An Outside Intruder Did Not Kill JonBenet Ramsey
I will be defending the idea that an outside intruder (anyone other than the parents or brother of the victim) did NOT kill JonBenet Ramsey. As such, I assume the full BOP. I must prove, beyond a REASONABLE doubt, that one of JonBenet's mother, father, and brother was responsible for her death.
A short primer on the case:
"Six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey was found strangled in the basement of her Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996. Since then, the murder has grown into one of the country's most notorious unsolved crimes, with competing suspicions focused on family members or an intruder.
• 911 call: Patsy Ramsey calls 911 at 5:52 a.m. after discovering a handwritten ransom note demanding $118,000.
• Securing the home: Police fail to secure the home as a crime scene and thoroughly search it themselves. Police tell John Ramsey to look through the home.
• Crime scene: The crime scene is further compromised when Ramsey family friends arrive at the house and walk through it.
• Body found: About seven hours later, John Ramsey, accompanied by family friend Fleet White, discovers JonBenet's body in the basement. She is found with duct tape over her mouth and a cord around her neck.
• Body moved: JonBenet's body is moved twice, first by John Ramsey and then by Boulder Detective Linda Arndt, who then covers the body with a sweatshirt. All this occurs before the coroner's office can examine it.
• Interviewing parents: Police fail to separate the parents and interview them individually. Instead they talk to them together throughout the day at the house, a failure of what critics say is conventional police procedure." 
1.) The Ransom Note 
A.) The circumstances of its writing.
The note, detailing the supposed demands of the "kidnapper", "was drafted on paper taken from the middle of a pad of paper located at defendants' home and with a pen found at defendants' home. Additional sheets were missing from the pad and were never located at defendants' home. The pen used to write the Ransom Note was sourced to defendants' home and found placed back in its normal place by the phone. Finally, there was another page in the pad that had written on it "Mr. and Mrs. I," which many believe to have been an early "false start" of the Ransom Note." 
The question is obvious: why write a ransom note for a child who would be killed either way? If JonBenet was going to die, why write a multi-page note at all? Moreover, why write the note using household supplies the night of? Surely an orchestrated, preplanned scheme would have prepared a note in advance and have had plans for any contingencies.
Simply put, the note *makes no sense* when considered as part of a real kidnapping plot, but it *would* make sense as a coverup, a red herring, by someone who carried out a killing in passion and needed a way to avoid blame. Of course, it wasn't done *well*, but that is precisely what one would expect from, say, JonBenet's mother after a frenzy.
The amount demanded in the note was $118,000. The significance? "In 1996, John Ramsey received a bonus of $118,117.50." This clearly suggests that the writer of the note was very familiar with John's finances, which is unlikely to be true of anyone but the Ramsey's themselves. It is likely that the number was chosen just because of how familiar it was.
2.) The Pineapple
"Pineapple was found in JBR's small intestine. A bowl of pineapple was found in the breakfast area off from the kitchen." 
The Ramsey's claim that JonBenet was put immediately to bed when they arrived home. However, the pineapple must have been eaten that day, so, unless another outside source can be argued for, the Ramseys cannot be believed. They argued that they knew nothing about the pineapple - that they did not even know they had bought pineapple - yet there the bowl was, covered with the fingerprints of only Patsy and John.
The answer is not that JonBenet found some way to eat pineapple before returning home; the answer is that she had her pineapple from the bowl on the table. Anything else runs in clear violation of Occam's Razor.
What motive would the Ramseys have to lie about this if they were innocent? Why would it matter that JonBenet did not immediately go to bed? None. The lie makes sense only when one considers that the Ramseys were placed in the precarious position of having to construct a cohesive narrative immediately after the killing. It seems fair to say that they just did not anticipate the role of the pineapple when they were first speaking to police.
The Lack of Evidence:
No evidence whatsoever has been produced showing signs of a break-in; in fact, all possible points of entry show signs of not having been used. In addition, no unidentified footprints in the snow around the house were found. I ask my opponent to produce some explanation as to how a foreign intruder could have made their way into the house while leaving no evidence.
Whatever their motives may have been, the evidence above establishes, clearly, that the Ramseys murdered JonBenet. They are pathological liars and cannot be trusted.
Thank you, ShabShoral.
Quick note: since this case is so surrounded in mystery and there are holes in every theory, Shab and I have agreed to split the BoP rather than giving it completely to Pro. We decided it would be very unfair and that I would likely win due to the unfair split of BoP. That being said, it still relies slightly more heavily on Pro, as he is making the claim that specific individuals were responsible for a murder, and this must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
There are many holes in all theories regarding this case. Therefore, even though my opponent's case relies heavily on some assumptions, mine will also. Both are dependent on this, as neither theory is complete. However, there are too many coincidences for the Ramsey family to be responsible for the murder.
II. Basement Entry
A window in the basement was left open, with unidentified fingerprints on it. There was a scuff mark under the window, which could have been a mark from the shoe of an intruder entering. A suitcase was propped up against the wall, and the suitcase had an unidentified footprint.  Cobwebs also appeared to have been swept to the side, further proving that the window had been used.  Someone intruded in the Ramsey family's basement that night. It's just a matter of whether or not the intruder is also the killer.
III. DNA Evidence Withheld
DNA evidence of blood, belonging to a male, was found on JonBenet's underwear the night of the killing. For whatever reason, the police decided to withhold this evidence. This evidence was later used to exonerate JonBenet's father, John, and brother, Burke.  My opponent wishes to base this debate on Occam's razor, but that would mean assuming the blood was from her killer. The blood was not her father's, was not her brother's, and was not her mother's, as it was the blood of a male. Therefore, Occam's Razzor forces you to vote Con.
IV. Media Bias
The media was supposedly skewed toward persecuting JonBenet's family, and as a result the public and police also pursued this route.  However, when presented with all the facts in a 2003 trial, the judge dismissed the charges as she believed the intruder theory was far more credible. 
V. False "Evidence"
Due to the bias, false media reports flourished. Turns out, there was no snow around the house that night, so there was no opportunity for footprints to be left. Additionally, experts who tested Mrs. Ramsey's handwriting against that of the ransom note were unable to conclude that they matched. Inconclusive = not guilty. 
Accusing the Ramseys is an argument based on some oddities surrounding the case. However, that is the nature of all unsolved murders. There are weird circumstances and unanswered questions, else they'd be solved. People try to piece these together to justify accusing an individual that is real and concrete rather than allowing the conclusion that someone was able to get away with it. That is a scary concept most people don't wish to come to terms with; someone this evil could have gone unpunished for their acts.
I. The Focus of my Case
II. Basement Entry
Mark Beckner, former police chief and head of the JonBenet investigation, said this in a recent Reddit AMA: “Most investigators do not believe there was a legitimate point of entry. It is unknown how an intruder may have gotten in. Lou Smit always believed it was the basement window, but we did not agree with him, as the dust and spider web were undisturbed.” 
The suitcase evidence, however, is harder to dispel. I concede that there was a suitcase in the basement, that there were scuff marks, etc. However, if, as my case holds, the parents were apt enough to at least attempt to stage a kidnapping attempt, they were apt enough to move a suitcase beneath a window. This is not even to speak of the possibility that the suitcase was just there incidentally.
I’m happy to concede the above; I think my case still makes more sense than any alternative even with the suitcase weighing against it.
III. DNA Evidence Withheld
Firstly, the source my opponent provided does not go into detail about the DNA evidence gotten from “blood.” I had not heard about the blood being of another individual, just that DNA from other sources had been found commingling with the blood (see: Beckner, below).
There is much doubt as to where this DNA came from. Occam’s Razor requires us to do the opposite of what my opponent suggests; there are many, many explanations for the DNA’s origin, and only one is via direct, physical contact during an invasion. Thus, it makes sense to conclude that, while possible, such an explanation is unlikely.
In addition, the DNA in no way exonerates John nor Burke, for, if the DNA came from an unrelated source, the question of the killer is not affected. Only if the DNA is established as being from the killer will any exonerations occur. Beckner, on the possible explanations of the DNA found: “Manufacturing process is one. Interactions with other people is another. Intentional placement is another. Belongs to an intruder is another. Yes, you can often tell where DNA comes from. In this case, it is small enough that it is difficult to tell. CBI thought it was either sweat or saliva.” 
IV. Media Bias
That the media was biased against the Ramseys is no surprise, given how much sense their guilt would make. I feel that the opinion of one judge is not as relevant as my opponent makes it seem; after all, if one is to argue from consensus, my opponent’s claim that the media, police, etc. suspected the Ramseys places the consensus against the intruder theory.
V. False "Evidence"
Beckner (he’s a great source) had this to say: “It was patchy from an older snowfall, but there was frost on the ground from the humidity and temperature that night. No footprints were observed near the window well or on the deck to JonBenet's bedroom.” It is clear from this that the conditions were such that it would be very unlikely for no footprints to be left anywhere; once again, Occam’s Razor.
When showed Patsy’s own handwriting, both Patsy and John were unable to identify its origin. When held next to the ransom note, the similarities are obvious; regardless of this, both parents flat-out denied any obvious idiosyncrasies. Simply from looking at the handwriting side by side, it seems clear that one cannot rule out Patsy. This point is intuitive and common-sense. 
My opponent points out that all mysteries have, well, mysterious elements. This is true; it is almost never that investigators are able to explain every event, every object, every motive. Some things are unable to be solved, which is why we accept things on probability, rather than wait for absolute certainty. This is exactly what is so unique about this case: most of it is unexplainable regardless of the theory one uses. Some things just refuse to fit into one narrative or another, or, if one element seems at home, another gets knocked out of place.
This does not mean that we must remain absolutely agnostic. It is clear that, given the sheer magnitude of very, very vital circumstances which would remain senseless under the theory that a “foreign faction” killed JonBenet, we must believe, strongly, over the alternative, that the murder involved no invader.
This is an incredibly intriguing debate; back to Con!
 Intermittent times: https://www.youtube.com...
Thank you ShabShoral.
Though my opponent makes a strong case, my rebuttals, coupled with the general rebuttals of "innocent until proven guilty" when the Ramsey family was never found guilty, will compel the voters to go Con.
II. Ransom Note
There are multiple potential reasons for the note being written in the home. The first is that JonBenet's killer did not plan to kill her from the beginning. It could have been a case of sexual assault. The killer could have subdued JonBenet with a taser  which explains both the odd markings on her body. It also makes perfect sense when you think that any child molester would be likely to find a child pageant star attractive. Therefore, JonBenet would make the perfect target for a child molester. Detective Smit explains how this could have happened. The intruder entered before the Ramsey's got home that night. He wrote the ransom note at that time. After the family got home, he went to JonBenet's room, subdued her with the stun gun, took her downstairs and assaulted her. The home-made garotte was used to choke her for the thrill, as the garotte is apparently a favored tool of pedophiles.  The original plan was a kidnapping, so the note makes sense with the killer's original plot.
The other potential answer is that the killer wrote the ransom note to send the family and authorities on a wild goose chase. The longer they bought into the kidnapping, the longer he had to get as far away as possible.
Also remember that no experts ever concluded that Patsy Ramsey's handwriting matched that of the note. Handwriting experts would've been able to identify certain similarities to prove she'd written it if that were the case.
There's no way the Ramseys would be stupid enough to use the sum of $118,000. If John Ramsey had just received a bonus of roughly this amount, it'd look very suspicious that this number was used. If they had been smart enough to move a suitcase against the wall and scuff both the suitcase and the wall, as Pro suggests in R3, they would not be naive enough to do this.
There are two alternative solutions to this. As Pro said, it'd have to be someone familiar with the Ramseys' finances. This could be friends, family, or anyone working on the family's financial accounts. The Ramseys are only two of the many possibilities here.
Also, this sum fits nicely with the intruder theory. An intruder, like many other murder an fantasy-stalker cases, according to Smit, would be likely to attempt escaping to Mexico. This sum was roughly a million pesos at the exchange rate of the time. This also explains why the specific denomination of it being partially in $20s makes sense, these would be easily converted. 
I don't understand how Pro thinks the pineapple in JonBenet's small intestine was that from the bowl, despite many other potential sources of pineapple, due to Occam's Razor, but the blood is not from the killer, even though there are multiple (less likely, as the blood was obviously fresh or the evidence wouldn't have been used to in part exonerate John and Burke, which it was) other explanations due to Occam's Razor. This seems to be an obvious contradiction by Pro.
Additionally, the pineapple isn't even a legitimate argument. There is nothing to gain from the Ramsey family lying about buying pineapple. It proves nothing, and makes no sense. There is literally no gain, so it proves nothing for Pro aside from an oddity which Pro is stretching to a sweeping accusation. If your child had just been killed, I don't think last weekend's groceries are the first thing you're thinking about.
IV. Lack of Evidence
I have addressed the footprint issue, and Pro concedes that there was not fresh snow. As far as frost goes, the frost could've developed after the intruder came in, as frost usually develops late at night/early in the morning and so would've accounted for lack of footprints. Patchy snow and a light frosting would make it incredibly difficult to point definitively to there being footprints.
As far as the basement entry goes, I have proven that it was possible. Smit provided photographic evidence that the window had been cleared of cobwebs, so his account should be preferred to that of Beckner.  Basement entry is not only plausible, but incredibly likely. Additionally, the Boulder County Prosecutor and Detective Steve Ainsworth support Smit's intruder theory, proving that even though the media and authorities were biased, some were able to differentiate the facts from overhyped misconceptions.
Once again, this case is a mystery. However, with the amount of effort the police dedicated toward investigating the Ramsey family, there would be more concrete evidence in support of the family killing the girl, and significantly less evidence of an intruder. Despite the efforts of the police, the intruder theory still holds significant weight. The only reason the Ramseys continue to be suspects in the public' mind is, as aforementioned, no other concrete, specific, individuals have been identified as potential intruders, and people are not ready to accept such evil could go unpunished.
Back to Shab for the last round!
This was a great debate. I"ll just get right into it.
II. Ransom Note
My opponent does not offer a reason to believe that there is a scenario in which writing the ransom note in the house makes sense. His scenario would work just as well if the note was prewritten; indeed, the note itself is the issue here, and he does not adequately address the supposed intruder"s motivations for writing it with the Ramsey's paper and pen.
Quoting *Foreign Faction* on train tracks as a potential source of the abrasions:
"One of my female officers, Christine Sandoval, volunteered to be a "beta" tester the following week, and I videotaped her jabbing and slightly twisting the head of the track into the soft flesh of her palm.
The pins of the track left red marks when sufficient pressure was applied, and I suspected that the twisting motion of the twin outside rails could have been responsible for the appearance of an abrasion, especially when considering that the target area was the soft skin of a 6-year-old girl's back. It was my observation that the twisting motion of the pins could have created the round and slightly rectangular aspect of the abrasions as noted by Dr. Meyer during the autopsy."
The idea that the note was written to buy time makes little sense when coupled with the fact that the note was written IN the house, BEFORE the murder, as my opponent proposes.
Handwriting experts may not have confirmed a match, but I trust that the voters can see the similarities themselves, and the absurdity of neither John nor Patsey being able to identify Patsey"s handwriting.
Is it not true that, if one had to cover up the murder of their child, they would not think rationally? I don"t see how moving a suitcase and standing on it is indicative of any great intelligence - and, given the schizophrenic content of the ransom note, it"s obvious that the murderer was not in their right mind.
My opponent"s "friend or family" argument hinges on someone knowing John"s bonus, which implies they also knew how wealthy the family was - why only $118,000? It"s obvious that the number was the result of a frantic scurry.
My opponent says that there would be no motivation for the Ramseys to lie about the pineapple. However, I have pointed out a very strong possible motivation: to preserve the story that JonBenet was put to bed immediately, and that the parents did not interact with her from then until the ransom note was found.
If JonBenet was given the pineapple by Patsey, John, or Burke, the story, as officially told, crumbles. Thus, denial was the only possible course of action.
The pineapple COULD have come from somewhere else, but" there was a bowl on the table. How is that bowl not the obvious source?
I believe that this point alone can prove the resolution - that is how confident I am.
IV. Lack of Evidence
The lack of footprints does not prove that there was no intruder, but shows that no real evidence was found that there *was*..
As for the cobwebs, quoting my previous source:
"In December both Sergeant Wickman and Detective Mike Everett had seen at least three strands of a spiderweb reaching from the brick window well upward to the covering grate. No one had photographed it"
I just ask the voters to keep this in mind: the simplest explanation is, usually, the correct one.
Thanks to CON for the debate!
Thank you to ShabShoral, this is by far the most enjoyable debate I've had on here in quite some time. Conspiracies and cold cases are always fun. Really glad you suggested the topic.
I'll get right to the voting issues. Remember that we did adjust the BoP, although it still falls more on Pro, as he is accusing the Ramsey family specifically, as opposed to the general idea of an intruder. Operating under innocent until proven guilty, the burden falls more heavily (though not completely) on the Pro(secution).
I. Ransom note
My opponent completely dropped my million pesos/escape to Mexico point. This disproves the idea of it having to be the Ramseys. If handwriting experts cannot conclude that it was Patsy, there is no reason we should assume ourselves better analysts than them. We must assume the note was not written by her, and therefore both parts of thecircumstances of the note point fall. Additionally, with Smit's "entry before the Ramseys were home" theory, which was also dropped by my opponent, the intruder would've had plenty of time to write the ransom note before the Ramseys arrived, therefore my buying time argument stands.
I never realized my opponent was operating under the assumption JonBenet had eaten the pineapple after coming home. There's no reason to assume this. She definitely could've eaten it a few hours before, not sure why Shab made this assumption. Even in his own Round 1 Source 4 experts disagree over when it had been eaten. No warrant is given as to why the first expert should be believed and the second one should not.
III. Basement entry
I have proven this possible. Lack of footprints was due to lack of anything to make footprints in The shoe marks, open window, suitcase, etc. all make sense, and the abc report I sourced clearly states that pictures had been taken of the window, webs had been swept away, and the grate had been moved recently. It is clear there is a good chance an intruder was in the Ramsey family home.
IV. The blood
The blood was fresh or wouldn't have been considered evidence, and was used to exonerate the Ramsey men. It's very odd to suggest a man's blood was on her underwear but that man wasn't her attacker. There were also other pieces of evidence indicating a pedophile such as the garotte. Either way, the evidence has been used to exonerate the Ramseys.
It is clear that if my opponent is accusing specific individuals, he has not sufficiently proven his side, and does not have enough to stand on. I, on the other hand, have proven reasonable doubt in the family theory and have proven that the intruder theory is credible enough not to convict the Ramseys, and in all likelihood, what happened on that fateful Christmas night.
Thanks again to ShabShoral, and thank you voters.