Weapon used on JonBenet's skull: golf club or flashlight?

Discussion in 'Justice for JonBenet Discussion - Public Forum' started by cynic, Aug 20, 2012.

  1. otg

    otg Member

    As would be expected, cynic, you have really articulated exactly what we are looking at. Excellent work, as always!

    I absolutely agree. All we have is the one photo which can be so very misleading as to the exact location, as you demonstrate in the photos of the orange. And the description in the AR uses terms that can be less exact than what one would need to make an exact location possible.

    In the two illustrations you use to demonstrate the areas you consider the "most probable in terms of upper and lower limits for the depressed fracture", I see how the depressed fracture could be higher than what I had earlier indicated. Probably the actual location is somewhere between these two extremes (I have a talent for stating the obvious, eh?).

    The takeaway from all our dazzling displays and demonstrations is then (if you agree) that the depressed fracture (which is where the actual impact of the weapon occurred) is further back than what was almost universally understood, it is close to the center of the top of the head, and it is smaller than what it appears in the only photo we have available of it. All of which will go to having a better idea of the possibilities of what the weapon might have been, and what position it might have been wielded from.

  2. otg

    otg Member

    Exactly, wombat! The reconstructed displaced fracture would tell us so much. Look at the broken pieces of skull that were reconstructed in the following photo:


    Since there is a small piece of skull in the center, and about five or six pieces surrounding it and going to the edges of the "hole", can't you almost just picture a roundish object (like the round head of a ball peen hammer) causing the fracture?


    If on the other hand, the displaced piece of skull had been all one solid piece, we might suspect that the opposite (flat) head of the hammer had been used.

    And if a cross peen hammer were to be used, we would probably see the very same type of comminuted fracture as would occur from the impact from the heel of a golf putter:
    [​IMG] .................... [​IMG]

    The comminuted pieces of skull would be very telling. Hopefully, the forensic analysts looked at this and have a better idea than we do about it.
  3. cynic

    cynic Member

    I agree, and mentioned the possibility over on OTG’s “X-Ray†thread:
    “With respect to the shape of the fracture, I believe it is what it is, and defies a specific description other than an irregular ovoid. I also think that small fragmentation which may account for some of “odds and ends†in the fracture may not have been specifically documented by Meyer, but included within the general term, comminuted fracture.â€http://www.forumsforjustice.org/forums/showpost.php?p=192312&postcount=33

    The poster, Learnin, who is a medical imaging technologist also agrees.
    Of course, we all could be wrong because as KK reminds us, it certainly seems as if there is only one piece, but, although it would seem to be dereliction of “duty†to not mention other very small fragments, Meyer may well have felt that the catch-all phrase “comminuted fracture†was sufficient for the purposes of the autopsy report
  4. Britt

    Britt FFJ Senior Member


    "When asked again what he thought had happened, Burke advised without hesitation that he knew what had happened to JonBenet and that she had been killed. He stated that he thought someone had quietly carried her downstairs to the basement and that person had then either stabbed JonBenet or struck a blow to her head with a hammer. A chill ran down the back of my neck as I watched Burke twice physically imitate the act of striking a blow with his right arm during his casual discussion of this matter... Burke was replicating exactly the type of an over-the-arm blow that would have been responsible for the head injury sustained by JonBenet." (Kolar, pp. 353-354)

    "Stabbed" with a paintbrush (and train track)? "Struck" with a hammer?

    I wonder if the maglite on the counter and the golf club and bat found outside in the yard were all red herrings planted by the stager(s).
  5. cynic

    cynic Member

    Thanks Zoomama.
    I’m trying to visualize the showerhead that you are describing and I’m not certain that I can picture it without a picture, but just as an example I’ve circled two areas in red that I believe would be able to produce a fracture consistent with the ovoid shape of the depressed fracture found in this case.
    What I find doubtful, though, is the issue of mass/weight.
    Even the flashlight with a weight of 2 pounds would have to have been swung with very high velocity (a velocity that I think was beyond Burke’s physical capability, BTW) to produce that massive of a fracture, and I would imagine that a showerhead would weigh less than that.
  6. cynic

    cynic Member

    The one issue that’s given me pause with respect to a golf club causing the injury is the lack of a laceration to the scalp.
    Depending on the type of golf club and the precise part of that club that would be making contact with the skull there could well be a laceration and a significant one at that.
    I honestly do think that while a putter would have unquestionably caused a depressed skull fracture if swung with enough speed, it would have lacerated her skull while doing so. I feel the same way about either the ball edge or peen end of a hammer, BTW. Those edges are simply not blunted enough, IMO.
    Keep in mind the following:
    By now the detectives had a long list of open questions, and it was growing daily. It was clear that they had to interview the Ramseys again about new developments. For example, the police had learned from a confidential informant at the hospital in Charlevoix that JonBenét had once been hit by a golf club and had required stitches and that a plastic surgeon in Denver had been consulted.
    Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, page 563

    The only scenario that I can envision that had some chance of not lacerating her skull if a golf club was used would have been if she was struck with the socket-hosel-heel portion of a club, possibly an iron.
    (Note that that is also the portion of a golf club that is specifically mentioned by Steve Thomas in his book.)


    The police said that JonBenét’s head injury could have been caused by the flashlight they found on the Ramseys’ kitchen counter, although nothing had been found on the flashlight to tie it to the crime or the injury. There was nothing on the child’s scalp to suggest the pattern on the casing of the Maglite. Whatever had struck JonBenét on the head had left a rectangular hole in her scalp about the size of a dime. It could have been made by the joint that connects a golf club to its shaft. John Ramsey’s partial set of clubs had been discovered just paces away from where JonBenét’s body was found.
    Perfect Murder, Perfect Town, Lawrence Schiller, pages 660 - 661
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  7. Britt

    Britt FFJ Senior Member

    Very interesting, cynic.

    Could her hair have prevented a laceration? In the prior incident, she was hit in the face, wasn't she?
  8. cynic

    cynic Member

    I think it's quite possible that the hair played a big role, yes. It would seem that given the location of the depressed fracture that it may have been quite close to where her hair would have been bunched up in the right side ponytail.
    According to the account here, in the 1994 incident, she was struck on her left cheek:
    In the summer of 1994 JonBenét was accidentally hit on the left cheek by a golf club swung by her brother, Burke, and her mother rushed the child to see a plastic surgeon, who thought Patsy was overreacting. The doctor apparently didn’t understand the importance of an imperfection on a budding beauty queen.
    JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, page 254
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2012
  9. Cherokee

    Cherokee FFJ Senior Member

    Cynic, that is EXACTLY the part of a golf club that I am thinking hit JonBenet's skull!

    Here is my previous post made on July 23rd and the graphic that shows the same type of club.


    Attached Files:

  10. cynic

    cynic Member

    Thirty-third Street in front of the police department was jammed with television satellite trucks, and reporters swarmed. At noon on December 28, 1 ducked into headquarters through the Bat Cave, a hidden back entrance used by undercover cops who did not want to be seen. I could not risk having my photograph taken because I might be back working narcotics in a few days.
    “There’s a briefing this afternoon,†he said by way of a terse greeting. “Be there.†He had every available officer and detective working the case and a to-do list that was growing by the minute. “This is going to be big, Steve. It’s an APE.†I nodded at the police jargon—acute political emergency.
    “We’ve got some problems with this thing,†he said, in perhaps one of the biggest understatements he had ever made. He described how the crime scene had been compromised big time and said we had not yet even interviewed the parents about the murder.
    It took me a moment to comprehend what he was saying. To a detective, the crime scene is Ground Zero in any investigation, the place from which we start piecing together the story of what happened. It is the source of evidence, and it changes from the moment the first police officer sets foot in it. The destruction of a crime scene puts the entire subsequent investigation at great risk because errors made in protecting it can never be undone. To hear that the Ramsey homicide scene had been wrecked was like a punch in the stomach. And it was just as bad to learn that forty-eight hours into this, we had not interviewed the parents. I felt that we were already in deep trouble.
    It was about to get much worse. As Gosage and I sat in police headquarters, Pam Paugh, one of Patsy Ramsey’s sisters who had flown in from Atlanta, was staging a one-woman raid on the crime scene that I could only compare to burning the damned place down. And she did it with the help of the cops!
    Patrol Officer Angie Chromiak told me later that when she showed up to pull a security shift at Tin Cup Circle, she was ordered by police headquarters to ferry Pam Paugh over to Fifteenth Street to collect some clothing that John, Patsy, and Burke Ramsey could wear to the funeral. Even that decision, as kind as it might have been to grieving parents, was questionable, for nothing should be removed from an active crime scene.
    To disguise her identity from the media, Pam donned a Boulder Police jacket, complete with badge and patches. When they parked behind the house to dodge the media out front, Pam psyched herself up for the job ahead: “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this,†she panted as she pulled on the latex gloves. Then she headed into the house, accompanied by Detective Mike Everett. She spent an hour on her first trip through the crime scene and emerged with a big cardboard box filled to the brim, which she plopped into the trunk of the police car. For the next several hours, Pam made about half a dozen trips through the house, often spending an hour or more inside, and hauled out suitcases, boxes, bags, and loose items until the backseat of the police car was stuffed like a steamer trunk.

    Pam’s last trip was into the bedroom of JonBenét, and she pumped herself up again: “I can do this, I can do this, I can do this.†She came back carrying an armload of stuffed animals and other items from the first room in the house to have been sealed off by police.
    Everett kept only a general inventory of what was removed, and even that abbreviated listing was, astonishing. Stuffed animals, tiaras, three dresses for JonBenét, pageant photo portfolios, toys and clothes for Burke, John Ramsey’s Daytimer, the desk Bible, and clothing. For Patsy, there were black pants, dress suits, boots, and the contents of a curio cabinet. Bills, credit cards, a black cashmere trench coat, jewelry that included her grandmother’s ring and an emerald necklace, bathrobes, a cell phone, personal papers, bank records, Christmas stockings, her Nordstrom’s credit card, and even their passports! The patrol car was loaded with zipped bags, boxes, sacks, and luggage, the true contents unknown. This, to my mind, was madness. Once those items were gone, they weren’t coming back, and the police were only in their second day of the official search of the house. Pam Paugh should never have been allowed in there at all. The removal of so much potential evidence, with police assistance, was more like an earthquake than a mere procedural error.

    JonBenet: Inside the Ramsey Murder Investigation, Steve Thomas, pages 55 - 58

    December 27, 1996 Search Warrant Page 6:

    Baseball bat (3GLI)
    Golf clubs (4GLI)
    Pair of underwear (45BAB)
    Velvet turtleneck (47BAB)
    Red clay brick (48BAB)
    Golf club cover (50BAB)Towel (51BAB)
    Tissue (52BAB)
    Liquid from toilet (53BAB)
    Liquid from toilet (54BAB)
    Black & White tights (56BAB)
    Childs underwear (57BAB)
    Childs underwear (58BAB)
    Childs underwear (59BAB)
    Black tights (62BAB)
    Black/red/green Christmas sweater (63BAB)
    Black & Grey girls pants (64BAB)
    Black velvet vest (65BAB)
    Black shirt (66BAB)
    Black trousers (67BAB)
    Garland (71BAB)
    Garland (72BAB)
    Baseball bat (74BAB)
    Satin bow (86BAB)
    Hammer (6BAH)
    Blue sweat pants (34BAH)

    December 27, 1996 Search Warrant Page 7:
    Gray sweatshirt (35BAH)
    Blouse (7JRB)
    Underwear (8JRB)
    Envelope w/carpet samples (9MTE)
    Toilet tissue (10PP)
    Toilet seat lid (13PP)
    Girls underwear (36BAH)
    Mens underwear-1 (53BAH)
    Mens pants-1 (54BAH)
    Girls underwear-1 (56BAH)
    Girls underwear-1 (61BAH)
    Girls underwear-1 (62BAH)
    Gift box w/black velvet-1 (12JRB)
    Flashlight-1 (20JRB)
    Bedsheet (16MTE)
    Five pair of girls underwear (76BAH)
    Two pair of girls underwear (77BAH)
    Golf club (79BAH)
    Black & Gold blanket (19PP)
    One blue suitcase (21PP)
  11. cynic

    cynic Member

    It really does seem to "fit,'" doesn't it?
    That part of a club is blunted enough to prevent a laceration as well as having the correct physical dimensions to knock out the portion of JBR's skull that we see.
    It is similar to what I used to make the imprint of impact in the picture in the first post of this thread:
  12. Cherokee

    Cherokee FFJ Senior Member

    I really do believe from all the available evidence we have that the weapon used to strike JonBenet was a golf club, specifically an iron, and that the part of the iron that impacted her skull was the metal heel where it joins on to the shaft of the golf club. This would explain how her skin was not lacerated, but the skull was fractured so badly.

    From the physics of the fracture, we know the iron was raised above JonBenet's head and she was hit from behind. The long length of the golf club shaft helped give extra force to the blow, as opposed to the relatively short length of a 12-inch Maglite, which would have had to hit JonBenet's skull from her right side to match the skull damage. In addition, the fracture goes forward toward the front of JonBenet's head with the energy from the force of the blow, and the contrecoup bruising on JonBenet's brain is in the front, opposite of the impact, not on the left side of her head.

    IMHO, the Maglite has always been a red herring, possibly offered up by the Ramseys themselves on the kitchen counter, in order to deflect attention away from the real weapon.
  13. heymom

    heymom Member

    For what it's worth, my son didn't have any laceration of his skull either. Of course the physics were different - he wasn't struck with an object, his head hit the ground instead. He had "road rash" on his shoulder. But no actual scalp laceration.
  14. zoomama

    zoomama Active Member

    Thank you Cynic for even addressing my cockimania idea in your post #76 complete with pictures. The weight of the shower head as you say is far less than the weight of the flashlight. However I will say that the old shower head that I replaced was a heavy metal possibly brass. It did have a good heft to it. The newer ones are only plastic and don't compare at all. As I said it was jsut an idea that struck me.

    The idea of the golf club - putter- or club of your choice does not seem like the weapon of choice to me for some reason. The angle that would be needed to make that hole in her skull would have to be very precise. The heel of the putter is not elongated but rather pointed when you view it on end. I'm just not convinced that it is the cause of that huge elongated hole. To my mind the putter would have to be jammed down with the flat bottom into her skull to make that pattern...as if the putter is in the correct position to be used as a putter striking the ball.
  15. Elle

    Elle Member

    Thank you cynic for your terrific post above reminding all of us about
    the Pam Paugh Raid on the Ramsey home. How many other families were treated like Royalty when they had someone murdered in their own home? Normally everything is sealed off. Absolutely ridiculous,but just like everything else, the Ramseys got away with it. True contents unknown

  16. Learnin

    Learnin Member

    Put me on the record as going with the heel of the golf iron. I think that's the number one object of suspicion.
  17. wombat

    wombat Member

    Yeah, I think we've got it. As Cherokee wrote, it's the only thing that's long enough to develop the "thwack" that caused such damage to her head. This makes me very sad, because the golf club would really only be in the hands of BR.
  18. Learnin

    Learnin Member

    Yea, the golf club is designed to deliver maximum force at it's head. Think of the force it takes to drive a ball two to three hundred yards.
  19. Karen

    Karen Member

    I wonder why Kolar opines she was hit in the kitchen/breakfast room area. It must be because he has information he's not releasing about that room/area.
  20. koldkase

    koldkase FFJ Senior Member

    Bump for this thread as we have a lot of information here relating back to the current discussion on the head injury.
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