Boulder Police Chief Defends JonBenet Inquiry

The Boulder police chief has defended his department's investigation of the murder of JonBenet Ramsey in several published reports, saying more than 160 suspects were investigated and $2 million spent.

Chief Mark Beckner's defense came in interviews Friday with KCNC-TV, The Daily Camera of Boulder and the Rocky Mountain News, and in a statement posted on the Boulder police Web site. Three lawyers who worked with police on the case also defended the department in the statement.

• Timeline: The JonBenet Ramsey Murder Investigation

"A few people have accused the department of focusing too narrowly in its investigation of this homicide when that was not the case," Beckner said in the statement. "People who have spoken out that way have relied on the department's inability to discuss case specifics, but I cannot allow the misperceptions to go unanswered any longer."

The Ramsey family has criticized police, saying the department focused on them at the exclusion of evidence that an intruder killed the 6-year-old beauty queen in December 1996. He told the News that notion was "an urban myth."

Beckner, a year after the killing, said the Ramseys remained "under an umbrella of suspicion" in their daughter's death.

Beckner did not return a call to his home seeking comment.

Beckner told KCNC: "For a long time we have remained silent."

His department said nothing about the recent arrest of John Mark Karr at the request of the district attorney's office. Karr was cleared by DNA and remains in custody in Boulder, awaiting extradition to California to face child pornography charges.

Karr has asked a San Francisco lawyer to officially take over his defense from the public defender's office, which has represented Karr in the child pornography case since it was first brought in 2001.

Attorney Robert M. Amparan is set to appear Tuesday in Sonoma County Superior Court.

"I hope that people will keep an open mind and remember that we don't have thought police and that a person is presumed innocent," Amparan said. Karr pleaded not guilty in 2001 to all five counts.

The sheriff's office refused Saturday morning to take questions about when Karr would leave for California.

Beckner disputed claims by former prosecutor Lawrence "Trip" DeMuth, who told the News that leads were ignored and that his staff was barred from doing its own investigation.

More coverage available in's Crime Center.