How were the ligature cords cut and the paintbrush handle broken?

Discussion in 'Justice for JonBenet Discussion - Public Forum' started by koldkase, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. Elle

    Elle Member

    I just couldn't resist trying it for myself to see the results, Cynic. I see a similar break to the tail end on the right. I personally thought the garrote brush was a bigger size. Thank you for your encouragement to continue this. Anyone else trying this with a door, make sure you use the area where the metal door lock is because it can dent the wood. I have a few tiny dents in mine. The reason why I couldn't see the edit button in the larger photo above was because it was off the screen. :(

    My brushes are old and I don't paint on a canvas any more, but I still have painting sessions with the youngest grandchildren.:)
  2. Elle

    Elle Member

    Not to worry about the brushes, KK. I'm not into painting the way I used to, so I have quite a few just lying there until the youngest grandchildren appear. Nice to still have some young ones around. :)

    Thank you KK and cynic for letting me join you in this wonderful project.
    Tried to print your instructions, cynic relating to the photos, but it's a hit and a miss with this Acer Windows 7. In fact I received a message saying my HP printer was not compatible with this computer. Frustrating! [​IMG]
    Hopefully one of my sons can fix it when they appear! (?). :)
  3. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Sorry I missed this last night, tea, as it was late and I was just skimming through.

    Your thoughts about that weird comment of Patsy's are very interesting. That hadn't crossed my mind, though I felt there was some hidden agenda going on there with Patsy--as ever. I was thinking she was trying to confuse LE--more. But you could be on to something about that pineapple.

    Thing is, LE has to have tested this knife for residue, fingerprints, etc. But we've never heard one peep about what they did or didn't find. Or maybe we did and I just don't remember. Was this some of that evidence Kane meant when he said we hadn't seen all of it?

    But you've hit upon another question that I now have about this ligature and paintbrush--always we try to answer questions and end up with more. Let's say Patsy was cutting that cord to make the ligature; why wouldn't she just get a pair of scissors? She had to have had them around the house. She had all kinds of crafts supplies in the basement. I'd guess she had a pair in the kitchen. She surely had a pair upstairs in her bathroom/dressing room. These are common places to keep scissors in a household--where you use them. I've always felt Patsy was the one looking in the JAR bedroom en suite bathroom drawers for something--very possibly scissors. Remember she stayed in that room when she was sick from her cancer treatments because the bathroom was closer to the bed, she said. She also said she kept her medical supplies in there, as well.

    You know, in her friend's book about Patsy, the one where family and friends paint her to be St. Patsy of the Paughs, someone brings up Patsy having families from the school over to make some things for a school project. I believe it was said Patsy provided the supplies, including scissors, paper, paints, etc. Burke served refreshments? I think that was the story.

    My point is, why saw away at the cord with a dull kitchen knife and/or a dull Swiss Army knife when scissors would have been easier? I'm referring to the chopped up, frazzled ends of the cord as we see them in the photos, of course, which don't look "scissor" cut. Compare to Dr. Meyer's cut: he had to get under the cord buried in JB's flesh, obviously, and I was thinking he used a sharp, surgical type of blade, but I may be wrong as I'm just guessing. Whatever he used, he got a neater cut, but still uneven.

    Your ideas about the sequence of events are interesting. I was thinking most of that "knife" action took place in the bedroom/laundry area outside JB's room--the drawers left half open, the door of the cabinet open, the knife on the dryer, etc. I'm still not sure about the cord "fibers" Smit said were found in the bed, though. I was trying to find that added information in the DOI paperback edition where it first appeared, and I swear I could not find it in any edition I could lay hands on in book stores, not even copies at used book stores. I had to wonder if that "info" was removed in later runs? It had me flummoxed, like the "disappeared" segment of the Geraldo episode where he played the enhanced 911 tape.

    But now that you've laid it out your theory like that, it does make me wonder how that Swiss knife got from the laundry area outside JB's bedroom where the maid hid it to the basement, where it was found by LE after the murder. If the cords were already cut upstairs near/over the bed, why bother to carry the knife into the basement?

    In fact, now I'm remembering some other questions I've had through the years, and I can't remember if they were resolved: there was one account of the Swiss knife being in the cellar room near the body. Then another stated the Swiss knife was found on a counter in the hallway leading to the cellar room. I do remember reading these, but it now escapes me what I concluded, if anything....

    Does anyone else remember this? If not, I'll go hunting it up again...sigh.

    I've been at this way too long.
    Last edited: May 14, 2012
  4. Cherokee

    Cherokee FFJ Senior Member

    Excellent comparison! It looks to be as if the Ramsey brush has been "whittled" on the one end where it was broken in the middle. Maybe Burke had used it as one of his whittling projects after it was broken originally?
  5. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Oh, good observation, Elle! One factor I've been thinking we can't compensate for is how old/used Patsy's brush is. The paint coating was nearly all flaked off. So your account of the paint coating causing a tendency to "bend" rather than snap because of the still intact coating is brilliant! That could explain why Patsy's brush broke evenly at the more narrow "tip" end.


    I do have one question, Elle, which might help us understand more: what exactly were you doing that brought you to the "snap in the door" technique to start with? See, I would NEVAH have thought of that. I'd have gone to the garage and used one of hubs' little saws. lol
  6. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    This is an excellent question. If the hair in the "handle" were still connected to the head, it surely would prove it wasn't used to pull the garrote, unless her hair was longer than the cord from the neck to the "handle."

    I have always "thought" the hair in the handle wasn't still attached to the scalp by the roots, though I may have simply come to that conclusion early on and never reconsidered among all the mountain of things we've tried to discern through the 15 YEARS since this murder.

    I'm wondering if I got that idea because of PMPT or Steve's book, JB:ITRMI? I do remember Steve said the ligature knot at the neck had hair in it that had to be cut by Meyer as it was still attached to the scalp, but I don't remember any reference claiming the same about the knot on the paintbrush "handle." I may have a faulty memory there because I haven't read it in a long time.
  7. Elle

    Elle Member


    A mental picture of snapping a few pieces of thin narrow wood in my door down here, for whatever I needed it for, flashed into my mind when I saw the photos of the paint brushes. :) I'm always fixing small jobs around here, KK and I enjoy finding different ways to fix things.

    I do the same as you! I use small saws from my son's wood kits when they were young. They are still hanging in our garage. :) I like to fix things around the house. I have to try ideas which just come into my head. btw KK most of my brushes are quite old.
  8. Elle

    Elle Member


    This is me just finding time now to watch your video. You appear to be a Jack-of-all-Trades! Thank you for time spent doing this for me. Much appreciated. I'll let you know how I fare out by pm. You are very generous!

    Just wanted you to know that IrfanView with windows XP was easy to use. All the sizes were listed and all you had to do was check off the one you wanted and that was it! :(

    I just tried reducing with the Paint program cynic and was successful!
    Thank you again for the time taken to share this with me. :yay:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2012
  9. DeeDee

    DeeDee Member

    The hair caught in the handle cord is just another indication that it was made on an unconscious JB. Along with the almost perfect circumference of the ligature furrow, I cannot imagine anyone actually believing she struggled against it. The coroner agrees.
  10. cynic

    cynic Member

    I don't have it, (I own the the hardcover version,) but I can tell you where it is - allegedly:
    "Fibers from the cord used to tie JonBenet's arms were found on the bed sheets."
    Death of Innocence page 386, paperback version
    Inside the room, investigators found the white blanket that John said had been wrapped around JonBenet, and the piece of black duct tape which had covered her mouth. .They also found bundled inside the blanket a child's pink Burble nightgown. A red Swiss army knife was also found lying in the corner of the room away from the blanket. On the floor outside the door to the cellar was a paint tray and acrylic painting supplies. One of the detectives observed a wooden handle to a paint brush, the type used by artists, which appeared to be broken and a piece missing. The floor of the wine cellar was vacuumed to collect any trace evidence. The black duct tape, blanket, nightgown, knife, broken paint brush and paint tray, and vacuumed particles were all collected and logged into evidence.
    -Bonita papers

    The evidence taken in the search was itemized on thirteen handwritten pages, which were signed by Detective Byfield. Every notepad and pen in the house was taken. Among the 132 items in the first inventory were the Avalanche sweatshirt and the blanket that had covered JonBenét’s body. Detective Everett photographed a shoe imprint that was discovered in a powder-like substance next to where JonBenét’s body had been lying. Inside the wine cellar, fibers, hair, and the pink Barbie nightgown were collected. Just outside the room, there were wooden shards near an artist’s paint tray that also held part of a broken paintbrush; several paintings, one of which Patsy had done in Michigan, of flowers in a box on her porch; rope; string from a sled; and down the hall on a counter, a red pocket knife. Black sheet metal, wire, vacuumed hair and fibers from almost every room of the house, bedding, street clothes, underwear, prayer books, Christmas gifts, pieces of glass from the broken window, toilet tissue, toilet seats and lids, books, and newspapers were also collected. The list grew longer by the day. Patsy’s and John’s clothing, camera, computers, and 180 videotapes were hauled away in box after box. Before the police left, they photographed every inch of the house and all its remaining contents. On January 30,1997, a judge signed another warrant allowing the police to search for pornography on the hard drives of the seized computers. During the last days of June 1997, there would be a third search of the Ramseys’ house.
    Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 110

    You may wish to revisit this thread:
  11. cynic

    cynic Member

    Hard to say, I thought the same thing originally, and was even more convinced that there must have been some clean up after breaking my brush and seeing the rough edges and splinters. However, after looking at the relatively clean breaks produced by Elle I think it’s possible that a random break could produce what we see in the low quality pictures from the crime scene.
    It would be interesting to know what Burke used for his whittling projects; did he ever use an old paintbrush?
    It would also be interesting to know how close the BPD came to sourcing a potential match for the paintbrush.
  12. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    I knew you'd have it, cynic! You're our walking case encyclopedia, not to mention, another valuable Team Guttah Evidence Lab Rat. And that is a place of honor among many here and at WS. :sleuth:
  13. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Ooooh, now there's yet another question: if the paintbrush were broken in a doorway, did LE ever look for signs of that in doorways? As Elle said, it would leave some damage to the frame, which is why I never would have thought to do that in my house.

    Were there other "splinters" from the paintbrush found by LE besides those next to the paint tray, like around any door frames?

    Were there enough splinters by the paint tray to indicate it was "broken" there, or is it possible those splinters fell off the paintbrush when the killer returned to the body lying beside it, after breaking the paintbrush in a doorway? Remember a paint fragment matching paint in the paint tray was found on JB's chin, along with a carpet fiber; so I've speculated that this could have come off the paintbrush just like the splinters and stuck to her chin when she was laid on her stomach beside it.

    This is why I believe the paintbrush was used as a handle to pull the cord; her "urine" was allegedly found on the carpet outside the cellar room, and it was also on the front of her longjohns, so she was lying on her stomach when she expired and her bladder released, it appears to me. The ligature knot at the neck was tied in the back, as well, then it was pulled from behind. For the paint fragment and carpet to stick to her chin, it would appear she'd been pressed into the carpet--to hold her body down against the tightening pull of the cord on the noose--AFTER the paintbrush was broken.

    Also, this is confusing to me now: were the acute vaginal injuries inflicted that night after the paintbrush was broken, then? That would seem logical, why the birefringent material, if it was from the paintbrush, was in her vagina--transferred from the hand that inflicted those injuries.

    But I've always felt the paintbrush itself was used to inflict the acute vaginal injuries--possibly because the person doing the deed wasn't inclined to sexually abuse the child and only did so that night to cover up the previous sexual abuse. So could the acute injuries have been inflicted before the brush was broken, the birefringent coming off the old, rough, already flaking paintbrush? I ask because I've always thought the logical order would have been to use it before rolling her over and breaking it to incorporate into the handle.

    But I am assuming a lot. The green paint could have fallen on the chin/face as the brush was broken above her, I guess, and then stuck there after she was turned over and pressed into the carpet while being strangled--things like that are minute but hard for me to pinpoint, I admit. And this brings up so many questions about when and where she was undressed and redressed, wiped down, etc.

    And the one question I don't know if we'll ever answer: why Patsy's paintbrush at all? She's all over the murder weapon, the crime scene, so why use something to further incriminate herself when she could have used a hundred other things in the home? Is there something about this paintbrush which in the killer's mind demanded it be part of the staging and/or murder? Or was it just a random choice, chosen simply to confuse LE?

    Obviously I can go on for days with these questions....

    Back to the paintbrush, though, because the ligature questions seem to be easy enough for LE to answer: there would have to be "tool marks" on the paintbrush which could be seen under a microscope if it had been whittled, right? What would whittling on it, if it were done by Burke, prove?

    LE HAS to know the answer to that. Of course they do. Didn't they put together a "cold case" team, when Stan Garnett took the DA Office, to look at the case again? The media reports said this cold case team was using allegedly sharp LE from different agencies, right? Please tell me they would ask these questions if 13 years after the murder LE HADN'T already asked and documented the answers.

    Knowing WHO broke that paintbrush is important. Knowing who was CAPABLE of breaking it is important. Knowing WHERE and HOW it was broken is important. The evidence was right there in the basement; it's still on the remaining paintbrush pieces, the "handle" of the murder weapon.

    If we have these questions, surely professionals knew to ask them BEFORE US. THESE QUESTIONS CAN EASILY BE ANSWERED BY LE.

    If they don't know the answers to these questions, please shoot me now. [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 15, 2012
  14. Elle

    Elle Member

    Thank you, Cherokee. I looked on the floor to see if any shards had fallen, but all that was there was part of the paint with a teeny little piece of wood attached.

    Young Burke did like this knife which was eventually taken away from him and hidden in the laundry cupboard by the housekeeper. What's her name? Help! :) It's possible Burk did whittle a lot, but it seems odd for him to pick a paint brush to work on rather than a plain piece of wood (?).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 15, 2012
  15. cynic

    cynic Member

    Much to consider...a few quick observations:
    Do you believe the brush was used to pull the ligature? It seems to me that it was tied into JBR's hair and therefore simply a prop.
    Also, I wonder if the BPD actually tested the functionality of the "knot," (and I use the term loosely,) on the brush handle to see whether it could actually survive being pulled?

    Re the splinters:

    In the tote was a broken brush splotched by paint. Splinters were on the floor beside the tote. It was a major find because the broken brush matched the fractured end of the multicolored stick used in the garrote. The detective had found the source of part of the murder weapon and where it had been broken.
    JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, page 41

    Then we had the experts assess why a tiny splinter had been found in JonBenét’s vagina.
    The cellulose splinter was believed to have come from the same paintbrush that had been used to make the garrote. Although the source of the splinter was never definitively proved, I considered it highly unlikely that it originated anywhere else. And that brush belonged to Patsy Ramsey.

    JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, page 254

    Then we presented information on the paintbrush, the handle for the garrote, the paint tray, and the matching paint on the handle and the broken brush. The splinter in the vagina had caused a disagreement among the examiners. Some examiners said it had been in the vagina as long as a week, but the detectives sided with Dr. Spitz’s conclusion that it was inserted about the time of death as a part of the staging.
    JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, page 342
  16. DeeDee

    DeeDee Member

    As far as the cord fibers found in JB's bed....I do not recall seeing that ANYWHERE else except "DOI", and that was written by the Rs themselves. So I can't really accept anything in there as fact. I feel the garrote was made in the basement...that is where the brush was broken. The brush shards are on the floor. I never saw where the brush handle was tested against the Swiss Army knife or if the knife blade was tested for tiny fibers from the cord.
    When asked about that knife (as far as whether it was her son's) Patsy said "Is his name on it?" Apparently BR's knife DID have his name on it. The questioning LE never answered her. Obviously they KNOW. They supposedly have the knife still in evidence....
    I had read there were fibers in her bed from the hemp rope that was found in JAR's room. That exact type of rope was shown in a modeling photo showing a pigtailed JB in jeans and checked shirt. The rope is placed at her feet. It is a "Country" look photo.

    When Patsy put her house on the Colorado Christmas house tour a few years before, she stated (in a magazine interview) that she put decorated trees in every room, including bedrooms. Each tree had a different "theme", and JAR's had a "cowboy" theme, with miniature cowboy boot ornaments, etc. The hemp rope was a perfect garland.
  17. Elle

    Elle Member

    According to Delmar England's analysis, the garrote was a fake to cover up the original head injury. I personally believe JonBenét was thrown against the bath or toilet which caused the unbelievable head injury, and with this head wound not being visible, they tried to create a murder scene with the garrote. Delmar took one look at this and knew it was a fake.

    I had no luck in tracing his analysis, KK I hate this stupid computer! One minute I can be typing and the next everything jumps off my screen. I have to copy and paste a lot. :( If you have Delmar's url would you be a nice girl and post it for me?
  18. cynic

    cynic Member

    Additional related threads:

    Pages 29 - 31 of "Autopsy Questions"
  19. Elle

    Elle Member

    Thank you cynic. It was late last night and I do get frustrated with this
    Acer pc which is now 1 year old. I had to part with my older Dell - six years old and that was Windows XP. I saw headlines on the net ... "If you liked Windows XP you'll hate Windows 7." True! I think someone's trying to tell me something. Find something else to pass the time. :) My husband's computer also crashed so he quite likes this one, but I am between a rock and a hard place, because Windows 7 is here to stay. Has a lot of good programs but we just haven't hit it off.:( I have had a good run.
  20. Elle

    Elle Member


    I remember this photo of JonBenét in her cowboy outfit beside the rope.
    This little girl must have been exhausted living a very hectic life with Patsy Ramsey. I also remember the Christmas tour.

    I don't remember reading about tests with the knife and cord.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice