Thursday, August 17, 2006

Don't jump to conclusion in Ramsey case yet!

I already stated below that John and Patsy Ramsey were the victims of a witch hunt. Certainly the DNA found at the crime site would have been compared to their own or would have been similar enough to JonBenet’s own DNA to show them guilty. No such thing happened. They were treated, not as innocent until proven guilty but as guilty until proven innocent.

That said I want to state that we should not be jumping to conclusions that the confessed killer, John Karr, is in fact guilty of the crime either. Now it may sound strange since the man has confessed. But a confession does not establish guilt. Many people have sought fame in a perverted form by confessing to crimes which they did not commit.

Karr certainly would fit the profile of the potential killer. He apparently has a sexual obsession with small girls, which could easily cause him to commit the crime. But it could just as easily cause him to falsely confess to it.

There are a few points that are troublesome. First, Karr was not living near JonBenet at the time of the killing. He lived halfway across the country. His ex-wife, Lara Karr, says she is baffled by the confession. She says they were still together at the time of the crime and were in Alabama. It should be noted that she has no motive to defend him as she split with him precisely over this kind of obsession after he was arrested for having pornographic images of young girls. Nor would she be likely to confuse the dates. JonBenet was killed sometime between Christmas night and the next morning. If John had disappeared on Christmas his wife would have noticed.

She says Karr was obsessed with the case of JonBenet as well as with the kidnapping and killing of Polly Klaas in California. Nate Karr, the suspect's brother, says that John spent hours researching these cases and said he wanted to write a book on why men would committ such a crime. Nate says that as far as he knew his brother had never even been to Boulder. There is a file indicating he expressed interest in teaching in Colorado but he never pursued it and this was filed well after the murder.

Karr's obsession with JonBenet began innocently enough. After his sons were born he went to college to pursue a degree. He wrote a paper for one of his classes regarding the murder. His professor was impressed and urged him to consider writing a book on the topic.

The brother says John lived in Alabama until about four of five years ago when he moved to Petaluma, which was the home of Polly Klaas. He clearly has no links to that case as Polly's killer was apprehended. Nate Karr says that John was writing people who had committed such crimes trying to get into their heads and thought he had written Polly’s killer in prison.

It appears that Karr became a suspect after he corresponded with a Colorado university professor who had done a documentary Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey?. The professor, Michael Tracey, had an ongoing email correspondence with Karr and as time passed Karr started making comments about being present at the crime scene. As the comments became more startling Tracey contacted the police who encouraged him to continue corresponding with Karr. Karr also wrote letters to Patsy Ramsey during this time.

The critical evidence in the case are the DNA samples taken from JonBenet. And it is clear that at the time of his arrest the police had no idea whether Karr's DNA matched or not. His first DNA sample was only taken after his arrest e so it will be a few days before the results are known. And one news report stated:

“ A lawyer for the Ramseys told MSNBC that Karr was arrested only on his confession and the fact that he knew things about the case that police believe only the killer would know.” There were conflicting press reports out which said the Ramseys had mentioedn Karr as a suspect originally but others say they never heard of him until recently.

If this report is correct, and Karr was arrested based only on the facts he knew and his confession, then the police may well have a problem. The problem could be that Karr knows these facts because he was obsessive about the case and spent years researching it. They would need to explain how he could disappear at Christmas from his home in Alabama, go to Colorado, kill the child and return to Alabama without his now estranged wife noticing his absence.

The current prosecutor in this case was very reserved in her press conference urging the media and the public not to judge the case. She admitted that Karr was arrested without any hard evidence saying: "There are circumstances that exist in any case that mandate an arrest before an investigation is complete." She urged everyone to "heed the poingnant advice of John Ramsey yesterday. He said do not jump to conclusions, do not rush to judgment, do not speculate, let the justice system takes its course."

Even Professor Tracey, whose correspondence with Karr led to the arrest, urged people to be cautious. He said he doesn't know if Karr is guilty and said "Let him hve his day in court." He said: "Anyone who's covered this case knows there's a lot of wingnuts out there." Asked if he doubted Karr's confession he said: "I'm trained to be sceptical" and that he turned the situation over to police because he felt it was the responsible thing to do.

Of course if the DNA matches then that, with his confession, would clinch the case and the Ramsey murder would be solved. If the DNA does not match, or they claim it was “inconclusive”, then the chance they have the actual murderer is dramatically lowered. It must not yet be ruled out that Karr’s obsession with the case pushed into some sort of indentification with it where he now imagines himself the murderer. And we can’t ignore that his confession doesn’t match some facts.

Karr says the killing was accidental but JonBenet was beaten and strangled. That was not an accident. And he says he drugged her. I may have missed this from previous reports but there was no discussion of drugging that I can remember. That doesn’t jive. He says he loved her yet there is no reason to think they could have spent any time together since he live in Alabama and she lived in Colorado. Nor is there any indication they ever met. And when asked how he knew the Ramseys Karr could not, or would not, respond saying it would take hours to explain.

An alternative explanation for this is that he is disturbed, that he became obsessed with the case over the years, that his knowledge of the case was learned through years of extensive research and that he was with his wife the day JonBenet was murdered. His research and possible predilection toward young girls became an obsession. He “fell in love” with JonBenet as a result of the research and never met the child. And his obsession got so out of control that he imagined himself her “lover” and the only way that could happen would be if he killed her. Yet with his supposed love for the child he can not see himself acting the way the actual murderer acted. His crime had to be an “accident” as he claimed. I fear that Karr is a very disturbed man. But I am not at all convinced he is the killer.

The police have had this case on the books and want it cleared. Most the public would like it “solved”. But if Karr is not the killer then the case is not cleared no matter whether he is convicted or not. The media is getting ahead of the facts again. I hope this arrest resolves the case myself. I hope it does so for the sake of the Ramseys and for the sake of JonBenet. As much as I hope for a resolution I wouldn’t be the lest bit surprised to learn that DNA test indicate that Karr was not there. Time will answer the question but until those results come in caution is required.