Facebook Twitter

JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect waives extradition, agrees to be sent to Colorado

SHARE JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect waives extradition, agrees to be sent to Colorado

LOS ANGELES — John Mark Karr, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit and handcuffs, stood in court Tuesday and waived extradition to Colorado to face first-degree murder charges in the slaying of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey.

"Yes, sir," Karr said in a calm and quiet voice when asked to confirm his decision.

Karr, represented by a public defender, kept a blank expression as the judge read the charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping and sexual assault on a child. He slowly closed his eyes when he heard the murder charge.

The two-minute hearing before Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin means Karr could return to Colorado as early as Tuesday afternoon.

The Boulder County sheriff's office said Monday it would not share any plans for the transfer.

"Normally, once an inmate being held in another jurisdiction has waived extradition we will be contacted by that agency and notified to pick the inmate up," Sheriff Joe Pelle said Monday.

Outside court, Deputy Public Defender Haydeh Takasugi said she met with Karr for more than two hours at the jail. Karr said "he was treated very well in Thailand" but was upset when he was refused the right to wear civilian clothes in court, she said.

"It's going to taint any potential jury pool out there," she said. "He was upset at that."

Takasugi said Karr wants to go to Colorado as soon as possible and "get the whole thing started."

Earlier, two other attorneys who spoke to Karr in jail described him as "extremely lucid" but exhausted and concerned.

"There is nothing crazy about this man," attorney Jamie Harmon said on NBC's "Today" show.

Harmon and Patience Van Zandt, who represented Karr when he was charged in 2001 with possessing child pornography in Northern California, said they spent a total of seven hours with him on Monday. Their role representing Karr hadn't been clearly defined.

"What I found was an incredibly bright, intelligent, well-spoken, thoughtful human being," Harmon told ABC's "Good Morning America." She said he seemed bewildered by the attention.

On the "Today" show, Van Zandt declined to discuss anything Karr said to her about the case. "He's been through a lot this past week, and it shows. He's exhausted. He's terrified."

The 41-year-old teacher was arrested in Bangkok Aug. 15 and was brought to the U.S. aboard a Thai Airways flight Sunday. He has told reporters he was with the 6-year-old beauty pageant princess when she died and that her slaying in the basement of her Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996, was an accident. Little is publicly known, however, about what evidence Boulder officials have.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has yet to be asked to compare any evidence from Karr with evidence taken from the Ramsey crime scene, bureau spokesman Lance Clem said Monday.

A law enforcement official said last week on condition of anonymity that Karr was given a mouth-swab DNA test in Bangkok, but the results of that test were not known.

Asked about comments Karr earlier made to reporters about the murder, Van Zandt told NBC's "Today" show: "I don't believe he's made confessions. I think that he's made statements," she said. "Although I can't, unfortunately, flesh out thoughts behind them at this point, I am absolutely confident that what Mr. Karr meant will become clear."

The Boulder district attorney's spokeswoman declined to comment on any evidence in the case.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Karr's relatives says a photo has been located showing Karr's three sons at a 1996 Christmas dinner gathering in Atlanta. Karr is not in the photo.

Lawyer Gary Harris said Karr's father, Wexford Karr, found the photo, and relatives are certain that if the sons were there, John Karr would have been, too. He told The Washington Post and The Denver Post that the photo is from 1996 because an infant pictured in it was born in December of that year.

"If he had flown to Colorado or somewhere at that time, they would have remembered it," Harris told The Washington Post.

Lara Knutson, Karr's former wife, told Boulder authorities on Monday that she and Karr were either at their home in Hamilton, Ala., or at his parents' house in Atlanta around Christmas 1996, according to Knutson's attorney, Michael Rains.

"But if you are to say to her, 'Are you absolutely certain?' she would say, 'No,"' Rains said. "She has not said to the authorities that her memory is infallible."

Still, Rains said the former wife found no photos of Karr that she believed were taken during Christmas festivities in 1996.

"She's continuing to look for other stuff," Rains said.

Rains, however, believes his client's recollection.

"I would be surprised if she was mistaken," Rains said.

Media organizations including The Associated Press on Monday asked a judge to unseal the arrest warrant and other documents involving Karr. The filing noted previous mistakes in the Ramsey investigation and said there is "great public interest" in whether Karr's arrest "is yet another 'mistake."'

In recent years Karr apparently traveled to Europe, Central America and Asia to search for teaching jobs. He taught in at least two Thai schools.

Associated Press writers Christina Almeida in Los Angeles and Robert Weller, Jon Sarche, Judith Kohler, Kim Nguyen and Chase Squires in Denver contributed to this report.