Case against Karr dropped: no DNA link to JonBenet Ramsey murder

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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Prosecutors have withdrawn their case against John Mark Karr, the man who confessed to killing JonBenet Ramsey in 1996, as DNA tests do not place him at the crime scene.

"The people would not be able to establish that Mr. Karr committed this crime despite his repeated insistence that he did," District Attorney Mary Lacy said in court papers. Lacy also said that prosecutors found no evidence placing Karr in Boulder at the time of the killing. She also vowed to keep pursuing leads in the murder, saying, "This case is not closed."

Karr will remain in custody in Boulder until he can be sent to Sonoma County, Calif., to face child pornography charges dating from 2001.

According to reports by MSNBC and KUSA, a local television station in Denver, Colorado, tests performed on DNA samples taken from Karr do not match samples recovered from Ramsey's body.

On its website, KUSA says it "has confirmed from two sources that the DNA taken from John Mark Karr, 41, does not match the DNA samples taken from the crime scene in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. No charges will be filed against Karr in connection with the Ramsey case by the Boulder County District Attorney's office."

DNA from Karr's hair and saliva were tested in the Denver, Colorado Police Department's lab over the weekend.

"This information is critical because … if Mr. Karr's account of his sexual involvement with the victim were accurate, it would have been highly likely that his saliva would have been mixed with the blood in the underwear," said Colorado District Attorney, Mary Lacy. Lacy noted that Karr had become a suspect after exchanging e-mail with a professor in California.

Karr's attorney has requested that all DNA evidence be handed over to the defense for examination. His attorney has also requested additional testing of Karr's DNA; however, there is confusion about who represents Karr. Seth Temin, a public defender claims to represent Karr, but at least two other attorneys in California, Jamie Harmon and Patience Van Zandt, are also claiming to represent him.

"The warrant on Mr. Karr has been dropped by the district attorney. They are not proceeding with the case," said Timen. "We're deeply distressed by the fact that they took this man and dragged him here from Bangkok, Thailand, with no forensic evidence confirming the allegations against him and no independent factors leading to a presumption he did anything wrong," added Timen.

JonBenét, a beauty queen, was found beaten and strangled to death in her Colorado home on the day after Christmas in 1996.

In a press conference earlier this month, Karr confessed to being with JonBenét when she died, adding that her death was an accident. "I was with JonBenét when she died. I loved JonBenét. She died accidentally. I am so very sorry for what happened to JonBenét. It's very important for me that everyone knows that I love her very much, that her death was unintentional, that it was an accident."

Despite his confession, Karr's then ex-wife said that he was in Alabama with her when the murder occurred.

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