I’d love to be able to start this off with some sort of nonchalant qualifying clause like, “I’m not one to follow Hollywoodesque true crime stories . . .” but that would be a ridiculous lie. The Girlfriend and I watch shows like “48 Hours Mystery,” “Cold Case Files” and “American Justice” to the point where when one comes on TV, we have conversations like:
Me: “Didn’t we see this one already?”
Her: “Yeah, this is the stupid one with the husband who stabbed his wife for the insurance money.”
I, like many others, watched the primetime specials on JonBenet and was sure the parents did it. Then was sure they didn’t do it. Then was sure they did it again, all depending on what segment of the program was airing at the time. Eventually I just got tired of watching the same home video footage of a six year old girl doing the two-step in full cowgirl costume and let it go. Like everyone else.
But now it’s back! And it’s bigger than ever: with more drama, more plot twists and more characters than ever before. I assume I wasn’t the only one who was overwhelmed with the recent flurry of press coverage, with CNN.com seemingly writing a new article every five minutes. So I decided that I would sit down today, read through all the stories and sum it up for everyone in the simplest way possible, so that we all might share in this theater of the absurd together.
Mary Lacy, Boulder County District Attorney
Vacations In: Doesn’t vacation
Favorite color: Beige
Favorite Emotion: Indifference
If She Were a Fruit, She Would Be: a Pear
Role in Case: If Mark Karr is indicted, Lacy will lead the legal team in attempting to lock him up forever. Unless NBC jumps in and buys the rights to The Trial and finds Lacy to be too “rough around the face” for television, in which case they may hire their own legal team.
Lt. Gen. Suwat Thakrongsrisakul, Commander of the Thai Immigration Bureau and his helpers
Nothing can bring him down, baby!
Role in Case: This group is in charge of extraditing Mark Karr to the U.S. for his eventual trial, though, as my friend Antonella pointed out (she has an eye for this stuff) you couldn’t get the smiles off these guys’ faces with a brillo pad. You would think they were transporting a bear cub saved from a raging river back to its proud mother. I don’t think they understand exactly how little there is to smile about in the grisly murder of a six year old.
Daniel Roberts, Pueblo Vista Elementary School Principal
Amount of Muscles in Mouth: Two times that of average human
Worst Fear: Making a face too much and it staying that way
Weakest Attribute: Judging character
Role in Case: Roberts was the principal while Karr worked as a student / substitute teacher at his elementary school in Napa, California in 2001. Said Roberts, “Oh yeah, I can toootally see him doing this sort of thing. I remember one time in the break room me and some of the teachers were talking and we were like, ‘Dude, John is gonna like, totally murder a kid someday.’ And I was like, ‘I know, right?!’ ”
John Glaser, Napa Valley Unified School District Superintendent
You Might Not Know It, But: He has been undead for two years now
Role in Case: To scare off teenage sleuth teams trying to crack the case by rigging booby traps and misleading hijinks all over town.
Sharyn Lindsey, Napa Valley Unified School District Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources
Dislikes: Not having sex
Last Halloween Costume: Leslie Nielson
Role in Case: More than the eye candy, Lindsey represents a broken school system fraught with incompetency and burocratic log-jamming. She also represents an angle of the story that is completely fucking useless. Who’s up after her, the lettuce guy at a Chipotle in Pasadena who served Mark Karr a Carnitas Burrito one day and DIDN’T IMMEDIATELY RECOGNIZE HIM AS JONBENET’S REAL KILLER AND TURN HIM IN?
Michael Tracey, University of Colorado journalism professor
Prized Possession: Emmy Awards for staring role in TV’s hit show “Miami Vice”
Favorite Album: “Frontiers” by Journey
Favorite TV Show: “Nash Bridges”
Role in Case: According to The Washington Post, “Tracey said he had been corresponding with Karr – who used an assumed name in the e-mail exchange – for "about four years" before he mentioned the correspondence to the prosecutor's office. [He] would not say what prompted him to alert prosecutors. According to one source close to the investigation, Boulder County prosecutors asked federal investigators to help identify the e-mails' author by his pseudonym, which was BenetKiller4lyfe.”
But really, you correspond for FOUR YEARS with a stranger who is obsessed with the JonBenet Ramsey case and over that time you never become suspicious of this person? During Desert Storm when I was in sixth grade I corresponded with a soldier stationed in the Middle East (cute!) and within weeks I learned that his wife was leaving him and he had a skin disease they couldn’t diagnose. So much for Mike Tracey being good at journalism!
Bob Raines, superintendent and principal at Wilson Elementary School
Favorite Animal: Cow
Favorite Pastime: Riding in the car
Role in Case: Raines twice hired John Mark Karr as a substitute in second and fourth grade classes in 2001. Further complicating matters, it seems Raines misunderstood the meaning of the word “hires,” confusing it with “going for a ride in the car.” So technically, it’s not really his fault. Because riding in the car is his favorite pastime.
Pam Paugh, Patsy Ramsey's sister
Often Confused With: Delta Burke
Favorite Ice Cream Topping: A sandwich
You Might Not Know It, But: She has feelings too
Role in Case: No real role, but if I didn’t know this woman’s name and you gave me five guesses, I bet by the fifth one I could guess that her name was Pam Paugh.
John Mark Karr, the latest killer of JonBenet Ramsey
Idol: Chris Isaak
Hobby: Confessing to murders; beauty pageants
Date of Facial Expression Change: Independence Day, 1982, when a firecracker exploded near his face, causing him to flinch
Role in Case: Apparently he confessed to the murder, and if there’s one thing I will never understand it’s why someone would confess to a murder if they didn’t do it. But for some reason, in this case it seems like a plausible turn of events. On the other hand, maybe he’s actually guilty and he’s using his confession to make people think he’s crazy and just confessing so he’ll get away with it. Basically, anything is possible at this point. I wouldn’t be surprised if it turns out like a scene from a family sitcom where the parents come downstairs in the middle of the night in their bathrobes with a baseball bat after hearing a rustling in the kitchen, only to burst through the door and find the golden retriever covered in peanut butter and Honey Nut Cheerios. Only a lot more horrific than that.