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Prosecutors: Karr Investigation 'In Very Early Stages'
11:09 AM, Aug 25, 2006
The flight bringing John Mark Karr to Colorado from Long Beach landed at Jefferson County Airport at 5:01 p.m. Thursday.Karr is the man suspected in the killing of JonBenet Ramsey.The plane was originally supposed to arrive at Boulder Municipal Airport. The plane was redirected to the Jefferson County Airport due to runway issues and weather conditions.After the plane landed, it pulled into a secure area where police officers were waiting for Karr. He was escorted by officers from the plane to a black SUV in shackles.Karr was then driven to the Boulder County Jail and arrived at 5:28 p.m. Dozens of photographers awaited Karr's arrival at the jail.A news conference was then held in front of Boulder County Jail minutes after Karr arrived.Sheriff Joe Pelle said Karr will undergo a psychological evaluation to determine where he should be placed in the jail. Karr was on suicide watch at the jail in California where he was being held. In the meantime, Pelle said Karr will be segregated from the rest of the inmate population.Karr will proceed with the booking process that will include taking his finger prints and photograph. His booking photo is expected to be released later in the evening.Karr will be held at the Boulder County Jail until the District Attorney's office determines whether to charge him or not. A judge will set a court date for Karr on Friday and he may appear in court as early as Monday.If Karr is charged, a judge will order DNA testing. Karr's DNA would then be taken to the Denver Police Department lab where it would be tested to determine if his DNA is a match to the DNA recovered from JonBenet's underwear.A Colorado-owned plane belonging to the State Patrol picked up Karr in California earlier in the afternoon.The twin-turboprop Beechcraft Super King Air 200 landed at Long Beach Airport at 12:41 p.m., Denver time. Karr was moved from the Twin Towers Jail in Los Angeles by helicopter and the chopper landed at the airport just at 12:56 p.m.The Colorado plane left the Jefferson County Airport earlier this morning, with a stop in Alamosa and then made the 2 hour 51 minute flight to Long Beach.Several people exited the plane after it landed and could be seen talking to California authorities. The plane was then towed next to the helicopter and a fueling truck could be seen pulling up. Karr left a car and boarded the plane in shackles at 1:50 p.m. and the plane was towed a short distance before it taxied for takeoff at 2:06 p.m.The return flight to Colorado took about three hours.
Investigation 'In Early Stages'
The investigation into Karr is still in the "very early stages," Colorado officials wrote in a court filing, arguing that releasing details about their evidence now could taint the extensive interviews they still need to conduct. "It is crucial that people we interview provide information that is as accurate as possible, unaffected by influences other than their own resources and their best recollections," William F. Nagel, Boulder County assistant district attorney, wrote.Questions about Karr's involvement in the case have arisen since he told reporters following his arrest in Thailand last week how he was with the 6-year-old beauty queen at the time of her 1996 death but that it was an accident. In his 41 years, John Mark Karr has left a long trail of potential witnesses. He was removed from teaching jobs in other countries, married a 13-year-old girl against her parents' wishes, and allegedly bragged to his landlord's family in Costa Rica that he was sexually "like a wolf." Karr first came to the attention of authorities in Colorado and California five years ago when he emerged as a potential suspect in the murder of a 12-year-old California girl. During the investigation, which ultimately led to child pornography charges, Karr showed an "apparent fascination" with the 1996 killing of JonBenet in Boulder, Colo., and the 1993 murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas in Petaluma, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday. "In a few instances while he seemed to be wondering about the JonBenet Ramsey murder, he made uncertain allusions to placing himself in the killer's role," according to a statement by Lt. Dave Edmonds. "However, we never uncovered any 'confession' statements, overt murder evidence, or other indications that John Karr possessed secret knowledge that only the murderer of JonBenet Ramsey would know," the statement said. The FBI helped Sonoma authorities with the investigation, and information about Karr was provided in 2001 to the investigating agencies in all those states -- including Colorado. Carolyn French, spokeswoman for Boulder County, Colo., District Attorney Mary Lacy, said Thursday that she could not comment on the report because it was "part of the investigative process and evidence." Her office indicated in the court document filed Wednesday that its investigation of Karr in JonBenet's death is far from complete, and it described the case against Karr as being in the "very early stages." The document says investigators discovered Karr's identity only five days before his arrest in Bangkok, and that authorities feared he might be tipped off if they didn't seize him right away. "It is like this guy fell out of the sky for them and they're trying to figure out what they have going," said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School and a former federal prosecutor. "They can't really let him go or proceed to convict him until they have the evidence. It's in a bit of a limbo now." The district attorney asked the court not to unseal the arrest-warrant affidavit, as media outlets requested, because it would reveal underlying evidence. It hinted that the incriminating e-mails that led to Karr's arrest have not yet been published. "Our investigation into Mr. Karr is continuing, and there remains work to be done. That work includes extensive interviewing," the document states.Karr remained jailed in Los Angeles Thursday waiting to be transferred to Colorado, which issued a warrant for his arrest."I worry that this information might have fallen through the cracks during the time the Boulder police and the DA's office were bickering about JonBenet," said former Denver prosecutor Craig Silverman. "This guy should have gone on their radar screen."The police department in particular drew heavy criticism for allegedly failing to secure the crime scene, while former District Attorney Alex Hunter was accused by at least one investigator of trying to protect JonBenet's parents. Hunter stepped down and Mary Lacy took over as DA in January 2001 -- a year marked more by libel allegations against former detectives and police officers than any public progress in the case.California investigators learned about Karr's apparent interest in the Ramsey case and also that of Polly Klaas, who was murdered in 1993, when Karr was investigated in the 1997 murder of a 12-year-old named Georgia Moses. Karr, who lived in California for a time, does not appear to be a suspect in Moses' death, the statement said.During the investigation, authorities gathered information from a woman in Northern California, Wendy Hutchens, that included tape recordings and e-mails with Karr. The investigation also included search warrants, forensic examination of digital media and surveillance."In a few instances while he seemed to be wondering about the JonBenet Ramsey murder, he made uncertain allusions to placing himself in the killer's role," the statement said.The Sonoma department also noted Karr made references to two other crimes in two different states, including a child killing and a child molestation. Information about Karr was provided in 2001 to the investigating agencies in all those states, including Colorado, the department said.Ultimately, Karr was charged with possession of child pornography. He fled and an arrest warrant was issued, but authorities said they were unable to locate him. The department said a warrant will be served in the pornography case after Karr's matters in Colorado are resolved.
Magazine: Karr Wanted Closure, Healing
An upcoming issue of People Magazine will feature excerpts from an interview it says Thai officials conducted with Karr while he was jailed in Bangkock.The magazine reported that according to a transcript it obtained, Karr said he confessed to try and bring this chapter of his life to an end to begin the healing."I want them to hear the truth I want closure and JonBenet's family needs closure," the magazine quoted Karr as saying. "All of us have gone through enough pain."Karr also expressed doubts about DNA evidence."The DNA might not match, but you can't trust the test," he told Thai officials, according to People Magazine.
Discuss: JonBenet Ramsey Case