Pete Peterson of www.rwpeterson.com
Press Conference - September 24, 1999
Regent Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California
Sept. 24, 1999
Pete Peterson’s Press conference held outside the Regent Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Representatives from ABC, KABC, KCAL, KCBS, KNBC, FOX, KCOP, CNN, Extra and others attended.
Peterson: ...for two years now and we want to announce some of our findings which are somewhat contrary to the official line of Boulder quote-unquote authorities. We think should get on the right track. We realize it's been a myopic investigation there-- different approach--Grand Jury for a year and we think we know who did it. In the next couple of days we'll pass out some of our handwriting comparisons--compare them with the ransom note, and other findings. Some of the people we think they should retarget are -or at least have under the umbrella of suspicion-are one William Irwin McReynolds, and his wife, Doris Janet McReynolds. For those of you familiar with the case, you know that Bill McReynolds is Santa Claus at the Christmas party, just prior to JonBenét's murder. And we think they should be reinvestigated.
RPTR: They've been cleared.
Peterson: Well, who hasn't, besides the parents?
RPTR: Besides the parents.
RPTR: But Santa's been cleared, privately, if not publicly. So why are you picking on this man?
Peterson: No, he hasn't been cleared.
RPTR: He is not considered a suspect. It's amazing I know your case better than you do.
Peterson: You do? What do you know about it? How do you know he's been cleared?
RPTR: Well, if you want to pay me what the Ramseys are paying you, I'll tell you.
Peterson: You think he's been cleared on the DNA evidence? You don't know that because I know the case better than you do.
RPTR: Really. Please, don't let me interrupt.
Peterson: Let's be civil.
RPTR: Why? Are you saying that he should be reinvestigated or that he did it?
Peterson: I'm saying with 99% certainty that he did. We have handwriting comparisons here.
RPTR: But the CBI excluded both McReynolds and his wife from being the authors of that ransom note. How do you--?
Peterson: And who have they included?
RPTR: They have excluded the McReynolds.
Peterson: No, they haven't.
RPTR: What evidence do you have that leads you to think--?
Peterson: I have handwriting samples from when he was a journalism professor. We'll make these public in the next couple days. You know, I think it's been--there are a lot of people who have invested in the parents having done it. I think this thing happened after the O.J. Simpson case, and I think a lot of people didn't like them, didn't like their lifestyle, didn't like the fact that they have attorneys. And they don't want to believe--we could start with the psychological block to believe that old Santa did it.
RPTR: Who are you working for? Who's paying you?
RPTR: Yeah, who's paying you?
Peterson: We started out working for a client in Boulder, a Dr. Steve Dubovsky, whose daughter was molested in their house, and there are a lot of parallels to this case. A lot of parallels overlapped to this case, and--misdirected routes in the process. But we think we're onto the right route.
RPTR: You're saying this same suspect could have been responsible for both?
Peterson: No, no. We excluded the first one, who was involved in our client's case. But in the process, through that process, we got into this case with the blessing of the client. And determined--we know what occurred.
RPTR: So this is now paid for by the family, by the Ramseys?
RPTR: By Hal Haddon. A cut-out.
Peterson: No. I'm just gonna ignore you. Hal Haddon is their attorney--
Peterson: --and he's an attorney, OK?
RPTR: So who is your client?
Peterson: We have no client. We had a client when we got into this case. It was a psychiatrist in Boulder whose daughter was molested in their house, and there are a lot of parallels to the Ramsey case. This person got in the house, hid in the house, after the alarms were set--or before the alarms were set, three hours later attacked the daughter. We thought there were parallels to the Ramsey case, and that's how we got into it.
RPTR: Was the person wrapped in cellophane like Santa would have had to be?
RPTR: Did you call this today because you think the investigation needs to be reopened into the Santa Claus character? Is that why this is called today?
Peterson: No, I think--realistically, anybody that's followed this case realizes that quote-unquote authorities in Boulder--I mean, they're the laughingstock of the country. Let's face it. I mean, they have absolutely nothing, zero evidence of the parents. It's dragged on, everybody's frustrated. Everybody knows it's a stressful case, but I think they need to look in another direction.
RPTR: What other evidence do you have besides the handwriting?
Peterson: We have a lot that we're gonna disclose to them in about two days.
RPTR: Who's "them"?
RPTR: For example. Humor us.
Peterson: We have an entire background on these people, going back to their childhood.
RPTR: Which implicates them as what?
Peterson: Which fits all kinds of profiles. That's kind of circumstantial. We think the handwriting is not.
RPTR: Patsy took five handwriting samples and has not been eliminated as the writer of the note.
Peterson: She hasn't been included either. Yeah, she's cooperated fully. I mean--
RPTR: So was Santa wearing plastic wrap so he didn't deposit DNA? The man's got a beard down to his--here.
Peterson: What DNA is there? You don't know this case. I'm not gonna talk to--
RPTR: Explain why you're holding the press conference at this time, sir.
RPTR: It seems a bit fantastic.
Peterson: Well, if we were worried about timing we would have probably held it on the 19th, just before the Grand Jury is disbanded. We're not worried about timing. We're only doing this because of our suspects.
RPTR: Why in Los Angeles?
Peterson: Because we were here.
RPTR: Because you were here?
Peterson: Yeah, and I won't get in a lotta detail, but it has to do with our suspects.
RPTR: So your suspect is here in town?
Peterson: No, they're on the East Coast.
RPTR: But you just came to town today. So why here, why now?
RPTR: Why are you here and not in Denver?
Peterson: We happen to be here working, and there's a timing factor that I can't get into. A lotta detail that I won't disclose here but we'll be happy to give it to the quote-unquote powers that be in Boulder.
RPTR: Wasn't McReynolds recovering from open-heart surgery at the time of the murder?
Peterson: Spry as can be! He carried his bags on the plane, we all know that. Went to Spain a month later, after the murders.
RPTR: Aren't you afraid he'll sue you for making him a--?
Peterson: Sure! Only if I'm wrong.
RPTR: Well, you're wrong.
Peterson: Thank you.
RPTR: Is it just the handwriting? Is that the only piece of evidence?
Peterson: No, we have other evidence. We're happy to share it with Hunter and the other people there.
RPTR: Why won't you share it with us?
RPTR: When will that be?
Peterson: We'll disclose that in about two or three days.
RPTR: So the only reason you're here tonight is to point the finger at Mr. McReynolds?
Peterson: That's pretty accurate, right.
RPTR: Will you say that?
RPTR: Will you say that for us?
Peterson: No, I won't say that--
RPTR: So that's not why you're here? Tell us why you're here tonight.
Peterson: I won't go quite that far. You said--to get the investigation on track?
RPTR: And you believe you're the man to do that?
Peterson: That's right. I've worked on it for two years.
RPTR: Have you been paying for this yourself then?
Peterson: I could sit down and tell you chapter and verse. I know the ransom note by heart. I know everything about this case that you don't.
RPTR: How do you know?
Peterson: I'm insulted by your question.
RPTR: Has the psychiatrist client been paying you for two years?
Peterson: No, he paid us for about four months.
RPTR: Who was that person? Can you name him, the psychiatrist?
Peterson: Dr. Steve Dubovsky of Boulder.
RPTR: How do you spell that?
Peterson: D-u-b-o-v-s-k-y, probably...s-k-i, possibly.
RPTR: You'd think he'd know.
Peterson: (OFF MICROPHONE) ...home, yes. He was out of town. The wife was there and the wife kept on bringing the guy into the house. He went out, went off the balcony. There were a lotta similarities there. This was about three months after the Ramsey murder.
RPTR: But then you said that--Santa Claus was not someone who was--
RPTR: Well, what was the catalyst?
Peterson: Because we got into it after that case. Working in Boulder, you know, ground level, we came across it. We were excluding people, trying to include people.
RPTR: I happen to know that--I was in Denver for the last two years working--and I believe Mr. McReynolds' handwriting was taken, his sample was taken.
RPTR: And his DNA and hair samples.
Peterson: His handwriting, from the last three notes--I bet you folks don't have it. The lady questioned whether the McReynolds' handwriting was excluded. I'm here, putting the old reputation on the line. I've been an investigator for 25 years. I'll give you copies of Santa, OK? You think his handwriting has been included? It hasn't. (This part waqs garbled) I don't know who--handwriting is a voodoo science. Handwriting analysis is a voodoo science. There's nobody--trust me--that's totally certified in that. It's an art and not a science.
RPTR: Then how can you base your evidence on that?
Peterson: Well, look, I don't want to stand here and be argumentative. We're just here to tell....
Peterson: ....the world that Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey, the parents, did not do it.
RPTR: How did you get the--
Peterson: I studied handwriting for about 22 years. I think this is the 26th [?] year. And the last year-and-a-half I've really devoted a lotta time to it.
RPTR: Is that your background, sir, handwriting analysis?
Peterson: No. I have an investigative agency for 25 years [sic].
RPTR: Have you had any discussion with the prosecutors in the case?
Peterson: We talked to them way back. We sent them some information. We talked to Lou Smit, who resigned in protest because he didn't believe the case was handled properly. He thought the parents were being targeted unfairly and that they weren't looking at anybody else. He was kind of on the same page. Other than that, except for the event of a--you know, vilify the parents in the press. I think they've been persecuted for two years, and I think it's time. They won't have anything out of this Grand Jury because they didn't do it. So maybe it's time to look at somebody else. Maybe they would sit down and look at handwriting comparisons that we have from the real world-- not longhand--against the printed note. Now, all the movie quotes, and we know some other things in the printed ransom note that purportedly Patsy Ramsey sat down and wrote after she garroted her daughter and sexually abused her in the basement of their house, that tie to other people.
RPTR: How did you get this note? How were you able to--?
Peterson: The note is on the Internet, by the way.
RPTR: The other handwriting samples?
Peterson: This is a second generation copy. We got it from a person who's--back a year-and-a-half ago.
RPTR: Sorry, from who?
RPTR: Michael Tracey?
RPTR: Did you analyze this note yourself or--?
RPTR: Would you give us your name again?
Peterson: It's Robert Peterson.
RPTR: Did you analyze this note yourself, without any other handwriting experts?
Peterson: No, I took it to a couple of other experts.
Peterson: There's no such thing as a handwriting expert, by the way.
RPTR: Well, then, so how--?
Peterson: We took it to two other experts and they both thought it was a match, although they had excluded McReynolds earlier because all they had was cursive writing and they didn't have printed writing.
RPTR: Who are your two experts?
RPTR: I'm not clear: If you don't believe--
Peterson: They're in Denver. I'll get them later. I'll ask them if they want to tell you.
RPTR: If you don't believe that handwriting experts have any validity, then how can you say McReynolds wrote the note?
Peterson: Well, I'm saying that it's not a science. It's an interpretative thing. If you have six different handwriting experts in a room, they'll give you different opinions at any given time.
RPTR: So how do we get to McReynolds?
Peterson: Well, I mean, they could ask the--they could ask the person for printed samples, he could copy the note.
RPTR: He has done that.
Peterson: I mean, he's gonna change his writing.
RPTR: Besides you, who are the other people you had analyze the writing?
Peterson: I'll have to get--he's in the Denver phone book. But I'll be happy to get that for you.
RPTR: What is his official--what does he do for a living?
Peterson: I can get that for you. He's a court qualified expert. He's about 60 years old. He did it for 25 years, something like that.
RPTR: What other evidence do you have besides --?
Peterson: We have four other pieces of evidence. We have something to do with their alibi. These two people were in a cabin in Boulder purportedly that night, and--
Peterson: Not Longmont. That's where the mother lives. It was Rollinsville. He lived in a cabin in Rollinsville. You know the case, right?
RPTR: So Santa did it 'cause he lives in a cabin and not a fancy house?
RPTR: Do you work for Ellis Armistead?
Peterson: If you don't know the case, you shouldn't--get on the Internet and learn the case before you come to a press conference. We can't reinvent the wheel.
RPTR: How do you sleep at night?
Peterson: Did you ask Barry Scheck that question in the O.J. thing?
RPTR: You said four pieces of evidence. What were the others?
Peterson: Actually we had four or five.
RPTR: What are some of the others?
Peterson: Well, we're not going to disclose that here.
RPTR: When you say "we," what does that--?
Peterson: We have three people working on this case.
RPTR: Who are the other two?
Peterson: I don't want to answer that.
RPTR: Ellis Armistead is the real P.I. who couldn't come up with anything.
RPTR: Have you talked to the Boulder police at all?
Peterson: Yeah, we have. Probably eight months ago, probably eight.
RPTR: Did you make them aware then of the evidence that you had?
Peterson: To some extent, yeah. At that point it was a little formative. We talked to Lou Smit who was at that time resigning from the Boulder Police Department--from the D.A.'s office.
RPTR: Why go to the press instead of the authorities?
Peterson: Well, what are the authorities doing?
RPTR: So this is to what, put public pressure on them?
RPTR: --Steve Dubrovsky family--?
Peterson: We paid for them, yeah.
RPTR: What's your motivation for it?
Peterson: Well, when I got into it, we were working for the doctor, at his house. Let me put it to you this way, at the risk of sounding maudlin, I have an eight-year-old daughter who was six years old at the time. She likes to play dress up. She also likes to dance and sing. And the idea of portraying JonBenét Ramsey as this lurid little, you know, sex object kind of goes against--kind of galled me at that point.
RPTR: More than bleaching her hair?
Peterson: Is bleaching her hair a bad thing?
RPTR: For a four-year-old? That's when it started, when she was four.
Peterson: JonBenét was evil, ma'am. What media of the outlet [sic] do you work for, by the way?
RPTR: If you're such a great investigator you should know that.
Peterson: Well, why don't you just tell us that? I've never seen a media person carry such a cheap recorder.
RPTR: That's right, I'm just an interested party.
Peterson: Then butt out.
RPTR: You said you would share this with Alex Hunter?
Peterson: That's right, in the next one or two days.
RPTR: Will you approach him?
Peterson: No, been there and done...We're working on another matter here, which is why we did this, and for other reasons I won't detail here we needed to get this out there at some point. It has to do with our suspects. It'll make perfect sense in probably three or four months.
RPTR: But the indictments are coming down next week. Is Patsy ready to be deloused and strip-searched?
Peterson: Patsy? You want to delouse her?
RPTR: Someone oughta.
Peterson: You're convinced of her guilt?
Peterson: On what basis?
RPTR: Would you like to go have a drink and I'll set you straight?
Peterson: No, I don't want to do talk with you.
RPTR: Too bad. Then I'll just talk to the people who matter.
RPTR: How long have you been doing this?
Peterson: Twenty-five years.
RPTR: Are you licensed?
Peterson: Are you a licensed journalist? I'm not big on wackos.
RPTR: Authorities in Boulder must be aware that you suspect Santa.
Peterson: Oh yeah, we've been working on it a year-and-a-half now.
RPTR: Have you had any feedback?
Peterson: I think they're fixated on the--no.
RPTR: Are you going to go to Denver and help out at all?
Peterson: I live in Denver.
RPTR: Well, why are you here then?
Peterson: I'm working on a case.
RPTR: Do you think they'll do anything with it?
Peterson: I think they have to, I think they have to.
RPTR: So you will go in and present it to the D.A.?
Peterson: I'm not going to go in. They can come to me. We tried. Been there and done that. I mean, they're still totally fixated on the parents. There's just no evidence.
RPTR: Well, there's more evidence toward them than Mr. McReynolds, at this point.
Peterson: Are you Bill's wife or something?
RPTR: Her name is Janet. Don't you know that?
Peterson: You're the person who kept calling our office, harassing us today.
RPTR: Yes. How do you do?
RPTR: You know the general opinion is, if not them, who?
Peterson: Well, how do you come to that conclusion? I wouldn't--they lived in the same house, right? If you're a parent, you live in the same house. It's a cliché to say that, well, statistically the parents or the family is going to be involved. Do you look nowhere else? The house was a sieve. There were seven entrances that were unlocked on the ground level.
RPTR: Not right.
Peterson: They were there on the third floor, they could hear nothing. So anybody who wants to has the free will to do anything they want to.
RPTR: Is it your understanding that Mr. McReynolds had a key to the house?
Peterson: I don't think he would have needed a key.
RPTR: There was a chimney.
Peterson: He toured the house the year before.
RPTR: Just to clarify though, his handwriting was examined in Denver, was it not?
Peterson: Well, I've got his handwriting here. I'll let you look at it.
RPTR: Can we see it, maybe shoot it?
RPTR: You think they're just targeting the parents?
RPTR: Four thousand people were questioned.
Peterson: Here's the note. Are you aware there's five movie quotes in the note?
Peterson: I'm not real organized. The professional aesthetic of murder doesn't-- there's an article by Kate Durbin about the play--actually the book that Kate Millett wrote, "The Basement." An adaptation of a human sacrifice which is what Janet McReynolds based her subsequent play on, that was called "Hey Rube." And it's about the murder of a girl in a basement. Now for those of you who don't know the case, I suggest you get on the Internet and review it so we don't reinvent the wheel. OK, I'll show you some handwriting samples. I know the case. If you'd like to call me within the next couple days, call our office, I'll get back to you. But first get on the Internet, know what the autopsy says, know what the ransom note says, know about the movie quotes.
RPTR: What's Santa's motivation for doing this?
RPTR: What are we looking at?
Peterson: (SHOWING TYPED TEXT WITH SOME HANDWRITTEN NOTES) These are classroom corrections. This is from Journalism 1-0-whatever, critiquing movies, whatever.
RPTR: This is Mr. McReynolds' writing?
RPTR: So this is his handwritten note over the typewritten--?
RPTR: And the handwriting matches Mr. McReynolds, or Mrs. McReynolds?
Peterson: I'm gonna let someone else be the judge of that since we're so conflicted about whether there's experts or not.
RPTR: Do you have her's too? Do you have Mrs. McReynolds' also?
Peterson: Yeah, yeah. She didn't write it.
RPTR: That's a small sampling.
Peterson: Yeah, well, right.
RPTR: Do you have any more?
Peterson: Uh, yes. So what else can I answer for you?
RPTR: Is Ellis out of it now and you're taking over? John Ramsey promised a world- class--
Peterson: Does anybody else have a question?
RPTR: Robert, what is the one thing you want us to learn from what you're talking about this evening?
Peterson: Well, I think, first of all, if you're new to this case you don't understand, you don't know anything about it. You can't have an opinion.
RPTR: No, wait a minute. You called for this press conference. I'm asking you a question. What do you want us to report?
Peterson: I want you to pressure the Boulder police.
RPTR: Well, you should have had this in Colorado. (LAUGHTER) Your office hung up the phone on me today when I asked what was going to be reported. They weren't very polite, and I'm just asking you a question. What do you want us to report on today?
Peterson: They should be looking elsewhere.
Peterson: I think I've laid it out.
RPTR: Mr. Peterson, so what you're saying is--there's really nothing new in what you're saying because he has been looked at.
RPTR: He's not a suspect.
Peterson: They've excluded his handwriting. That's a mistake. I don't think that's been done. I don't think there's been much forensic evidence gathered. The evidence they gathered that is available at the scene is so limited that they can't--it's almost noncomparable [sic]. They can't analyze it.
RPTR: And do you think you have enough evidence to make a strong case against Mr. McReynolds?
Peterson: I think so.
RPTR: You might help our skeptical attitude if you give us a little bit more. You're saying you have other information?
Peterson: Yeah, and I won't go into that now.
RPTR: Well, you can see that people are not buying it.
Peterson: Well, time will be the judge of that, OK? You tell me six months from now if the Ramseys aren't convicted and where this case had gone, OK? We'll let time be the judge.
RPTR: Without even charging them for murder the Aisenbergs may be facing a 30-year sentence for obstruction of justice and fraud. The parallels to the Ramsey case are significant. No comment, huh? Gee, I can't understand.
RPTR: What besides the handwriting?
Peterson: We know the alibi doesn't hold up. We know three or four other things that I won't detail.
RPTR: Can you say that again, about the alibi?
Peterson: The alibi does not hold up.
RPTR: That he was supposedly where?
Peterson: Up in their cabin in Rollinsville.
RPTR: Home asleep.
Peterson: They had a little cabin.
RPTR: It doesn't bother you that you could possibly be slandering this man?
RPTR: How can you be sure?
RPTR: Why doesn't the alibi hold up?
Peterson: Who's been slandering the Ramseys with impunity for the last two-and-a-half years?
RPTR: But that has nothing to do with this guy.
Peterson: Let's face it. These people went on Larry King, they went on Good Morning America [sic]. I'd say three different--
RPTR: In lieu of talking to the police.
Peterson: No, I'm talking about the McReynolds now. Try to follow along, OK? They went on three different national TV programs and made statements about--talked about what they knew about JonBenét. So they're public figures.
RPTR: Why doesn't their alibi hold up?
Peterson: Well, for one thing--I won't get into a lot of detail but they're a husband and wife who were apparently home alone in a little cabin up in the mountains.
RPTR: Mr. Peterson, I have to say your reputation has been questioned in Denver. Is that why you're holding this news conference here?
Peterson: Oh, I'm controversial. My competition will tell you that.
RPTR: But you've served jail time, haven't you?
Peterson: Jail time? No. Where are you coming from?
RPTR: I'm coming from Los Angeles. Where are you coming from? What about your arrest?
Peterson: Oh, I had a DUI once. That doesn't make me a bad person.
RPTR: Can you be reached the next couple of days?
Peterson: You have our office number. Apparently you guys found us.
800-366-5860. Go to www--and have a look at it--rwpeterson.com.
RPTR: Who is paying you?
RPTR: So what is your motivation?
RPTR: Somebody put a lump of coal in his Christmas stocking.
END OF TRANSCRIPT