A judge has ordered the release of the grand jury indictment against John and Patsy Ramsey in the JonBenet case that has been sealed since the grand jury was dismissed in 1999.

Retired Weld County Judge Robert Lowenbach ruled Wednesday morning that the indictment will be released Friday in response to a lawsuit brought by Daily Camera reporter Charlie Brennan and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press seeking the release of the unprosecuted indictment of the Ramseys.

Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett turned over the documents for Lowenbach to review on Tuesday.

JonBenet Ramsey
JonBenet Ramsey (Camera file photo)

The Camera reported earlier this year that the Boulder County grand jury investigating the Ramsey case voted in October 1999 to indict the slain 6-year-old's parents on charges of child abuse resulting in death, but that then-DA Alex Hunter refused to sign the document and prosecute the Ramseys.

The 3-year statute of limitations on the reported charges in the indictment would have expired in 2002.

According to the court order, the documents consist of 18 pages, nine relating to each of JonBenet's parents. It's unclear exactly how many of those pages will be released.

"It appears that the District Attorney, presumably acting at the discretion of the grand jury, prepared a series of possible charges regarding John Ramsey and Patricia Ramsey based on the fact that the child had died and that there was evidence that a sexual assault of the child had occurred," Lowenbach wrote.

He ruled that only pages signed by the foreman of the grand jury would be considered "official actions" of the grand jury and would thus be releasable.

John Ramsey had written a letter to Garnett on Sunday saying he objected to the release of the indictment without the entire grand jury record also being released.

But in the order, Lowenbach said grand jury transcripts and other evidence did not constitute "official action" and would not be released.

"The court is sympathetic to the position of Mr. Ramsey but has nonetheless concluded that as an 'official action' of the grand jury, the 'indictment' signed by the foreman of the grand jury must be disclosed," Lowenbach wrote. "The request of Mr. Ramsey to release the entire record of the grand jury cannot be granted. Such an action would set a precedent that would impede other grand juries in performing their functions under statute and rule."

JonBenet Ramsey was found dead Dec. 26, 1996, in the basement of her family's Boulder home, 755 15th St., several hours after Patsy Ramsey called 911 to say her daughter was missing and that a ransom note had been left behind.

On Oct. 13, 1999, more than a year after the case went to a grand jury, then-DA Hunter announced that the grand jury investigation had come to an end and that no charges would be filed due to a lack of evidence.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329, byarsm@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/mitchellbyars.