TODAY   |  October 26, 2013

Jury sought to indict parents in JonBenet case

A judge has released documents showing that a grand jury returned indictments against John and Patsy Ramsey in the death of their 6-year-old daughter JonBenet, who was found murdered in her home in 1996. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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>>> 14 years after the jonbenet ramsey grand jury returned an indictment the once sealed documents are now public record . they wanted to indict the parents of jonbenet but charges were never filed. mike taibbi has more.

>> reporter: a crime that scraped a national nerve. a 6-year-old beauty queen jon pa benoit ramsey found murdered in her own home in christmas 1996 . now revealed a grand jury investigating the case indicted her parents saying each did knowingly permit a child to be unreasonably placed in a situation that posed an injury which resulted in the death of jonbenet and each rendered suspected of a murder of a crime. the d.a. declined to prosecute the ramsey 's or anybody else.

>> if we do not have the sufficient of evidence to warrant the filing of charges against anyone who has been investigated at this time.

>> reporter: later, the d.a.'s office exonerated the ramsey 's completely citing new dna evidence pointing to an unknown male suspect, a suspect never identified. legal experts say that often an indictment does not equate to a prosecutable case.

>> it's really not that hard for prosecutors to get an indictment, but just because they get an indictment doesn't mean that they really have the evidence to win at trial.

>> we still don't know who killed jonbenet ramsey . these documents don't answer that question and we may never know the answer to that question.

>> reporter: all of the judge relieved with the indictments themselves. none of the evidence and none of the thousands of pages of documents considered by the grand jury . one of jonbenet ramsey 's attorneys says --

>> in the minds of many, i'm sure that they will seize this as some evidence that john and patsy ramsey were somehow involved but it's not evidence.

>> reporter: news of that long ago indictment has no intact on the jonbenet murder investigation which remains open, basically inactive, and still unsolved. for "today," mike taibbi , boulder, colorado.

>> nice to see you this morning.

>> good morning.

>> as i might point out this doesn't change things at this point. we have learned there wasn't enough evidence in those documents.

>> right.

>> why were the records sealed?

>> because it's an ongoing investigation and one of the arguments that john ramsey 's attorney made why release this now? obviously, if there is an ongoing investigation, why are you distributing these little tidbits because now this only serves to paint him in a negative light. is there no new information. the only new information we know now is that there was an indictment and the prosecutor didn't go forward.

>> are you surprised the judge did decide to release them?

>> i do because there was such controversy over this case because, obviously, john ramsey was under a cloud of suspicion. she was strangled and bludgeoned and sexual abuse .

>> we saw the charges that the grand jury wanted, one count of child abuse , one accessory to a crime. as we mentioned the evidence was not relieved but what kind of evidence would there have to have been to go along with that kind of charge?

>> well, any criminal defense attorney will tell you that you can indict a ham sandwich . so we don't know what kind of evidence that they had and, obviously, they didn't because the prosecutor reneged and said i'm not going forward with a formal indictment, therefore, i don't know why they went to grand jury in the first place if the prosecutor reviewed it and said there's not enough evidence.

>> is there a chance do you think in the future we will see some of that evidence was and will it be released?

>> people get hit by lightning and win the lottery and it is a rare thing. it happened in new york we saw 20 years, baby hope that murder was solved but it's very rare.

>> sadly, you're not holding out hope we are going to have a resolution in this case?

>> miracles do happen.

>> we will watch it with