The Daily Camera Ramsey Archive

Seized diary could aid in probe

Potential evidence found in home of former Ramsey family friend

By Christopher Anderson
Camera Staff Writer

GOLDEN — A diary seized Friday from the home of a former friend of John and Patsy Ramsey could become the key piece of evidence against a Globe newspaper editor facing bribery charges.

The diary belongs to Boulder attorney Thomas C. Miller, the live-in boyfriend of former Ramsey friend and photographer Judith Phillips, according to a warrant to search Phillips' home.

Phillips, whose relationship with the Ramsey couple has been strained, is well known for her photographs of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey. The child was found slain in her family home Dec. 26, 1996.

Miller was recently indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on bribery charges for attempting to purchase a copy of a ransom note used in the JonBenét slaying.

Prosecutors believe Miller might have made an entry in his diary that names Globe news editor Craig Lewis as the unidentified individual who accompanied Miller during an April 1, 1997, offer to J. Donald Vacca.

Vacca is a former Denver police officer hired by the Ramseys in December 1996, to inspect a copy of the ransom note, which had not yet been published.

A Jefferson County judge is reviewing how much of the diary, if any, can be used as evidence

The offer for the copy of the ransom note is alleged to have taken place at Vacca's Jefferson County home. During the meeting with Vacca, Miller identified himself by name and said he was "representing a large corporation."

A person accompanying Miller waived a bulky manila envelope in front of Vacca after offering to pay $30,000 for the note. He did not identify himself.

Prosecutors have suspected the accomplice was Lewis, who has written several stories about the Ramsey slaying for the Globe, a Boca Raton, Fla. -based supermarket tabloid.

Lewis was also identified as the driver of a rental car seen near the Vacca residence several days after the offer.

Lewis is a target of a Jefferson County grand jury investigating the bribery case. He is also being targeted for attempting to extort confidential information from former Boulder police Detective Steve Thomas.

Lewis has requested a restraining order prohibiting the state from prosecuting him, claiming a First Amendment right to gather information. A judge could rule on the restraining order issue as early as today.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation learned of the existence of Miller's diary through his estranged wife, Michelle Austin.

Austin told CBI agents that she has seen entries in Miller's checkbook that he received money from the Globe. She also said that he knew Lewis.

She told her two children to photograph a bookcase at Phillips house during a visit to see their father. The photographs showed the diaries on the bookcase, and Austin turned the photos over to the CBI.

She said Miller made daily entries into his diary and would most likely have recorded the bribery attempt on April 1, because it would have been important to him.

She also said Miller liked to keep a diary "because he felt that some day people might be interested in his life's activities."

November 18, 1999 | Print this page Print this article

 

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