Former teacher John Mark Karr will be extradited to the United States this week to face sexual assault, first-degree murder, and kidnapping charges in the death of JonBenet Ramsey. The beauty pageant star was found beaten, strangled, and sexually assaulted in the basement of her Boulder, Colorado home in December 1996. Karr’s arrest promises closure to one of the highest-profile unsolved murder cases in the United States.
U.S. officials filed the charges against Karr following a tip from a University of Colorado journalism professor who communicated with Karr on a regular basis. The professor allegedly grew suspicious of Karr during the course of their communications, but it’s yet unclear what specifically incited his misgivings in the first place.
Thai and American law enforcement officials moved in on Karr’s Bangkok residence this morning, and took him into custody. Mr. Karr was living in a cheap hotel in a rather seedy neighborhood that included several travel agencies catering to “sex tourists,” as the Associated Press delicately puts it. The hotel rented out its rooms by the month or the hour.
An emotional Karr told AP reporters that he “was with JonBenet when she died,” and that he “only” intended to kidnap the child for an $118,000 ransom. After raping her, he “accidentally” killed her.
In a chilling interview, Karr told reporters that a full explanation of JonBenet’s death would take hours. He said he had sex with the child because he was in love with her, and never intended to hurt her. He claims he felt guilty and remorseful over the slaying, and still feels repentant to this day.
I’m sure he does.
If it would take hours just to describe what happened, how many MORE hours did he actually spend “making love” to JonBenet before he accidentally beat and strangled her? Just thinking about it makes my stomach turn. I can’t fathom how someone could commit such a hideous crime and go on with life as usual.
Karr hid in the shadows, harboring his profound remorse while the Ramsey family languished in the court of public opinion for ten years. During this time, he traveled extensively between the U.S. and Asia for many years before taking up residence in Malaysia, and later Thailand. At the time of his arrest, Karr claimed he was in Bangkok looking for a teaching position. Karr lost his teaching licensure in 2002.
U.S. officials are wondering how he paid for all his adventures in Asia, as he lacked a steady employment history. Authorities recently busted a number of very profitable Asian prostitution rings up and down the eastern seaboard, so I suspect they won’t have to scratch their heads in confusion for very long.
Mr. Karr should thank whatever god he believes in that we caught him before he started molesting little girls by accident in Bangkok.
Thailand would deliver more suitable justice than we ever could.
According to the Associated Press and other news sources, DNA taken from Mr. Karr’s cheek swab did NOT match the foreign DNA found at the scene. The Denver crime lab cannot place him at the scene at this time. Other available evidence cannot prove or disprove Karr’s claim that he murdered Miss Ramsey. The case against Mr. Karr has been dropped.
Currently, Karr awaits extradition to California, where he will answer to charges of child pornography.