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JonBenet DA Seeks More Time

The district attorney's office of Boulder, Colorado wants funds to extend the JonBenet Ramsey grand jury session into August.

The grand jury probe into the child beauty queen's December 1996 killing began last September and is now funded through the end of July.

"We are working on a request," said Assistant District Attorney Bill Wise on Tuesday.

So far, agencies investigating the Ramsey case have spent an estimated $1.74 million.

The grand jury has not met since May 25. During that period, Boulder detectives have been conducting additional investigation into JonBenet's killing, collecting DNA samples from some witnesses and interviewing others on specific details about Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother.

Patsy and John Ramsey are considered suspects in the murder of their child, who was found beaten and strangled in the basement of their Boulder home.

The Ramseys, who moved to Atlanta with their son, Burke, in July 1997, have maintained their innocence.

In another development related to the case, a man who gained notoriety with a feeble attempt to burn down the house where JonBenet Ramsey was found beaten and strangled has been released from jail.

James Michael Thompson, a Denver artist who goes by the name J. T. Colfax, walked out of Boulder County Jail on Tuesday after serving a two-year sentence for attempted arson.

Thompson's involvement in the unsolved Ramsey case began in May 1997 when he was charged with theft and criminal mischief for ripping out a page from a logbook that recorded the arrival of JonBenet's body at the morgue.

Thompson, 34, worked transporting bodies from morgues to funeral homes when he saw JonBenet's name in the book at Boulder Community Hospital.

Less than a month later, Thompson went to the empty home where JonBenet was found dead on Dec. 26, 1996. He set fire to papers and shoved them through the mail slot in what he admitted was an attempt to burn down the house.

According to police reports, Thompson spent the night at the house, then called a detective working on the Ramsey case and told him what he had done. Little damage was done to the home.

While in jail, Thompson -- writing as Colfax -- penned several letters that detailed his life behind bars. The letters, which were posted on his Web site, also served as a clearinghouse for the Ramsey-case rumor mill.

After his release Tuesday, Thompson was joined by a handful of people in a procession from Pasta Jay's restaurant, owned by Jay Elowsky, a friend of John and Patsy Ramsey, to the Boulder County Justice Center.

He urged Boulder voters to reject a re-election bid by Boulder County District Attorney Alex Hunter, who is considering whether to run for another term in 2000.

Hunter has been sharply criticized for his handling of the Ramsey investigation. A grand jury has been hearing evidence in the case since last September.