Burke Ramsey Sues Investigator Who Accused Him Of Killing Sister

By Melissa Garcia
WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. (CBS4)– Burke Ramsey is suing the Michigan forensic pathologist who claimed that Burke killed his sister JonBenet.

Dr. Werner Spitz appeared last month in “The Case of JonBenet Ramsey,” a CBS docuseries that re-examined JonBenet Ramsey’s death 20 years after her brutal murder.

Burke Ramsey (credit: Dr. Phil)

Burke Ramsey (credit: Dr. Phil)

The defamation lawsuit asks for $50 million in compensatory damages and $100 million in punitive damages.

Lin Wood, the attorney for Burke Ramsey, 29, said that Spitz’ accusation put Burke under a false cloud of suspicion.

In an interview with the CBS affiliate in Detroit, Spitz reportedly named Burke Ramsey as JonBenet’s killer.

Wood said that Spitz’s claim was based on information that was distorted, exaggerated, and altogether false.

(Photo by Axel Koester/Sygma via Getty Images)

(Photo by Axel Koester/Sygma via Getty Images)

“There’s no place in an orderly and just society for an individual to go out and use his so-called credentials and his so-called position as an expert to brand this young man as a killer,” said Wood in a phone interview with CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.

Boulder police, and later the Boulder District Attorney’s Office, publicly cleared Burke Ramsey, along with his parents John and Patsy.

In the lawsuit complaint filed Thursday, Wood referred to Spitz as “a publicity seeker with a history of interjecting himself in high profile cases in an effort to make money, exaggerate his resume and claim a level of expertise that he does not possess or deserve.”

Dr. Werner Spitz (credit: CBS)

Dr. Werner Spitz (credit: CBS)

According to Karen Steinhauser, a law professor and former prosecutor in the Denver area, the law protects citizens from statements that cause harm to others.

“Yes there is free speech, but there are limits,” said Steinhauser.

Despite Burke’s recent appearance on Dr. Phil, Wood was prepared to argue to the court that Burke was a private figure, a status that would carry a lower standard for defamation.

“If he was a public figure, Burke Ramsey would have to prove there was actual malice in terms of the statements being made, verses a private figure just has to show that these statements were basically made recklessly,” Steinhauser said.

The Boulder home where JonBenet Ramsey's body was found. (credit: CBS)

The Boulder home where JonBenet Ramsey’s body was found. (credit: CBS)

Dr. Spitz declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Wood said that he planned to file an additional defamation lawsuit against CBS at the end of October.

CBS Entertainment produced the docuseries. Its parent company, CBS, owns CBS4 News.

Melissa Garcia has been reporting for CBS4 News since March 2014. Find her bio here, follow her on Twitter @MelissaGarciaTV, or send your story idea to mkgarcia@cbs.com.


One Comment

  1. Kevin Rhodes says:

    There is no possible way that Burke Ramsey killed Jon Benet Ramsey. He was just a little child, look at the video of his interview. What was done to her was done by an adult, a very sick adult. Even if Burke wanted to kill her, I don’t think he was physically capable of doing the things that were done to her. I hope he gets every dime. That family has been through enough.

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