UPDATE: Attorneys for Dr. Werner Spitz filed papers in a Michigan court on November 30th responding to the lawsuit, claiming that, given the history and notoriety of the case, it was his constitutional right to present his theory. “The First Amendment gives Dr. Spitz the ‘breathing room’ to express his point of view about it,” the papers stated, according to E! News. “Just as it grants every other American citizen with a hypothesis.”
Burke Ramsey, the brother of JonBenét Ramsey, filed a $150 million lawsuit against famed forensic pathologist Werner Spitz after Spitz suggested in an interview promoting the CBS docuseries The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey that Burke Ramsey was likely responsible for his sister’s death.
Spitz alleged that the evidence showed that then-nine-year-old Burke Ramsey likely bludgeoned his sister to death with a flashlight and that the subsequent binding of hands, strangulation and duct-taping of JonBenét’s mouth was staged to cover up Burke’s assault on his sister.
“If you really, really use your free time to think about this case, you cannot come to a different conclusion … It’s the boy who did it, whether he was jealous, or mentally unfit or something … I don’t know the why, I’m not a psychiatrist, but what I am sure about is what I know about him, that is what happened here,” Spitz said to CBS Detroit. As of Friday morning, the September 19th interview appears to have been removed from the CBS Detroit website.
A lawsuit against Spitz was filed Thursday in Michigan’s third circuit court. “The accusations by Werner Spitz against this young man are outrageous,” Ramsey’s lawyer L. Lin Wood told Rolling Stone. “Such false accusations have no place in an orderly society. This lawsuit is the first step to holding Spitz accountable for his wrongdoing.”
The lawsuit was filed in Michigan because Spitz’s comments were made to a Detroit station, and both Spitz and Burke Ramsey are currently Michigan residents.
The lawsuit also called Spitz, who worked on the autopsies of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., a “publicity seeker” who “once again interjected himself into a high-profile case to make unsupported, false, and sensational statements and accusations.”
Spitz has previously testified for the defense in the cases against O.J. Simpson, Phil Spector and Casey Anthony. Because of his involvement in the Anthony case, Spitz has “a disturbing history of making false statements related to the brutal murder of young girls,” the lawsuit said.
“Defendant Spitz made this accusation without ever examining JonBenét’s body, without viewing the crime scene, and without consulting with the pathologist who performed the autopsy on JonBenét,” the lawsuit stated while also accusing Spitz of furthering the “false and defamatory statement” that Burke Ramsey smeared feces all over the walls of JonBenét’s room.
In the days following The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey, Wood pledged to file a lawsuit against CBS. Wood told Rolling Stone Friday that he’s just waiting for CBS’ window to retract the story to end before filing that lawsuit. So far, CBS has stood behind the special.
“In its desire to match or surpass the ratings and profits achieved by other networks in recent true crime series, CBS juxtaposed lies, misrepresentations, distortions and omissions with very few grains of truth to falsely accuse Burke Ramsey of killing his sister, JonBenét, in its docuseries The Case of: JonBenét Ramsey,” Wood told Rolling Stone shortly after the special aired. “In doing so, CBS perpetrated a fraud on its viewers – there was no new investigation by the phony TV ‘experts.'”
Wood continued, “The accusations of the CBS so-called ‘experts’ lack substantial evidentiary support and contradict the factual conclusions reached by legitimate law enforcement authorities and experts familiar with the actual evidence developed in the case. CBS’ false and unprofessional attacks on this young man are disgusting and revolting.”