Ramsey slaying suspect heads to Colorado
LOS ANGELES (AP) – John Mark Karr began the last leg of his journey to Colorado on Thursday to face a warrant for the murder of JonBenet Ramsey.
Karr was brought from a Los Angeles County jail to Long Beach Airport, south of Los Angeles, and put aboard a waiting Colorado State Patrol airplane that took off shortly after 1 p.m. PDT. A flight plan posted on the FlightAware.com Web site said the plane’s destination was the Boulder, Colo., municipal airport.
The suspect in the 1996 slaying of the child beauty pageant princess had been jailed in Los Angeles since his return late Sunday from Thailand, where he was detained eight days ago.
In Colorado, officials wrote in a court filing that the investigation of Karr is still in the “very early stages,” 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.
In his 41 years, 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 indicted 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.
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 told reporters in Thailand, where he was detained last week, that he was with JonBenet when she died and that it was an accident.
Karr’s family contends he was with them in Georgia at the time of the Colorado killing, while an ex-wife has said she believes Karr was likely with her in Alabama. Neither she nor the family has offered definitive proof.
Beyond first-degree murder, the counts against Karr in a sealed probable-cause arrest warrant include murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault on a child. The charges were read aloud by a judge at an extradition hearing in Los Angeles.
More details emerged Thursday about Karr’s past.
Karr worked as an English teacher in Costa Rica, where he bragged to his landlord’s family that “sexually, I am like a wolf” and said he preferred girls to women, his former housemates told The Associated Press.
John Hall, 42, told the AP in an exclusive interview that he rented a room to Karr in 2004, but asked him to leave after about five weeks because Karr was saying “rude and inappropriate things” to his wife and stepdaughters, then 16 and 20.
Also, Karr received a license to run a day care out of his rural Alabama home in June 1997 after a background check turned up no problems, a state official said. Karr, who grew up in Hamilton, Ala., didn’t receive any complaints before the two-year license expired in 1999, said John Bradford, a spokesman with the Alabama Department of Human Resources.
The 2001 investigation in California was the earliest known time that Karr was brought to the attention of authorities investigating JonBenet’s death.
Ultimately in the California investigation, Karr did not appear to be a viable suspect in the 1997 murder of a 12-year-old girl Georgia Moses. The investigation into her death led to charges of child pornography against Karr. He fled and an arrest warrant was issued, but authorities said they were unable to locate him.
Associated Press Writers Jeremiah Marquez in Los Angeles, Marcus Wohlsen in San Francisco, Dan Elliott in Denver, Harry R. Weber in Atlanta and Marianela Jimenez in San Jose, Costa Rica contributed to this report.
On the Net:
Press release: http://www.sonomasheriff.org/press.php