A Personal View Of The
The Internet Subculture
Surrounding the JonBenet Ramsey Murder case
Brett Allen Sawyer and
Lawrence Shawn Smith
|February 21, 1997|
Brett Sawyer, a former deputy with the Boulder County sheriff's office
Lawrence Shawn Smith, a printer at the Photo Craft Laboratories
Charged with obstructing government operations
Illegally gaining and selling photos - Printed in the Globe
|The transaction took place on January 3, 1997.
Twelve days later on January 15th, Brett Allen Sawyer, 38, a former Lafayette police officer and a former Boulder County sheriff's deputy was charged with obstructing government operations.
Also charged was Lawrence Shawn Smith, 36, a printer at the Photo Craft Laboratories, a Boulder photography company, with two felonies - theft of more than $400 and tampering with physical evidence - as well as two misdemeanors - obstructing government operations and false reporting to authorities.
Sawyer provided the photographs to the Globe and received $5,500; a $5,000 bonus and $500 in fees and expenses, according to the arrest report. On Jan. 9, Sawyer paid Smith $200 in cash.
Prior to the arrests, on January 13, 1997 Boulder County Sheriff, George Epp reported that six individuals from the coroner's office and the photo lab that processed the coroner's crime scene pictures had been given lie detector tests in relation to the photos of JonBenet Ramsey that were sold to a tabloid newspaper
The Boulder County Commissioners voted to file a temporary restraining order against the Globe and to initiate a civil lawsuit against the tabloid. The lawsuit would permanently keep the Globe from printing more of the pictures, order the Globe to return the photos. Reports were that the Globe had 7 of the coroner's 113 photos taken.
The media reported that the arrest report stated that Sawyer told Smith he represented the Ramseys' independent investigative team.
|Lawrence S. Smith, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors - obstructing government operations and false reporting to authorities. Authorities dropped two felonies against Smith - theft of more than $400 and tampering with physical evidence. Brett A. Sawyer also pleaded guilty to obstructing government operations.
Both men were sentenced to write letters of apology to the Ramsey family, three days in jail, beginning immediately, and 64 hours of community service. Each must pay $138 in court costs and deliver the letters within 24 hours of their release from jail. In addition, Montgomery required Sawyer to give the $5,000 he received from the Globe for the photos to the Boulder District Attorney's office. Sawyer also will pay a $500 fine
|Smith was quoted in the media as saying,
"When I found out about who had the pictures, I basically died inside. I realized that I was starting to get involved in something that was way too deep and out of control for what I had been led to believe. Brett told me that if for any reason the coroner's office came sniffing around, just to act like I didn't know anything. He said that no one would know that the pictures had come from me. I flushed the ($200) down the toilet, because I didn't want anything to do with it. People make mistakes, and mine was a great big mistake and it's ruined my life
|Brett Sawyer and Shawn Smith Media News|
|Date||Links to News Articles|
|01-12-1997||Daily Camera: Tabloid obtains murder-scene photos|
|01-14-1997||Daily Camera: 6 take lie detector tests in JBR photo case|
|01-15-1997||Daily Camera: Arrests near in photo leak|
|01-16-1997||Daily Camera: Photo lab staffer, ex-cop arrested in photo leak|
|01-19-1997||Daily Camera: Man charged in photo theft blames friend|
|02-04-1997||Daily Camera: Sheriff, D.A. end investigation into photo thief|
|02-21-1997||Daily Camera: Two ordered to write apologies|
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