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  1. #1

    Default Van Tassel, Another Phony In The Ramsey Case

    Who is Van Tassel, you might ask. The better question is, what is
    Van Tassel?

    According to his old website, Van Tassel is:

    “John Van Tassel
    Garibaldi Highlands, British Columbia
    Country: Canada
    Gender : Male
    Age : 54
    Education : Post Secondary courses - Law Enforcement
    Comments : I am a Forensic Identification Specialist with the
    Royal Canadian Mounted Police, North Vancouver Forensic
    Identification Section. I will be going to the Nederlands in the
    late Fall to lecture on Forensic Knot Analysis. I would like to
    be able to communicate with basic phrases.”

    What John Van Tassel is is reveled in a Nov. 30, 1997 RMN article
    by Carla Crowder.

    “Ramsey case knots examined

    Canadian rope expert spends week looking for signature clues to
    JonBenet's killer”

    What did this imported “expert” have to offer”

    “Boulder police have asked an international expert in knots,
    ropes and ligatures to help in the JonBenet Ramsey murder
    investigation. John Van Tassel, a corporal in the Royal Canadian
    Mounted Police, spent seven days in Colorado. He flew down from
    Vancouver, British Columbia, on Nov. 10 and stayed through Nov.
    16, he said Tuesday. As a forensic knot analyst, Van Tassel, 49,
    studies the kinds of knots and ligature materials found at a
    crime scene, hoping to find clues about the person who tied the
    knot. Van Tassel was tight-lipped about his work in Boulder, but
    he did say he is still analyzing the evidence in the Ramsey case.
    "I have not formulated any opinion or conclusion as of yet,''

    As far as I know, the left without ever rendering an opinion. If
    he did, you can bet it’s nonsense.

    “There are several things Van Tassel looks into when examining
    knots and ligatures from a murder scene: Are the knots linked to
    a job or a hobby, say fishing or knitting? -Are similar kinds of
    knots found among a suspect's possessions? -Has a witness
    observed a suspect tying the kinds of knots found in evidence?”

    Did he expect to find a match in a Boy Scout Manual? How many
    such manuals teach “garroting” or “masochism” if that was what he
    was looking for? Similar kinds of knots” What if there are no
    “similar kinds” to be found? Suppose this is a one of a kind
    circumstance? Oh, I guess the perpetrator is going to go around
    trying to duplicate the knots and somebody might see it. Geesh!

    “Most of what he finds is used as "supportive circumstantial
    evidence,'' Van Tassel said. Or it might provide the impetus for
    investigators to rule out certain suspects, he said. Sometimes
    the smallest bit of knot information can reveal significant
    traits of the tier. "For example, the more knots you have and the
    more consistent they are can tell you that the tier ties the same
    kinds of knots,'' Van Tassel said. In seven years of studying
    ropes and knots, Van Tassel has investigated knots and ligatures
    in more than 50 cases. Most have involved deaths -- either
    homicides, suicides or sadomasochistic activities. Boulder did
    not pay Van Tassel for his work. He is paid by the Royal Canadian
    Mounted Police, where he has been an officer for 25 years.”

    Oh good, he’s been an officer for 25 years. Whoopie, the Lou Smit
    of the north and knothead of knot world. Just exactly what was
    his “forensic training in knots?” I can tell you: read and
    regurgitate, copy and paste, try to match pictures and play word
    games of pretense that he knows what he’s doing.

    One thing for sure, he has little to no practical experience with
    knots. He has no viable concept of the physics involved. His
    reputation is meaningless paper. Just about any farm kid, male or
    female, from six years old up from my part of the woods would
    have looked at that mess and laughed at the idea of it being
    difficult to grasp. It would be known in seconds that the person
    who did this was either joking, or else didn’t have a clue as to
    what he or she was doing. Given the circumstance, it wasn’t a
    joke. What does this leave and why?

    If Van Tassel had known what he was doing, he could have been and
    would have been an important witness for the prosecution. As it
    turned out, his ignorance paraded as expertise served the Ramsey
    cause. This “expert” idiot, left the door wide open for idiots
    like Smit to come in with the “expertise” of “sophisticated”,
    “complex” and “intricate garrote. This was followed by other
    “experts” who came up with theories of sex games and
    strangulation. Many books were written incorporating this
    nonsense as fact. Is it any wonder that the general public is
    ignorant of the facts of the case? While you are creating a
    category of crocks such as 48 HOURS, THE EARLY SHOW, DATELINE,
    etc., but sure to include EVERYTHING the general public has heard
    and read about the “professional garrote”, “sadistic pedophile”
    and “murder by strangulation.”

  2. #2


    This analysis would also be appropriately applied to Lou Smit. He has been touted as an expert on crime scenes, including knot tying, DNA, shoeprint/handprint forensics, fiber forensics, handwriting, yada yada. Just because a homicide detective spends years investigating homicides doesn't necessarily qualify him/her as an "expert" in any of the intricacies of modern criminal science. While experience does count for some things, it's funny how society will regard a LE officer as an "expert" at just about anything having to do with criminal law. It would be interesting to know what degrees, if any, and what specialized training the RST possesses in order to qualify themselves as "experts." Perhaps Mr. Smit is a suma cum laude graduate of the ultra secretive government program "Intruder Science 101."

    Excellent post, EW!

  3. #3


    Deja Nu:

    “This analysis would also be appropriately applied to Lou Smit.”

    It certainly does. I’m amazed at the absolute drivel from Smit
    that is seriously considered by many.

    “ But it's funny how society will regard a LE officer as an
    "expert" at just about anything having to do with criminal law.”

    Right again. I’m, sure you recall the Carnes’ ruling wherein she
    set Smit as an “expert” in every field without qualifying him in
    ANY field. I am also sure you noticed she was way out of her
    jurisdiction when she more or less adjudged the Ramsey innocent.
    Saying that DH didn’t prove his case was one thing, but what she
    added was unconscionable. A severe reprimand was in order, but
    I’m sure she didn’t get it since the Ramseys seem to running all
    facets of the law and the media as well.

    After initially looking into the case and reading just the
    autopsy report and the “ransom note”, it was hard to believe
    there was still serious discussion about an alleged intruder.
    This was my notice as to what mentalities I was dealing with and
    a warning to just forget it. As you know, I didn’t heed the
    warning. The only redeeming feature I can find in my efforts is I
    have meet some very nice folk, you included, of course.

    In one post, you said something to the effect that you felt you
    were conducting a course in law. A poster aptly responded, “And
    doing a good job of it.” Having personally done thousands of
    hours of legal research and document preparation, I can really
    evaluate, appreciate, and admire your know how in the legal area.
    Many times, you have filled in gaps in my knowledge of a given
    legal circumstance. Thanks.

  4. #4


    Thanks, EW, for those kind words. It's true, the Ramsey case seems to have brought out all the stupidity in the system. Judge Carnes went way out on a limb in her ruling, one that easily breaks with the slightest wind. Darnay Hoffman stipulated to "facts already in evidence" that were never qualified as "facts" or that could be validated in any way (God knows Lou Smit has been trying for 8 years to do so without success). And Lou Smit was tagged an "expert" on everything evenly remotely related to the Ramsey case without challenge.

    The entire Ramsey case is a law school study in professional incompetence and the dangers of political and business incest in a small legal community (whether Boulder or Georgia). LW has never tried a case before a jury in his entire career. His only successful tactic is his ability to abuse his adversaries and Dominick Dunne's case is no exception. No legal skill is required.

    Why has this case continually been so bizarre? I think my son said it perfectly when he said this case, unlike so many others, literally attracts evil. Not only was a beautiful, full-of-promise, privileged child tragically killed, but every wicked thing has this way come as a result. One has to ask why, why is this case so different? Why is it such a magnet for all the worst the world has to offer?

    The only answer could be that evil has its season, but only a season, and soon, very soon, it's utter defeat will be revealed.

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