I Know” about the searches. The man’s name was Jim and after some time, he offered to introduce “I Know” to his wife, Mary. Over time, A casual friendship developed and several months along the way, Mary shared that she was working on a book about the Carrie Lawson kidnapping case.  One day,sometime in 1992, Mary asked “I Know”‘ to  assist with her book. Mary, it seems, needed some help writing a ransom note for her novel which she planned to title “The Perfect Murder”.

“I Know”claimed not to have seen a copy of the Ramsey note until 2001 (doubtful) but was horrified to realize that it was the note that had been written for Mary’s book six years earlier!  It was supposed to be for a novel about the disappearance of friend, Carrie Lawson.  Instead, it had been used in a real life murder of a six year old.

Jameson became intrigued enough with “I Know”‘s story to agree to a meeting in order to get a writing sample.  “I Know” wrote the entire statement in front of Jameson and neither of them had brought a copy of the Ramsey ransom note to the meeting.  Here follows the handwriting sample that “I Know” produced under Jameson’s watchful eye. :

JonBenet-I-Know-RN
                “I Know” writing Sample early 2002

 Here is the full Ramsey ransom note:

Full Ransome Note

                                 Full Ransom Note Dec. 1996

Keeping in mind that six years had elapsed between the time each note was created, there are, indeed, many striking similarities between the two handwriting samples. the most striking similarity is with the formation of the word “that” in both notes as well as the consistent use of the typewriter style small “a”. There is also a mixed slant in both notes as well as a similar choppiness and lack of fluidity.

After many frustrating attempts to reach Boulder P.D., “I Know” finally reached out to Ramsey attorney Lin Wood and Wood, in turn, made an introduction to the highly respected cold case ace,  Lou Smit  According to “I Know”, Smit seemed confused by the narrative.  Nothing happened from speaking with Smit

“I Know” provided them disturbing video tapes of Mary and Mary’s friends and even offered to take a polygraph exam.  Nothing. No follow up, no investigation. Nothing.

It was time to track down “I Know” and ask some very important questions. But the last post on the Webbsleuths site was in 2006. Would it even be possible to find an anonymous forum commenter more than nine years after they had gone silent? And would they talk to me if I found them?

 

To be continued Part 7 Searching for “No7ThirdPlace/IKnow”

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