An Inside View Of
JT Colfax


(Pg 288) in Perfect Murder, Perfect Town
by Lawrence Schiller

J.T.Colfax (Pg 288) in Perfect Murder, Perfect Town by Lawrence Schiller

The following is from the best selling book, Perfect Murder, Perfect Town by Lawrence Schiller (Pages 288 through 291) February 18, 1999:

James Thompson, known to this friends as J.T. Colfax, worked for M&M Transport in Denver. His job was to pick up cadavers and deliver them to funeral homes. On April 28, he went to pick up a body from the morgue at Boulder Community Hospital. The cadaver was having its eyes removed for donation to an eye bank, and Colfax was told to come back later.

At around 1:00 a.m., Colfax went back to the morgue, just to hang out. On a whim, he leafed through the log book, came to the month of December and tore out the pages with an entry about JonBenet. Later that morning, he photocopied the log pages, wrote "All in a night’s Work" on the copies, and mailed them to friends in new York and California.

That afternoon, low on cash, colfax tried to shoplift a photo-finishing order he had placed at Safeway Photo Processing. He was arrested. The police looked at the evidence, twenty seven photos and discovered that the pictures were of cadavers. Colfax found himself in a police car en route to the Denver PD. Which one those people had he murdered, the cops wanted to know. None. Colfax said, he just liked to photograph dead people. Did you murder JonBenet Ramsey. No, he said, he had been in Vancouver, Canada on December 26, at the Royal Hotel on Granville Street. One officer shouted that he was a pervert.

Two days later Colfax made bail, was given a court date, and became an item in the Denver papers. Mike O’Keeffe, a reporter for the Rocky Mountain News, was told by a friend of Colfax’s about the morgue log pages. O’Keeffe passed the information on to his colleague. Charlie Brennan, who was covering the Ramsey case,. Brennan in turn called the morgue to inquire about the log pages, not mentioning Colfax’s name. That afternoon, when the pages were discovered missing, the sheriff was called. Until then, no one had noticed they were gone.

Meanwhile Colfax, who was becoming a minor media celebrity confessed to the press that he’d stolen some morgue log paes containing JonBenet’s entry, as a souvenir. When the Boulder police heard Colfax’s tale, they assigned Detective Ron Gosage to pay him a visit.

It was raining when Gosage arrived at Colfax’s Denver apartment. The log pages from the morgue were lying on the floor. Within minutes he was arrested. On the way to Boulder, Gosage chatted with Colfax. Out of the blue, Gosage asked, "What do you think, are people born gay or do they become gay?" The conversation was so casual it was like talking to someone at a party. "I was born gay." Colfax replied, "Nobody wants to be gay." Suddenly it occurred to Colfax that homosexuality might have something to do with JonBenet’s death. Gorage asked him if he knew JonBenet’s brother, Burke. No, Colfax replied. What about Jon Andrew? He didn’t know either of them, Colfax said.

Colfax understood he was a suspect. Later that afternoon he was formally interviewed. The police asked him to describe the morgue. It was orange, he said, no, it was governmental green or gray, shit, he couldn’t remember the color. Then they got around to JonBenet’s death. Did you know the Ramseys in Boulder? In Denver? Colfax said he’d lived Atlanta but that he didn’t know patsy Ramsey. Gosage grilled him for two hours Then Colfax gave the detective the hair evidence he requested.

Gosage cut his hand pulling hair samples from Colfax’s head. While Colfax completed his handwriting samples, the detective sat there wringing his hands while blood flowed from between his fingers. Next, Colfax’s inner cheek was swabbed for a DNA sample. Then he was booked for criminal mischief and theft. Bond was set at $1,000.

Two months later, Colfax still had not been sentenced for stealing the morgue log pages. He was out on bail. One morning he visited Alli Krumpski at the offices of the Daily Camera and told her she’d look good as a dead body. He’d been drinking. Then he walked 2 miles to the Ramseys’ house. Along the way, two tourists stopped and asked him where Patsy Ramsey lived. "I think it’s up here," he said, motioning them to follow him. When they arrived, the tourists took his picture in front of the house. The he walked down to University Hill and tried to call Gosage through 911. Believing that the police were after him, he wanted to meet the detective. After he left the message, he walked back 6o the Ramsey’s house. At around 11:30 p.m., he considered breaking in and spending the night but then decided against it. Better to write the Ramseys a note.

"If you hadn’t killed your fucking baby," Colfax wrote, "this wouldn’t have happened." He stuffed the note and some pages from a paperback book, Interview with a Vampire, into the front door mail slot, took a matchbook, printed Gosage’s name on it, and set fire to the paper. He watched it scorch the inside wall from a nearby window, hoping that because it was made of brick, the house wouldn’t burn down.

The next morning he called Gosage again. This time he confessed to trying to burn down the Ramseys’ house, which the police knew nothing about. Within an hour he was arrested. Six months later on January 16, 1998, Colfax was sentenced to twenty-four months’ probation for first-degree arson, a class-three felony. For stealing the morgue log pages, he was sentenced to two years in the county jail with no credit for the seven months he had sat in jail after turning himself in for the arson. By then, Lou Smit and Trip DeMuth had interviewed him several times. Colfax’s alibi for December 26 checked out. "

"I grew up in Colorado. My father was a navy recruiter. I hated school, probably because I was gay. I felt pretty isolated. Then I finally met some artists, and we got to be friends. When I returned from the military in ’87 I had my first sexual experience. Some strangers say my art projects were off-the-wall. In ’94 after my mother died, I wrote a letter a day for a year to four people in Clarksburg, West Virginia. I listed each person’s name and phone number on the other person’s letter so everyone would begin to talk to each other. In the letters I told about getting drunk, buying cocaine, and having sex with another guy. Then I did the same thing in Blytheville, Arkansas. I just picked the cities at random.

They were all small towns. I’d lived in New York, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Denver. The Associated Press, the Washington Post, Newsday, and the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote stories about my exploits. In Los Angeles I saw my first body. In MacArthur Park. That’s when I got a job at a mortuary transportation service picking up bodies. In Denver I made $13 a body, seven days a week. It was a one-man job at hospitals and nursing homes. Two men when the coroner called.

Soon I started photographing bodies with funny signs attached to them. "Time’s up, Yee-ha." "Getting fired isn’t the end of the world." "Happy Halloween." I never moved a body in any particular way. Never sat them up. I just threw the signs on them as they were laying there. It was art. Good art. I included the photographs in my collages.

The morning after JonBenet was killed I was crossing the Canadian border into the United States. A week later I read about her in a Portland paper. I was out of money so I called my father in Aurora and came home. I found another job with a body transport company near boulder. My boss seemed upset that he’d missed being selected to pick up JonBenet’s body. "

J.T. Colfax


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