Brother of murdered beauty pageant star JonBenet Ramsey sues CBS for $1 billion

Burke Ramsey in a screenshot from an interview about his sister's murder on The Dr Phil Show in September 2016.
Burke Ramsey in a screenshot from an interview about his sister's murder on The Dr Phil Show in September 2016.PHOTO: YOUTUBE
JonBenet Ramsey in a screenshot from an interview given to The Dr Phil Show in the US by her brother Burke Ramsey.
JonBenet Ramsey in a screenshot from an interview given to The Dr Phil Show in the US by her brother Burke Ramsey.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

The older brother of murdered JonBenet Ramsey is suing television channel CBS and others for US$750 million (S$1 billion), saying his reputation was ruined after a TV series concluded that he killed the child beauty pageant star.

Burke Ramsey, 29, claims in the lawsuit filed on Wednesday (Dec 28) that the network, its production company and the experts interviewed in the series on the unsolved murder of  six-year-old JonBenet conspired to defame him for publicity and profit.

JonBenet was found dead at age six in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado, the day after Christmas in 1996.

She died from a blow to the head and strangulation.

Police have since collected and studied thousands of pieces of evidence but no-one has been charged with the killing and the case remains open.

The series, called The Case Of JonBenet Ramsey, aired in September ahead of the 20th anniversary of JonBenet’s death.

Burke Ramsey was nine at the time. He and parents John and Patsy were all cleared by prosecutors in 2008 based on DNA evidence.

Patsy, herself a one-time pageant queen, died from cancer in 2006.

The district attorney currently overseeing the case has said it was premature to exonerate the family and has ordered additional tests using new DNA technology.

Burke Ramsey's legal action said he had been "exposed to public hatred, contempt and ridicule" following the series, said the BBC.

He accused CBS of conducting a "sham reinvestigation" of the murder, calling the accusation against him "a compilation of lies, half-truths, manufactured information, and the intentional omission and avoidance of truthful information about the murder of JonBenet Ramsey".

CBS has yet to comment on the legal action, the BBC said, but at the time of the broadcast, the network said it stood by the programme and "will do so in court" if necessary.

It is the second lawsuit Burke Ramsey has filed over the two-part TV series. In October, Ramsey sued a forensic pathologist featured on the show who said he bludgeoned his sister to death. The pathologist is also named in the latest lawsuit, which was filed in Michigan, where Ramsey lives.

The new lawsuit says CBS and its featured experts set out to conduct a “sham reinvestigation” of the murder with “the preconceived storyline” that Ramsey killed his sister and conspired with his parents to cover it up.

“The accusation that Burke Ramsey killed his sister was based on a compilation of lies, half-truths, manufactured information, and the intentional omission and avoidance of truthful information about the murder of JonBenet Ramsey,” the lawsuit says.