Archive for January 2010

Columbine: Anatomy of a Coverup

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April 30, 1999:

  • JCSO lieutenant John Kiekbusch (center)
  • Jeffco DA Dave Thomas (right)
  • Sheriff Stone did not appear

tell the official story of Columbine at a press conference.

Anatomy of a Coverup

Days after the Columbine shootings, Jeffco officials were already lying about what they knew. What about now?

By Alan Prendergast

Originally published: September 30, 2004

It took five years, a state grand jury and key evidence from a reluctant witness, but families who lost children in the attack on Columbine High School finally had their worst suspicions confirmed: Top Jefferson County leaders knew something awful about prior police investigations of killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and they’d known it since shortly after the 1999 shootings.

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Excerpt from Bomb Search Warrant:

columbine-bomb-search-warrant-300x2251The officials knew plenty, denied most of it, and hid as much as they could for as long as they could. Called by Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar, the grand jury released a summary of its findings two weeks ago. Although the probe of missing police documents resulted in no indictments, it did raise questions about “suspicious” actions by theJ efferson County Sheriff’s Office brass, including the shredding of a large pile of Columbine files.

Most stunning of all, the report charged that a few days after the massacre, several high-ranking county officials met secretly and resolved to suppress key documents stemming from the JCSO’s earlier investigation of Harris, to treat them as if they didn’t exist — in short, to lie about them.

“It’s amazing,” says Brian Rohrbough, whose son, Dan, died on the steps of Columbine. “While we were planning a funeral, these guys were already planning a cover-up.”

Several former and current county officials have disputed the grand jury report, including District Attorney Dave Thomas, who attended the private meeting but has disavowed any role in the subsequent cover-up. (Thomas is now running for Congress, and the Colorado Democratic Party has bemoaned the fact that he’s the target of a smear campaign by unholy,unnamed forces.)

Yet the trail of duplicity surrounding the Columbine files is far more extensive, and disturbing, than the report indicates. In their quest to protect their own hides and careers, a pack of Jeffco bureaucrats misled victims’ families and the public, trashed the state’s public-records law, and thumbed their noses at civil subpoenas and court orders. The conspiracy of silence held fast for 64 months, until the threat of criminal prosecution finally cracked it. Why would so-called public servants do such a thing? The delicately worded grand jury report doesn’t delve into such matters, but it’s clear that the county had a major public-relations and legal nightmare on its hands on April 20, 1999, and that some officials were grappling with it even before the smoke and screams had dissipated at Columbine. Thirteen people were dead,another two dozen wounded, all at the hands of Klebold and Harris — who’d been the subject of several complaints to local police over the previous two years.

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Some aspects of the pair’s contacts with law enforcement, such as their 1998 arrest for burglary and participation in a juvenile diversion program run by the district attorney, were bound to come out soon. But the most embarrassing case was one that never led to a prosecution: The reports filed by Randy and Judy Brown against Harris, who’d boasted on his website about blowing up pipe bombs and had threatened to kill the Browns’ oldest son, Brooks.

Almost a year before the shootings, JCSO bomb investigator Mike Guerra looked into the matter, even drafting an affidavit for a warrant to search Harris’s home. But the warrant was never submitted to a judge, and the investigation was abandoned after Guerra was reportedly told by a supervisor, Lieutenant John Kiekbusch, that he didn’t have enough evidence to proceed.

Given the arsenal in his room, as well as writings dealing with the planned attack on Columbine that Harris was assembling a year before the shootings, it’s possible that pursuing the search warrant could have averted the whole tragedy (“I’m Full of Hate and I Love It,”December 6, 2001).

Several JCSO officials were evidently briefed on Guerra’s affidavit hours after the shootings. Former undersheriff John Dunaway told Salazar’s investigators that he discussed the affidavit with District Attorney Thomas as early as the day of the attack. He thought he had “several discussions” with Thomas about the matter over the next few days, in which Thomas assured him that Guerra never had probable cause for a warrant. At the same time, investigator Kate Battan used material from Guerra’s investigation to help prepare the search warrants that were served on the Harris and Klebold homes after the attack; sealed by court order, those warrants weren’t made public for several more years.

A few days after the shootings, according to the grand jury report, the upper echelon of the sheriff’s office — including Sheriff John Stone, Dunaway, Kiekbusch, public information officer Steve Davis and the hapless Guerra — met quietly with Thomas, Assistant DA Kathy Sasak,County Attorney Frank Hutfless and two of his assistants, William Tuthill and Lily Oeffler, and others.

The meeting was held in an out-of-the-way Jefferson County Open Space office, and the principal item on the agenda was Guerra’s affidavit. Reporters were already sniffing around the Brown complaint; the JCSO had first denied that any report was taken, then decided to release it, minus the subsequent investigative paperwork.

By the end of the meeting,authorities had decided that they would not disclose the existence of the Guerra affidavit,either. Thomas maintains that he was at the meeting simply to render an opinion on the probable cause issue; he insists he didn’t know of the decision to suppress the document. But in the days that followed, the sheriff’s office didn’t just omit mention of the affidavit. Their people lied about what the Browns told them and the extent of their investigation of Harris,misleading the world press about it all. And Dave Thomas went along for the ride.

At a press conference on April 30, Steve Davis read a press release that purported to explain what deputies did in response to the Browns’ complaints about Harris. The statement, drafted by Lieutenant Jeff Shrader, was the start of a long-running disinformation campaign targeting the Browns. It contained several statements that simply weren’t true, some of them flatly contradicted by the information in Guerra’s affidavit. But then, nobody was going to mention that damning piece of paper. (Stung by the grand jury’s criticism of his role, Shrader issued a response of the I-was-only-following-orders variety: Since County Attorney Hutfless and Thomas both thought Guerra’s affidavit wouldn’t stand up in court, “Mr. Shrader gave due deference to the conclusions of these officials.”)

Fielding questions from reporters, Kiekbusch reiterated some of the same falsehoods. No, the investigator hadn’t been able to find any pipe bombs in the county that matched Harris’s description of the ones he was building. (Guerra had found one.) No, there was no record that the Browns had met with investigator John Hicks. (The affidavit noted the meeting.) No, the investigators hadn’t been able to locate information about Harris on the Internet. (Guerra would later tell Salazar’s people that a JCSO computer expert had been unable to access the website but did find Harris’s AOL profile.)

The man who by some accounts had pulled the plug on Guerra’s investigation was now assuring everyone there was no investigation worth mentioning. District Attorney Thomas stood at the podium with Kiekbusch and Davis and took it all in,then answered some questions himself. At no point did he contradict the torrent of mendacity flowing from the sheriff’s office — which he knew to be mendacity, evidently, having been consulted on the Guerra affidavit extensively at this point.

Instead, Thomas added to the misinformation, stating that prior to the shootings, no one had connected the pipe-bomb case to the two youths who were in his diversion program. This is one of the biggest remaining myths about Columbine. Actually, Hicks had mentioned the prior burglary case to the Browns; Guerra recalls finding the case in his own check of Harris’s record (despite the JCSO claim that Harris cleared the computer check); and an investigator from Thomas’s own office had found the burglary case in 1998 after being contacted by Judy Brown about the pipe bombs.

Yet even though the kid making bombs and death threats was already on probation, nobody did anything about it. “I think it’s very difficult and painful to look back and ask a lot of questions about what could have prevented this,” Thomas told the assembled press. But Thomas was hardly alone in his complicity.

Over the next two years, the Browns and news organizations filed numerous open-records requests with the county attorney, trying to track down the missing pieces of the reports generated by the Browns’ complaints about Harris. Tuthill and Oeffler invariably responded that the documents did not exist, that everything connected with the Browns’ complaints had already been released.

Lawyers preparing civil suits on behalf of victims’ families got the same response. Actually, copies of many of the records in question had been provided to the county attorney shortly after the shootings, in anticipation of future litigation — and then locked away. County Attorney Tuthill, who replaced Hutfless in 2001, had no trouble locating his office’s copies of the “missing” records when the attorney general’s investigators came calling a few months ago. The Browns also requested an internal investigation from the sheriff’s office, in an effort to clear up discrepancies in their record hunt and the rumors they were hearing of a botched search warrant. As the Browns recall it, the officer handling the probe seemed more interested in pumping them to find out where they’d heard that such a document existed.

In a letter dated August 14, 2000, Undersheriff Dunaway airily dismissed their complaint: “There is no indication that anyone tampered with or withheld entry of information related to Eric Harris. “Months earlier, Kiekbusch told Westword that the records the Browns were after had either been routinely purged from the system or had never existed.

But that was long before the files would have been purged, under the JCSO’s record-retention policy, and no one has ever been able to explain why the department would purge records that had some bearing on the largest criminal investigation in Colorado history.

In any case, the “purged files” explanation was just another piece of misdirection; the grand jury learned that the sheriff’s office had kept copies of the documents, too, and had withheld them — even, apparently, from Stone’s successors as sheriff, Russ Cook and Ted Mink — until Salazar’s men examined them last January.

The hide-and-seek game over Guerra’s affidavit continued until the spring of 2001, when producers from 60 Minutes II, armed with concrete proof that the affidavit existed, went to court to demand its release. (Point of disclosure: I served as a paid consultant to CBS News on the project and was involved in that court battle.)

The proof came, oddly enough, in a letter Dave Thomas had recently sent to the Browns; after taking a leisurely five months to respond to their demands for a grand jury probe of the missing files, Thomas spilled the beans by acknowledging that “a search warrant draft was started” by Guerra.

Braced by 60 Minutes II about the letter, a befuddled Thomas said he was under the impression that the Guerra affidavit was old news. To the chagrin of the county’s attorneys,Judge Brooks Jackson ordered the document to be released.

The JCSO tried to save face with an Orwellian press release that declared, “A few days after the Columbine shootings, the Sheriff’s Office disclosed the existence of the so-called ‘secret’ search warrant affidavit” –when, in fact, what had happened was a conspiracy not to disclose it (“Chronology of a Big FatLie,” April 19, 2001). But other documents remained hidden. It was part of a larger campaign of obfuscation and outright deceit that encompassed not only the prior investigation of Harris, but the police response to the attack; timelines were distorted or destroyed, dispatch logs and other vital evidence deep-sixed (“In Search of Lost Time,” May 2, 2002).

As long as the lawsuits against the county filed by victims’ families were stopped dead in their tracks, what difference did it make how this was done?In an effort to dispel the suspicion that the county was, um, hiding something, two years ago Thomas and Salazar agreed to co-chair the Columbine Records Review Task Force, an effort to see what remaining confidential documents from the investigation might be released.

Unfortunately, several members of the task force — notably, Thomas, Sasak, Oeffler and Battan– were perceived as having a stake in not disclosing Columbine’s remaining secrets. Oeffler andBattan soon resigned from the task force, while Thomas and Sasak soldiered on.

But it wasn’t the task force that uncovered the secret meeting and the lies that followed. Last fall, a 1997 police report on Harris suddenly surfaced, prompting a mortified Sheriff Mink to ask Salazar to investigate. Over the course of two interviews, Guerra offered investigators somewhat contradictory accounts of what he’d done and who he’d shown his affidavit to.

In a third interview, he finally acknowledged the Open Space meeting and its purpose. It was “kind of one of those cover-your-ass meetings, I guess,” he said. Guerra said he was told not to discuss his affidavit with anyone outside the county attorney’s office.

His file disappeared from his desk for a few days, then reappeared. His affidavit was mysteriously deleted from his computer files, but he suspected that other people at the meeting kept their own copies. Stone, Dunaway and Kiekbusch are no longer at the sheriff’s office. All have emphatically denied any wrongdoing; contrary to the recollections of Guerra and another officer, Kiekbusch told investigators he never saw Guerra’s affidavit until after the shootings.

Thomas and Oeffler didn’t respond to requests for comment. The Browns say they’re grateful that the grand jury released its report, but they’re also frustrated with the narrow scope of the investigation. “It’s unbelievable that you can have this much evidence of a cover-up and yet no criminal charges,” says Randy Brown. “People who were in that meeting lied about my family and what they knew for five years.”

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Unanswered Questions

THE UNANSWERED QUESTIONS OF THE COLUMBINE HIGH SCHOOL MASSACRE (4-20-99)

The seventh anniversary of the Columbine High School(Littleton, Colo) massacre is upon us. Though police blamed it on only two shooters–Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold–involvement by unindicted co-conspirators is highly likely. These questions remain:

  1. Why did numerous ear-witnesses say at least one attacker was firing a fully-automatic weapon?
  2. Why did police concentrate on setting up a perimeter at the same time dispatch(via phone) is hearing the sound of gunshots within the school?
  3. Why did it take police so long to enter the school, and why did it take almost three hours for them to reach the library, the area where the shooters were last seen? Who gave the orders not to go in?
  4. Why did over 100 eye- and ear- witnesses dispute the official theory of only two shooters? Why did over 40 of those witnesses identify other participants BY NAME?
  5. If the two shooters committed suicide shortly after noon, as police claim, how come at least 35 witnesses saw or heard suspects/gunshots/explosions after that time?
  6. Why are there conflicting eyewitness accounts on the place and manner in which at least four of the dead victims were killed? Were victims being moved around? Was the crime scene being rearranged?
  7. If left-handed Klebold shot himself in the left temple, why was his suicide weapon found clutched in his right hand?
  8. How did students manage to keep seriously wounded teacher Dave Sanders alive for more than three hours while awaiting rescue, yet he was dead within 20 minutes of the police taking control of him? His corpse was later found with his shirt off. Is that first-aid? Or a sure-fire way of sending someone into shock?
  9. What was the motive? Why would two teens who were not bullied, did not hate everyone, and were not psychopathic suddenly decide to destroy the lives of a dozen fellow students and themselves just six weeks before graduation?
  10. Why would Harris and Klebold plan for a suicide mission and at the same time make normal plans for a post 4-20 future? Like seeking help on an English class essay from a teacher a few days before the attack, like making a date to see a movie the day after, like putting in a work schedule for the next week, like going to an out-of-town college with your dad to pick out a dorm room, like making plans to visit your old friends in New York.
  11. Where is the gun shot residue(GSR) test evidence for Harris and Klebold and the other suspects?
  12. Why was fingerprint evidence for Harris and Klebold not found on all but two of the hundreds of obects gathered at the scene? Whose fingerprints, if any, were found on the weapons seized?
  13. Why does the official story claim, without a shred of evidence, that it was Harris and Klebold that set the South Wadsworth diversionary bomb (an incendiary device that exploded a couple of miles away from the school minutes before the shooting started)?
  14. Why did authorities claim the two shotguns seized had no serial numbers when later documents clearly show they did have serial numbers? Why did they not try to find out who sold Harris and Klebold the Hi-Point 9mm rifle and the pump-action shotgun that were used in the shooting?
  15. Were the school administrators warned, as rumored? Who was Principle Frank DeAngelis looking for, as reported by one student who saw him running up and down the interior cafeteria stairs right before the shooting broke out?
  16. Why did a science teacher tell his students that they had been expecting a fire drill? Was a bomb found in a trash can on 4-19, as one source indicated? Were bomb threats phoned into the school on the morning of 4-20, as two others claimed?
  17. Why didn’t the Final Report conclude that shooters entered Science rooms 1 and 8, when numerous shell casings were taken from these areas?
  18. Why didn’t the Final Report mention the brief exit of a shooter on the east side, according to many eyewitnesses?
  19. If the person seen on the roof of the school was a repairman, as police claim, why do witnesses say he was holding a weapon? Were shell casings found there, as some said?
  20. Who scheduled ‘crisis training’ drills at Columbine High Schol(CHS) in the weeks before and what was the exact nature of this training?
  21. What was a Denver police officer and a Jefferson County sheriff doing at Columbine High Shcool that morning before the shooting started?
  22. What does reputed video evidence from the library and admin office areas show? Why does local media refuse to release on-scene video footage from the first half-hour of the incident?
  23. What happened to all the evidence taken from the computers of the trenchcoat mafia gang?
  24. Where are dozens of missing interviews of students, especially those in the science hall? Why are there still thousands of pages of investgatory materials that have never been made public, including hundreds of reports of non-Columbine witnesses and tipsters?
  25. Why has the school district’s own report on the shooting, which included the extensive disciplinary records of the trenchcoat mafia associates, not been made public?
  26. Did investigators even try to interview Harris’ psychologist, the man perhaps best positioned to know his mental state at the time?
  27. Why did investigators show a remarkable lack of curiousity about connections with numerous similar school violence-related incidents occuring around the same time in the metro-Denver area and around the country?
  28. Why did LAPD and Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office personnel travel to the scene afterwards? What was the subject of a 10-minute phone call made by the NYPD to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office on 4-20?
  29. Who invited the FBI and the ATF to the scene?
  30. Why was the US Attorney’s Office (federal) consulted on ‘prosecutive decisions’ for this local crime?
  31. Why was all but one of the seven ‘investigatory’ teams headed or co-headed by an FBI man? (the one exception was a team headed by a CBI(Colorado Bureau of Investigation) man, who was himself ‘ex’-FBI) Was the entire crime scene ‘federalized’ soon after the shooting started, under powers granted by the ‘Anti-terrorism Act’ (“for the protection of the people and the state”) signed by President Clinton exactly three years before- on April 20, 1996?
  32. Why did FBI special agent Dwayne Fusilier not recuse himself from the investigation, as his son helped make a Columbine school video two years before that eerily mimicked the shooting?
  33. What were two high-ranking military figures (a colonel and a general) in cami uniforms doing at the scene? Why was a memorial service at a public park afterwards ringed by military trucks? Who authorized a flyover by military jets and why?

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Columbine Rooftop Shooters – SWAT Sniper Footage

Quoted from the 2000 Jefferson County Sheriff’s Report:

12:07 · Deputy Walker asks dispatch to check on the status of the party on the roof.

12:11 · The heating and air conditioning repairman, initially thought to be a possible sniper, is removed from the roof.

12:15 · A news helicopter lands at Clement Park. Jefferson County Sheriff’s Sgt. Phil Domenico is put on board and uses the helicopter’s camera system to survey the school’s roof. He remains in the helicopter for the next several hours surveying the area.

Supporting SWAT Teams Provide Valuable Assistance

“Denver Police Department put out a call to respond to Columbine about 11:30 a.m. and members of its team also went with the first ad hoc SWAT group advancing on the school. Many of its members, armed with AR-15 rifles, provided suppression fire [but there are NO ballistics reports documenting where the bullets they fired ended up! Also, how do you lay down “suppression fire” when you’ve got two shooters mixed up with hundreds of innocent students and teachers inside a large building?] during attempts to rescue down and wounded students outside or assisted in the rescues themselves. Many also helped evacuate students from different areas of the school, assisting in establishing security protection for the evacuees, helped search and secure classrooms; provided cover as other SWAT team members freed them from the building, and assisted in clearing the roof of the school.”

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And here is what we think that Sgt Domenico filmed from that News helicopter:

But in typical of it’s obfuscation of evidence, the Sheriff’s department does not cover the SWAT firing from the roof issue in it’s report: That information comes out later after Mr. Rohrbough (as you will read further below) forced Jeffco to release the ballistics report in Court. Instead the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, in response to multiple reports of rooftop snipers, comes up with this lame photo in it’s official and “complete” 2000 report.

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Columbine families seek to track each bullet

By Howard Pankratz
Denver Post Legal Affairs Writer

May 31, 2000 -The ballistics report on the weapons and bullets from the Columbine massacre fails to identify who fired the shots that killed and wounded each victim.

That was the chief complaint from a lawyer who represents several victims’ families upon Tuesday’s release of the 58-page report by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

“What we lack is the real underlying evidence,” said Jim Rouse.

Rouse represents the family of slain student Daniel Rohrbough. In a federal wrongful-death lawsuit against the sheriff’s department, the family claims 15-year-old Daniel was killed outside the school by a deputy sheriff’s bullet. Rouse says the claim is based on two eyewitnesses and the autopsy report.

He has declined to identify the witnesses, and the autopsy report remains sealed.

Sheriff’s officials deny the allegation, claiming that Rohrbough was killed by Dylan Klebold.

Rouse said the ballistics report doesn’t change his assessment because it doesn’t provide enough information.

“We have not seen anything in the ballistics report that would change that allegation,” Rouse said. “We were hoping it would tell us what bullets were found where and from what guns those bullets were fired.” The report identifies the four guns used by killers Klebold and Eric Harris, the guns used by officers at the scene, and also documents the multitude of shells, cartridges and fragments recovered at the school. It also examines the relationship of the weapons to the recovered shells and items.

But to determine who fired the bullets that killed the specific victims, Rouse said he needs to see the 200 volumes of backup materials upon which the massive final investigative report was based.

“We have no crime scene photos,” Rouse said. “We don’t know what bullets were found where. We don’t have witness statements. All we’ve got are conclusory reports that don’t shed light on what we are looking for.” Rouse’s clients filed an Open Records Act lawsuit against the county in April for release of the ballistics report and numerous other Columbine-related materials.

Jefferson County District Judge Brooke Jackson has ordered nearly all the material released, but he has yet to rule on whether the 200 volumes must be disclosed.

In the Columbine report, the sheriff’s department said law officers fired 141 rounds at Columbine. Twelve officers fired their weapons: four from Jefferson County; seven from the Denver Police Department; and one from the Lakewood Police Department.

Klebold and Harris fired 188 shots.

Among the information in Tuesday’s report were descriptions of the ammunition pouches carried by the two killers. Recovered were three “green canvas ammunition pouches,” and one tan canvas pouch marked “Nikon” with dark brown trim with the name “Klebold” written on the back.

Also recovered was one large, double-stacked metal magazine, which had a 50-round capacity plus 40 live rounds of 9mm Luger caliber ammunition. Numerous 9mm magazines were recovered.

Several families said they did not plan to immediately pick up the report, echoing sentiment expressed after the release of the investigative report two weeks ago. And Mike Kirklin – whose son, Lance, suffered multiple gunshot wounds in the attack – said he was told the report might be difficult to decipher without some knowledge of ballistics.

“They told me I might have trouble reading it,” Kirklin said.

Staff writer Kevin Simpson contributed to this report.

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Columbine Coverup – Part I

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On the tenth anniversary of the Columbine shooting, USA Today had the gall to print, ” Contrary to early reports, Harris and Klebold weren’t on antidepressant medication [emphasis added] and didn’t target jocks, blacks or Christians, police now say, citing the killers’ journals and witness accounts.” This is just the tip of the iceberg in the decade-long coverup by the Colorado Sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies. Unanswered questions abound!

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60 Minutes 2000

As the 10th Anniversary approaches, why are there still so many unanswered questions about the Columbine shooting? Columbine Family Request wants you to know that we’re still chasing down facts and lead in an effort to both get at the Truth, but more importantly, prevent the ongoing abuses that create these horrible events in the first place.

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Judi Chase – Amber Alert – April 18, 2009

 

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In 1994, David and Judi Chase were in the process of adopting two children in Jefferson County, Colorado, when David learned about criminality within the Jefferson County Government.  What he learned, cost him his life.  

David Chase was kidnapped, held hostage, sexually abused, tortured, and finally murdered, and later dumped into Bear Creek, where his body was found 47 days later.

Later, Phil Harris, a private investigator, and retired detective from Ohio, lost his life as well.

Other Private investigators have uncovered extensive evidence documenting the fact that David Chase was murdered to make it easier for this trafficking network to procure legal custody of the twins, and to silence him to prevent him from revealing what he knew about their operations concerning a large child-trafficking/child-pornography network, as stated in the ‘Andre’ Affidavit.

There is a vital, crucial question raised by this attorney, who stated in the affidavit, “This is of grave concern and indicates the need to investigate whether or not the judicial court process [in Jefferson County, Colorado] was corrupted in order to insure that foster children could be procured for illicit activities, etc.”

 

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE JUDI CHASE CASE AT:  http://theportalsmemoirs.com/JudiChasesAmberAlert.html

In this disturbing video, Judi mentions, again, “The Fat Cats.”  It’s logical to wonder if these aren’t the same “Fat Cats” child abductors mentioned in the Jon Benet Ramsey case.  

What’s wrong with the judicial system in Colorado?

  • 10 Years after Columbine we still have sealed records and un-prosecuted crimes.
  • The Ramsey case goes unsolved as do they “Fat Cat” kidnappers.
  • There are three distinct connections between the Columbine Case, the Ramsey Case and the David Chase case: All three families had animal carcasses placed in their yards.
  • David Chase’s goes unsolved along with the “Fat Cats” involved in his kidnapping, torture and murder.
  • Was Jon Benet a victim of child trafficking? Is there any DNA evidence that would shed light on who Jon Benet’s real parents were?

 


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Columbine: The “January Incident”

Sheriff T.S. “Tim Walsh” is the ONLY law enforcement EVER to Arrest Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. Where has Sheriff Walsh gone? Why was the criminal record of the boys buried in the original investigation? Is the Sheriff hiding something?

It’s clear that the real motive for the Columbine School shootings was to get back at the cops, the sheriffs. Why was the “January Incident” never investigated? Also, newly uncovered school video filmed in the cafeteria exposes a gaping question:

What else could be the “January Incident?”

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Sheriff’s History with Eric and Dylan

Click Here to Study the Story

 

Click Timeline to Study the Story

Click Timeline to Study the Story

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Hiding in Plain Sight – Columbine Case NOT Closed

Hiding in Plain Sight

Are Columbine’s remaining secrets too dangerous for the public to know — or too embarrassing for officials to reveal?

By Alan Prendergast

Published on April 13, 2006

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It’s clear that the real motive for the Columbine School shootings was to get back at the cops, the sheriffs. Why was the “January Incident” never investigated? Also, newly uncovered school video filmed in the cafeteria exposes a gapping question.  

Sheriff T.S. “Tim Walsh” is the ONLY law enforcement EVER to Arrest Eric Klebold and Dylan Harris. Where has Sheriff Walsh gone?  Why was the criminal record of the boy buried in the original investigation?  Is the Sheriff hiding something?

Cradling a sawed-off shotgun in his lap, Eric Harris glares into the video camera. He takes a pull from a bottle of Jack Daniel’s and winces. Then he talks smack about the pathetic losers involved in school shootings in Oregon and Kentucky. 

“Do not think we’re trying to copy anyone,” he tells some future, unseen audience. “We had the idea before the first one ever happened. Our plan is better, not like those fucks in Kentucky with camouflage and .22s. Those kids were only trying to be accepted by others.”

With his parents asleep upstairs and Dylan Klebold manning the camera, Harris takes his viewers on a tour of his bedroom arsenal. On the floor, he’s laid out numerous pipe bombs, a shotgun and carbine with spare clips, boxes of bullets and homemade grenades. He models his cargo pants and the slings he’s devised to hold weapons. He brandishes a knife and points out a swastika carved in its sheath. He shows off a fifty-foot coil of bomb fuse hanging on the wall.

“Directors will be fighting over this story,” Klebold says. “I know we’re gonna have followers because we’re so fucking godlike. We’re not exactly human. We have human bodies, but we’ve evolved one step above you fucking human shit. We actually have fucking self-awareness.”

Welcome, once more, to the basement tapes — nearly four hours of posing, boasting and bitching by the obnoxious gods of self-awareness, two teenage killers-to-be named Harris and Klebold. The footage was shot in the last weeks of their short lives, the final segment just a few hours before the rampage at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, that left fifteen dead and seriously injured two dozen more. Seized by Jefferson County investigators right after the shootings, the tapes have been sitting in an evidence vault for the past seven years, seen by almost no one — except, of course, a small army of cops, attorneys, reporters, victims’ families, expert witnesses and assorted hangers-on.

That could change soon. Following a surprising decision by the Colorado Supreme Court last fall, which held that the tapes are part of the “records” generated by the Columbine investigation, Jefferson County Sheriff Ted Mink has been wrestling with the biggest quandary of his law-enforcement career. Should he refuse to release the basement tapes on the grounds that their dissemination is still (in the words of the state’s Criminal Justice Records Act) “contrary to the public interest” — and thus prolong a five-year court battle with the Denver Post? Or should he make the hate-filled rants, along with other long-suppressed writings and recordings taken from the killers’ homes, available to the world at last?

Mink has postponed announcing his decision until after the seventh anniversary of the massacre next week — out of respect, his office says, for the victims’ families, some of whom have pushed for the release of the materials while others have opposed it. But if history is any guide, he will oppose the release, sending the whole controversy back to court. County officials have treated the killers’ writings and tapes as an anthrax-like deadly contagion that must not, under any circumstances, be inflicted on an unsuspecting populace.

“The Sheriff’s Office is fearful that release of this information would not help the public but could potentially cause another one of these attacks,” Assistant County Attorney Lily Oeffler said in a hearing before District Judge Brooke Jackson in 2002. (Oeffler, the county’s point person in keeping Columbine’s secrets, is now a district judge herself.) The county’s position mirrors that of the parents of Harris and Klebold, whose attorneys have maintained that the tapes are private property and that their release would have a disastrous “copycat effect,” inspiring more school shootings.

“Mr. and Mrs. Harris do not want the angry and vitriolic rantings of their son to be made public,” Harris attorney Michael Montgomery wrote to Mink recently, “but their overriding concern is to avoid the risk that these tapes and writings might influence others to commit similar acts.”

 

 


Noble sentiments, to be sure. But the lofty case for suppression has been undercut by the actions of Mink’s predecessor, John Stone, who didn’t seem to have a problem infecting the public with the gunmen’s vitriol when it served his own purposes. Like Poe’s purloined letter, like the bomb fuse Eric Harris kept on his wall and that his parents viewed as an innocent decoration, many of Columbine’s remaining secrets aren’t all that hidden. They have trickled out over time — largely through the leaks, blunders and self-serving half-truths produced by the Columbine investigation itself.     

Copycats and Natural Born Killers

In his official report on the massacre, Sheriff Stone used excerpts from the writings of Harris and Klebold to suggest that no one but the gunmen could be blamed for the shootings — no one at the sheriff’s office, anyway, which had failed to investigate several previous complaints about Harris. This kind of selective editing was anticipated by the killers; in one of their videos, they discuss how the cops will censor their work and “just show the public what they want.”

Stone also gave a Time reporter full access to the basement tapes. Claiming to have been bushwhacked by the resulting cover story, the sheriff was then compelled to let local media types and victims’ families view the tapes before locking them up for good (“Stonewalled,” April 13, 2000).

Similarly, Stone’s office had no qualms about sharing tidbits from Harris’s journal — “the Book of God,” as Harris calls it in one video — in presentations to select gatherings of school and law-enforcement officials. As long as the cops could control the information flow, there was no yammering about the dangers of copycats.

But it was a different story whenWestword and then the Rocky Mountain News published more extensive excerpts from Harris’s writings. The excerpts showed that Harris had developed detailed plans to attack the school a year in advance, while he was in a juvenile diversion program and supposedly being investigated for building pipe bombs and making death threats (“I’m Full of Hate and I Love It,” December 6, 2001). Now officials were outraged that their top-secret investigation had sprung yet another leak.

So was the Denver Post. Tired of getting its ass whupped in the leak department, the Post went to court to demand the release of the rest of the materials seized from the killers’ homes. Attorneys for the county and the killers’ parents responded with a flurry of dire warnings about copycat effects, including one from David Shaffer, a psychiatrist and expert on adolescent suicide. In addition to a 27-page resumé, Shaffer submitted afour-page affidavit asserting the toxic nature of the basement tapes, which he hadn’t seen.

Some judges involved in the Columbine litigation have uncritically embraced the copycat argument, saying the disclosure of the materials would have “a potential for harm” or, in fact, would be “immensely harmful” to the public. Judge Jackson, who ultimately may have to decide the matter, has been more skeptical. In one hearing on the basement tapes, he pointed out that there were plenty of Columbine imitators before the existence of the tapes was even disclosed. All the more reason, Oeffler responded, not to release them.

“What evidence do you have today that release of the documents is going to cause some calamity, or are we just speculating?” Jackson demanded.

“Unless you release the evidence and they actually cause the calamity, Your Honor, the question cannot be responded to,” Oeffler shot back.

“Does that mean I can’t, and no court can ever release them because maybe some additional copycat is going to be inspired?”

“I don’t think it is a maybe, Your Honor,” Oeffler responded gravely.

Yet Harris’s web writings, several pages of his journals and detailed descriptions of the contents of the basement tapes have now circulated on the Internet for years, with no notable surge in copycat incidents. The problem with the copycat defense is that it is speculative and thus largely unanswerable, much like forecasting suicide clusters based on suicide coverage in the media. (It’s just as speculative, perhaps, as trying to quantify the number of shooting incidents that might have been prevented by frank discussion of the Columbine tragedy.) Some of the same experts who consider the Klebold and Harris materials too dangerous for public consumption also blame the massacre in part on “the gunmen’s previous exposure to violent imagery and their study of notorious criminals and tyrants.” Does that mean it’s time to pullMein Kampf from the library shelves or Natural Born Killers from the video store, simply because Harris admired Hitler and Klebold took his style tips from Woody Harrelson?

In several cases, news reports of would-be school shooters note that the suspects had trenchcoats or otherwise sought to imitate Harris and Klebold — but how many were actually “inspired” by them? It’s true that the gunmen wanted their words to find as wide an audience as possible in order to attract followers; but then, they, like the sheriff’s office, had an exaggerated notion of their own importance. The county’s efforts to suppress the killers’ writings and tapes have given them a cachet of consummate evil and menace; being taboo, they’ve become cool. Yet anyone who’s actually seen the tapes or read the journal fragments soon recognizes that these fabled mass murderers are not gods but adolescents. Angry, scared, mocking, disturbed, bitter, pathological, deluded (fucking self-aware, mind you), emotionally stunted and deadly, but adolescents just the same. Behind the blather about being gods and kick-starting a revolution is a bottomless obsession with their own lack of status and sense of injury. Behind the bravado, a snivel.

“I don’t like you,” Klebold says in one of the videos, addressing two female classmates. “You’re stuck-up little bitches. You’re fucking little…Christian, godly little whores! What would Jesus do? What the fuck would I do?”

“I would shoot you in the motherfucking head!” Harris chimes in. “Go, Romans! Thank God they crucified that asshole.”

“Go, Romans!” Klebold echoes, and the two start chanting like sophomores.

Far from adding to the hype, the leaks have helped to demythologize Harris and Klebold. Showing the tapes in their entirety could have some deterrent value, one victim’s parent has suggested, removing whatever lingering mystique the killers still have.

Wayne’s World and the Clueless Klebolds

In his letter to Sheriff Mink, Harris attorney Montgomery contends that the single media viewing of the basement tapes six years ago “should be deemed sufficient…to insure public transparency in the investigative and prosecutorial decisions of executive agencies.” But what’s striking about the drawn-out records battle is how little transparency there’s been.

From day one, mortified county officials did their best to conceal the existence of an affidavit for a warrant to search Harris’s home that was drafted a year before the shootings but never submitted to a judge (“Anatomy of a Cover-Up,” September 30, 2004). They kept it under wraps for two years, until CBS News found out about it and Judge Jackson ordered its release.

Investigators lied to the media about what the sheriff’s office knew about Harris and Klebold before the shootings. They gave victims’ parents bad information about how their children died. In an effort to make the facts of the police response to the attack fit the official story, timelines were distorted or destroyed and dispatch logs and other key documents spirited away, in defiance of court orders and open-records requests. Small wonder that critics of the sheriff’s office believe that, copycat concerns aside, the powers that be have other motives for keeping the remaining materials in the vault.

Some clues to What They Don’t Want You to Know can be found in the basement tapes and in the Harris writings first published in Westword in 2001. The lads boast about how easy it is to fool adults in general and their parents in particular. They mock some of their lamer teachers, and Klebold offers a hearty fuck-you to a sheriff’s deputy who, it turns out, had more contact with the pair than his department was prepared to admit. Harris exults in how easy it was to buy guns and ammo, how absurdly easy to dupe everyone around him.

“I could convince them that I’m going to climb Mount Everest or I have a twin brother growing out of my back,” he says. “I can make you believe anything.”

None of this is terribly complimentary to school officials, law enforcement, the supervisors of the diversion program the teens were both in — or the parenting skills of the Harrises and Klebolds. And it raises disturbing questions about what similar revelations might be contained in other, as-yet-unreleased materials.

Evidence logs indicate that police found much more than the basement tapes and the “Book of God” when they searched the Harris home. Harris left other handwritten notes behind and at least one audio message — a microcassette labeled “Nixon” that was left conspicuously on the kitchen counter. According to a brief internal police summary of the tape’s contents, Harris can be heard explaining “why these things are happening and states it will happen Œless than nine hours [from] now.'”

But the most intriguing, hush-hush item from the Harris home is probably evidence item #201, a green steno book found in a desk drawer. The book doesn’t belong to Eric or God but to Wayne Harris, who used it to write down various matters concerning his son’s mental health, errant behavior and interactions with neighbors and authorities. As a result of the confidential settlements reached in lawsuits brought against the Harrises and Klebolds by some victims’ families, virtually everyone who’s ever seen the steno book can’t comment on its contents.

We do know one thing about item #201: It documents more contacts between the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Harrises over their son’s behavior years before the shooting than the sheriff’s office has ever acknowledged. In 2004, investigators working for the state attorney general’s office used the steno book to track a complaint against Eric that dated back to 1997, a case for which the department paperwork had disappeared. The deputy on the case, Tim Walsh, was the same officer who arrested Harris and Klebold for breaking into a van in 1998; interviewed by investigators after the shootings in 1999, Walsh made no mention of the 1997 case.

Wayne and Kathy Harris have never given a formal interview to the police. Their chief contact with Columbine investigators occurred the day of the shootings, when officers arrived to search the house, and particularly Eric’s room, despite Kathy’s protesting, “I don’t want you going down there.” But the parents’ attorneys have had extensive communication with the county attorney’s office since that day, and they’ve joined forces with the county on numerous occasions to battle release of the steno book and other materials seized from the home. It’s a cozy alliance that has troubled Brian Rohrbough, whose son Danny was murdered at Columbine and who has ended up opposing the team in court.

“Jefferson County has used taxpayer money to represent the Klebolds’ and Harrises’ demand that these items never be released,” Rohrbough wrote in his own letter to Mink, urging him to release the materials sought by the Post. “It is long past time for you to serve the public’s interest in protecting children above the private interest of two families who raised cold-blooded murderers.”

Nothing akin to the green steno book was found at the Klebold home. Tom and Susan Klebold did talk to investigators; five years later, they even gave one media interview, to David Brooks of the New York Times. “They say they had no intimations of Dylan’s mental state,” Brooks wrote. That assertion is spectacularly at odds with accounts from school employees — about chronic disciplinary problems, perceived “anger issues” Dylan might have had with his father, and, most of all, a class essay Dylan wrote about a trenchcoated avenger who slaughters a group of “preps,” a scene so vicious that his teacher felt compelled to discuss it with his parents — but Brooks didn’t press the issue.

Written only weeks before the massacre, the essay wasn’t Klebold’s first foray into violent revenge fantasies. He wrote about killing sprees in his own journal, as well as thoughts of suicide, depression and his dream of ascending to a higher state of existence. The sheriff’s report provides only brief references to this material, which has been more tightly guarded than the Book of God.

When the sheriff’s office finally got around to releasing thousands of pages of Columbine material, a cover sheet for one section was titled “Klebold Writings.” But the writings weren’t released.

The High Priests

One proposed solution to the question of the killers’ tapes and writings, advanced by Ken Salazar before he left the post of Colorado attorney general for the U.S. Senate, was to turn over the materials to a “qualified professional,” who would author a study about the causes of Columbine while keeping the primary materials in strict confidence. The proposal soon fell apart, though, after the killers’ parents refused to cooperate with Salazar’s anointed expert, Del Elliott, director of the University of Colorado’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.

It’s just as well. The notion that only the high priests of social science are qualified to handle the gunmen’s toxic waste, that only the academic elite have the training, the lengthy resumés, the godlike self-awareness to process this information without becoming hopelessly contaminated, is absurdly creepy. It’s Kleboldish.

Besides, there’s no data to suggest that qualified researchers are any better at keeping a secret than the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Lack of access to the basement tapes, the Harris and Klebold journals and the green steno book hasn’t discouraged amateurs and experts alike from producing “psychological autopsies” of the killers, but there are two researchers who’ve had unique access to all those items. The only catch is that they can’t talk about it.

In the course of defending one of the Columbine lawsuits, Solvay Pharmaceuticals — the manufacturer of an anti-depressant prescribed for Harris — retained the services of two expert witnesses, Park Dietz and John March, who were allowed to examine confidential discovery materials, including the tapes and writings seized from the killers’ homes. Dietz and March were subject to the same suffocating non-disclosure agreements imposed on parties to the lawsuits against the Klebolds and Harrises. But after the Solvay case was settled, the pair sought permission to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed journal.

Lewis Babcock, chief judge of Denver’s federal district court, denied their request. In a scathing order, he pointed out that March and Dietz had made conflicting arguments about why they should be allowed to go public. On the one hand, much of the material had already leaked out; on the other, the pair claimed to have “important scientific evidence of the motives and reasons” for the massacre that had not yet come to light. If the first assertion were true, Babcock reasoned, then the experts’ report would be “of no interest to the public” — but if it contained new information, it could endanger “potential victims of those who might take encouragement” from what it revealed.

In other words, damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Babcock was also unconvinced by the idea that the experts were in a better position to grasp the essence of Columbine’s remaining mysteries than a layman would be. “The public is equally adept at comprehending the depravity under which Harris and Klebold labored,” he wrote.

But the public’s adeptness depends on having access to the facts — not just bits and pieces of the story, but the whole ugly package. That hasn’t happened with Columbine. It’s been a sorry tale of lies and coverups, of stonewalling, cover-your-butt officials and oblivious parents and suffering without end. Harris and Klebold relied on just such a climate of denial and deception to allow them to plan their massacre and practically advertise it, without fear that they would ever be seen for who they were.

It’s been seven years since the pair walked into Columbine for the last time, guns blazing. The world has other monsters on its mind now. Yet there are people who still contend that the words the killers left behind are so powerful, so evil that the average citizen must never hear them.

The truth hurts. But the lies can be lethal.

 

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1-30-89 Crime Scene Drawing by Eric Harris

From the Sheriff Department’s records, this is clearly “bates” number stamped, “JC_001-010589.  What does this crime scene drawing by Eric Harris depict?  Certainly NOT a sheriff wearing a star shaped badge walking a dog.  CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SHERIFF’S FILES ON THE JANUARY INCIDENT.

closeup_january_incident_columbine_crime_scene_drawing


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