The 20th anniversary of the JonBenet murder mystery has been commemorated with numerous television programs.
On Sept. 12, Investigation Discovery released “JonBenet: An American Murder Mystery." A&E premiered “The Killing of JonBenet: The Truth Uncovered” on Sept. 5. CBS produced a two-part documentary series called “The Case Of: JonBenet Ramsey,” which concluded Sept. 19. Also concluding on Sept. 19 was Dr. Phil’s highly anticipated three-part interview with JonBenet’s brother, Burke.
In December 1996, JonBenet’s body was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her home, and her parents were the primary suspects for many years. It was not until 2008 that they were officially cleared of any wrongdoing.
However, suspicions have always surrounded Burke, who was just 9 years old at the time. The fact that he kept smiling during his interview with Dr. Phil heightened those suspicions among many in the viewing audience.
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Dr. Phil was quick to dismiss Burke’s seemingly unusual on-camera behavior. "People have commented on his smile, which is purely from anxiety. He's kind of a loner. He's socially uncomfortable," said Dr. Phil to Entertainment Tonight. "When people are anxious, they do different things," he continued. "They pull on their hair or fiddle around, or whatever … for him, it's a nervous smile. I think [some have] gotten past that and listened to the sincerity of his answers and said, 'OK, he's just nervous.'"
Dr. Phil continued:
Burke is not and has never been a suspect in this case. I think people have considered him otherwise because, in the very beginning, the DA and the Boulder PD have acknowledged and admitted they put out misinformation to the media, to the public, to try to put pressure on the Ramseys to either make a mistake or break or confess. Burke has been the missing link in this whole thing because in 20 years, he's never spoken. He is, as I say, the only other person known in the house.
Despite Dr. Phil’s assurances, the forensic linguistic profiler featured in the CBS special remains skeptical.
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James R. Fitzgerald, in an interview with E! News, said Burke’s language, facial tics and hand movements during the Dr. Phil interview were suspicious. “Almost 20 years apart, the characteristics displayed in both sets of video are not all that different from a young boy to an adult. There’s something more there than meets the eye,” Fitzgerald said.