Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


JonBenet Ramsey Suspect: Killer or Attention Seeker?; President Bush Under Fire Over Iraq

Aired August 21, 2006 - 22:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.
A business-class flight, a world-class mystery: Is John Karr JonBenet Ramsey's killer or just a strange wanna-be? Tonight, John Karr is in L.A., about to face the music.


ANNOUNCER: From luxury to lockup -- what John Karr said on his swanky flight back home. And what kind of case is waiting for him in Colorado?

How was he caught? The story begins in Paris. Meet the man who experienced John Karr's JonBenet obsession years before Bangkok.

The science of DNA -- how much do detectives have to work with? How little does it take to make the case or make it go away?

And President Bush gets the message.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These aren't joyous times. These are challenging times, and they're difficult times, and they're straining the -- the psyche of our country.

ANNOUNCER: What sagging support for the war means for Iraq and the White House.


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

Tonight, reporting from the CNN studios in New York, here's Anderson Cooper.

COOPER: Hey, thanks for joining us.

We begin tonight with John Karr, who, at this moment, is in a spartan jail cell in Los Angeles, no windows, bare walls, a six-by- nine-foot cell. He arrived in a business class seat from Thailand. Now police in California and Colorado will get to talk with him face to face. Technicians will test his DNA. And the district attorney in Boulder will decide whether or not to bring a case.

Is he guilty? We do not know. In this country, he has the presumption of innocence. And that is an important thing to keep in mind in the days and weeks ahead.

Tonight, new details just keep coming. And we're bringing you all the angles, on what Karr has said, both recently and years ago, that indicate a strange fascination, what some would call obsession, with JonBenet, also, what we know about the crime scene and the timeline, and whether investigators believe John Karr fits the facts.

And the most concrete evidence you can get, DNA, how big a role will it play this time around?

Karr is back from Thailand in that jail cell. And, tomorrow, he faces an extradition hearing.

Tonight, CNN's Susan Candiotti reports.


SUSAN CANDIOTTI, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When murder suspect John Karr arrives in Boulder, this will be his home. But where exactly he will be put inside the Boulder County jail has yet to be decided.

COMMANDER DWIGHT HILL, BOULDER, COLORADO, SHERIFF'S OFFICE: Mental health would have to evaluate him, and medical would have to evaluate him.

CANDIOTTI: One thing is known. He will be issued a standard orange jumpsuit worn by all inmates. Thai authorities say Karr requested a shirt and tie to wear, so he would look like a teacher when he headed to the states, apparently a man keenly aware of his image, an image he may have wanted to change.

Karr was undergoing treatment at a clinic in Thailand to remove facial hair. "The Denver Post" quotes his doctor as saying, "The reason he wanted to do hair removal was because he wanted to do a sex change."

CNN has not yet confirmed Karr's intent at the clinic.

JOHN MARK KARR, SUSPECT: I loved JonBenet, and she died accidentally.

CANDIOTTI: Before Karr stunned the world with his claim he was with JonBenet Ramsey when she died, he was hopscotching the world as a teacher of young children, not only in Thailand, but in a remote, poor rural area of Honduras.

In 1994, one school found him on the Internet and took him on as a volunteer. He lasted only three weeks.

"He was very difficult," she says. "He didn't like the school rules. He was a problem. And that's why we decided to fire him."

From there, Karr found work teaching second-graders for eight months, a loner on his own time, but the school's director called him strict and said he helped the children a great deal. Why Karr left Honduras is unclear.

His resume boasts of teaching and caring for children in Costa Rica and Germany. At the time, he was on the run from the law, skipping out on a court appearance on a misdemeanor child pornography case in 2001. What he never ran away from, say those who knew him, was his unexplained obsession with JonBenet Ramsey's murder.

But what do police know that led to his arrest? Was it in part what a U.S. law enforcement official told CNN, that he knew specific details about the little girl's body, known only to the medical examiner and investigators?

BOB GRANT, FORMER ADAMS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: So, I hope they have got evidence. I hope they have got something more than, this guy, who is obviously a wing nut, sitting, you know, in a -- in a Thai press conference, saying, I was with her when she died.

CANDIOTTI: What evidence the Boulder DA has remains, for now, a closely guarded secret.


COOPER: Susan, we don't know if he's going to fight extradition from L.A. Assuming he doesn't, assuming he gets to Boulder relatively quickly, what awaits him? What is the step when he gets there?

CANDIOTTI: Well, he would have to make an appearance here in court, an initial appearance.

And why we're especially interested in that is that they might have to finally put into the public record the arrest warrant and the affidavit that went with it. This would lay out, at least in a perfunctory way, what kind of information the district attorney here had that led them to go all the way to Thailand to pick him up.

COOPER: Because, at...

CANDIOTTI: Anderson.

COOPER: ... at this point, we don't -- we do not know, simply.

I mean, there was this press conference on Friday from authorities there in Boulder, but they basically did not say any of the details of -- of what brought them to this point.

CANDIOTTI: It didn't, although, as you know, we have learned from one U.S. law enforcement official that one of the things that disturbed them about this man is that he had certain information that has not yet been made public before, including information about JonBenet's body after it was discovered, information that was contained in the autopsy, and known only to the medical examiner, as well as investigators.

COOPER: Susan Candiotti, appreciate the reporting. We will continue to follow up with you throughout these two hours. Karr was arrested in Bangkok, but it was this weekend's flight to Los Angeles where this already bizarre case got even stranger. The alleged child killer traveled, well, in luxury, you might say, flying business class, feasting on king prawn, roast duck, drinking beer, and sipping French chardonnay.

It was a strange trip, to say the least, and a memorable one for all the passengers on board, including CNN's Drew Griffin, who was just a few rows away.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A half-hour before the flight was to leave Bangkok International, passengers, expecting this to be a routine flight, looked up and saw that it would not.

Escorted by a group of Thai immigration officers, John Karr was being brought to the plane through the terminal, through security, his bags checked like everyone else. His eyes, vacillating between vacant stares and intense alert, display nervousness.

When bag inspectors find eyedrops inside his bag, he's told to use them, a procedure to make sure the liquid is indeed eyedrops. He shyly turns away, trying to hide the procedure from all those who are staring. After several uncomfortable moments, where Karr sits at the gate and avoids questions, he's brought on board, first to take his seat. He will spend the next 15 hours by the window in the last row of business class -- at his side at all times and awake at all times, two immigration officers, and one member of the Boulder County DA's office -- all around them, passengers, who are learning the man receiving all this media attention is not a celebrity, but a suspected child killer.

KABIR POKARDAS, PASSENGER: I don't feel threatened. I don't -- I don't feel anything, I mean, obviously, because he's just as human as we all are.

GRIFFIN (on camera): You just don't want an accused murder on your flight, no matter who he is?

POKARDAS: I think that's correct. It -- it's not -- it's not the fact that it's an accused murder. I think it's just -- it's just the sentiment of -- it's just the sentiment of everyone around here, and, moreover, the media frenzy.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Secretly, a Thai Airways flight attendant would admit to a CNN photographer she is scared, especially when she has to serve the suspect the three meals he would have during this flight.

Thai Airways would not allow handcuffs. The officers told me, if there was any trouble, they felt they would be in complete control. Three times during the flight, John Karr would go to the bathroom. Each time, officers would lead the way, stand outside the small lavatory, and one would place his foot in the door. The shy John Karr could use the bathroom, but only with the door open. Just before arriving, he would change shirts, put on a tie, comb his hair. Upon arrival, the plane was greeted by at least a dozen officers and airline officials. Through the airplane door, we could see, the handling of this suspect was about to change. When the door opened, the media was pushed back.

John Karr was whisked out, with one last chance to say something, and one last time to dart his eyes without talking.

QUESTION: Mr. Karr, do you have anything to say, now that you are in the United States?

(on camera): According to inmates inside the detention center in Thailand, Mr. Karr was saying that the press got some of his story wrong, that some of it was untrue.

So, during the flight, I actually slipped him a note, a pen, and some paper, and said, look, if we did get anything wrong, you can just write it out right now, and pass that note to us, and we will try to get it right. That note, like our questions to Mr. Karr, all went unanswered.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Well, by loosening Karr up on the flight, Boulder authorities may have been trying to get him to talk. But, of course, if they want a conviction, they're going to need more than just his words to prove he killed JonBenet.

Joining me now is CNN -- CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, and, from Stapleton, Colorado, former Denver Chief Deputy DA Craig Silverman.

Guys, thanks for being with us.

Craig, let me start off with you.

You know, much is being made about this flight, him in business class, being served pate and beer and wine. I guess some people are -- are angered by it. What do you think about it?

CRAIG SILVERMAN, FORMER DENVER, COLORADO, CHIEF DEPUTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, it was highly unusual, but it had to be deliberate.

Look, this is the case of a lifetime for these investigators. They're not going to blow it. I'm sure there was a plan. And that plan appears to be, let him have what he wants. Let him get loose. Loose lips sink ships. And they want to sink John Mark Karr. And they were hoping he might say something. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

It's unclear whether he ever volunteered any information about JonBenet Ramsey. But we know from his behavior in Thailand that he did that with the cameras rolling not too long ago.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Anderson, I -- I think the explanation's a little -- a little simpler than that.

You know, here's this guy. They have to fly him commercial. There's no way to get a private plane that far.

COOPER: It's a long flight.

TOOBIN: It's a long flight.


COOPER: Eighteen hours.


TOOBIN: Is he supposed to sit five across in coach, where he could be next to a kid?

COOPER: Right.

TOOBIN: I mean, is that -- is that a better solution? So he had some fancy meals. I don't -- I don't think that matters.

COOPER: Do you...


TOOBIN: I think it's odd...


SILVERMAN: Yes, but that doesn't explain the alcohol.

TOOBIN: The alcohol is peculiar, but I -- I don't think it matters much, one way or the other.

COOPER: Jeffrey, just legally, if he does say something, I mean, does he have to be Mirandized at this point?


COOPER: Was he already Mirandized?

TOOBIN: Well, I assume he was Mirandized, because, whether you're in the United States or -- or overseas, or over the ocean, if you're in American custody, and they want to use those statements against you at some point, you have to get your Miranda warnings.

So, I assume that he has gotten his Miranda warnings long -- several days ago.


TOOBIN: And, so, anything he says now would be -- would be admissible.

COOPER: Craig?

SILVERMAN: Well, that's interesting.

If he's on the plane, and he's Mirandized, and he's advised of his right to an attorney, if he invokes that right, what do they do, search the plane for an American attorney?


SILVERMAN: I think they were hoping he would volunteer statements.

And, as you know, Jeff, case of Rhode Island v. Innis, if somebody volunteers statements not in response to questioning -- we know this guy has that propensity. Perhaps that's what they were hoping for.

COOPER: All right, let's talk about what happens tomorrow.

Jeffrey, it's -- there's an extradition hearing. It's pretty basic.

TOOBIN: Right.

There's only one issue in this hearing. Are you, John Karr, the person who is named in the arrest warrant, not, are you guilty, not -- none of the evidence. Are you the same person?

COOPER: Mmm-hmm.

TOOBIN: That's why most people waive extradition, because there's no -- there's usually no controversy.

COOPER: So, if he -- when they say -- talk about him possibly fighting extradition, they would basically -- he would be fighting on the grounds...


TOOBIN: ... basically saying...

COOPER: ... that he's not John Karr?

TOOBIN: You got the wrong guy. And that's just -- I mean, you got the wrong John Karr, which seems unlikely. So, most of the time, people waive it.

What may be some delay is, as far as I'm aware, he has had no lawyer so far. And a lawyer might want to talk to him, might ask for some delay. But, you know, he's going to go to Colorado sooner -- soon -- sooner or later -- probably sooner.

COOPER: "Rocky Mountain News" indicating on "LARRY KING" that they -- they know at least two attorneys who may be interested in this case or -- and/or already involved.

TOOBIN: Yes. How about 2,000?




TOOBIN: I mean, there are a lot of people who want this case.

COOPER: Craig, let's talk about the -- what's in the -- the -- the arrest affidavit. We do not know. When would we find out?

SILVERMAN: Wow. You know, that's up to the judge. And they're being very secretive. They have already ordered no cameras in the courtroom during advisement, which is pretty unusual for Colorado.

That's one of the few proceedings where cameras are almost always guaranteed. Not much happens. You want to give everybody a look at the suspect. But Roxanne Bailin, the chief judge of Boulder, is saying, no cameras in the courtroom; it would disturb the decorum.

There are still some hoops to jump through in L.A. If he doesn't waive extradition, then Governor Owens of Colorado, who has been outspoken on this case, would have to certify to Arnold Schwarzenegger that this man committed a crime in Colorado and fled therefrom.

TOOBIN: Craig, can I ask you a question about Colorado procedure?

Is it possible to have an arraignment, or to have an initial appearance on an arrest warrant, without the disclosure of the affidavit underlying the arrest warrant?

SILVERMAN: Oh, yes. I think that's more than possible.

But, eventually, the lawyers for the media will come in and fight it. And the argument's going to be, this could jeopardize our ability to further investigate the case while charges are pending. And, then, a judge will have to weigh the public's right to know vs. the rights of the defendant to a fair trial.

COOPER: But do you think, though, Jeff, that there is more that the district attorney knows in Boulder than -- than -- I mean, she -- she hasn't spoken very much about this, about what -- what they know. But -- but -- I mean, is there more than -- than -- than just the confession?

TOOBIN: You know what? Given what she said at the press conference, the way she emphasized the risk of flight, and the need for speed, and -- and the jeopardy to public safety, it sounded like she was moving very quickly.

I don't think there's a lot there that -- beyond the confession at this point. There -- there may be more, but I don't think they have had a lot of time for the investigation. So, my guess is, they're scrambling.


SILVERMAN: Wow. That would really be an indication of prosecutorial ineptitude.

Let's look at the situation. He was deported as an undesirable from Thailand. He could have been brought back to California, which, indeed, he was, the closest mainland state, shipped up to Sonoma County, where he skipped out on that $100,000 bond, and, then, quietly, discretely, Boulder could have done the forensic testing necessary to make a case or not.

COOPER: You're saying, Craig, that, if all they have is this -- is -- are his words in Thailand, then, they have trouble?

SILVERMAN: Oh, absolutely.

COOPER: All right.

SILVERMAN: That confession was downright kooky.

We know this guy was obsessed with JonBenet Ramsey. He -- he is textbook false confessor.

COOPER: All right.

We're going to -- we're going to talk to you more coming up in just a couple segments to Craig and -- and Jeff. Just hold on.

A decade ago, 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey really became a household name. She wasn't the only American child murdered in 1996, of course. Here's the "Raw Data."

That same year, nearly 2,000 children younger than 18 were murdered. Seven hundred and twenty-three of those kids, including JonBenet, were 8 years old or younger -- some perspective.

John Karr has thrust the Ramsey case back in the spotlight. Coming up, we will revisit the crime scene, a minute-by-minute account, how the awful discovery was made, and what clues were found inside that home.

Plus: DNA could clinch a conviction in this case or free an innocent man. What happens now to the swab they took from John Karr, and what exactly could it prove?

All that when 360 continues.



MICHAEL TRACEY, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO PROFESSOR: And I don't know why -- why we as a society both fixate on these kinds of cases, and then feel that, in order to sell papers, in order to sell -- to -- to put ratings on -- on programs, that we feel totally willy-nilly. We can trash people's rights. We can trash their character. We can trash who they are.

And it's like a game. It's like a sport. It's like a blood sport. And I think that's wrong. That is not how the system is supposed to be.


COOPER: That was Michael Tracey, a professor with whom John Karr has been communicating via e-mail for several years. It was those e- mails which, of course, led to -- to this current situation that Mr. Karr finds himself in.

The case against John Karr is not going to simply rest on what he has or -- or hasn't said about JonBenet Ramsey in that bizarre press conference in Thailand. The case against him, if there is one at all, is going to rest on the huge scientific developments that have been made in the 10 years since JonBenet was killed.

CNN's Randi Kaye has been looking into that.

First of all, can we confirm for a fact that DNA has been taken from John Karr?


We have been looking into that. And CNN has been in touch with a Thai official who looked at Karr -- looked after Karr in Bangkok's center there, the immigration detention center. And there was no evidence, according to this Thai official, that proves that any DNA was taken from John Karr yet.

There has been a lot of talk that a cheek swab was taken and that there may have to be another cheek swab, or any type of DNA swab performed here, because there was some concern that maybe the sample was taken under duress in Thailand, if it was actually taken. Would it be able to be used here in the United States in the court? Would it hold up?

So, apparently, we haven't been able to confirm that. But I did also speak with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation late this afternoon. They told me that they have tested over 400 pieces of evidence related to the JonBenet Ramsey case. Some of that is DNA. Some of that is clothing. Some of that is...


COOPER: And it really -- it...

KAYE: ... is...

COOPER: And it was back in 2003 that there was this really major turn in the DNA testing, that basically enabled them to retest the -- the underwear that JonBenet Ramsey was wearing...

KAYE: Right.

COOPER: ... and -- and really kind of get a better sense of what evidence they have.

KAYE: Right.

There was this tiny spot of blood that was found on her underwear. And there was also some -- some type of evidence under her fingernails.

But, in speaking with Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky over at the -- the John Jay College here in New York City, he -- he's a forensic scientist -- and he told us that the sample under the fingernails actually was not enough. It's not considered a full sample. So, they could only use, as the full sample, the tiny speck of blood that was found on her underwear, which they apparently had tested, and have preserved over all these years, because I was curious if the sample would hold up.

COOPER: Right.

KAYE: And, apparently, it has already been tested. So, the findings, of course, will hold up. So, they don't actually need...


KAYE: ... the sample.

COOPER: And that blood was found not to be from a -- a member of the Ramsey family...

KAYE: Exactly.

COOPER: ... which, again, supports the intruder theory.

Randi -- we will have more from Randi coming up in the next two hours.

John Karr has confessed, we know, to murdering JonBenet Ramsey. How legitimate a confession it is, we do not know. Now the DA has to determine if Karr's story fits the facts of the case. What can he tell authorities about what happened that night? Can he provide information that only the killer would know?

And there's a lot that still is not known about what happened inside that house. The facts of the case, now a decade old, are as puzzling as ever.


COOPER (voice-over): Christmas Day 1996 -- the Ramsey family had spent the evening at a holiday party.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They came home around 10:00 p.m. JonBenet supposedly fell asleep in the backseat of the car. She was lifted out of the car by her father, and up the back stairs, which was a spiral staircase, to the second floor, and she was placed in her bed.

COOPER: Patsy helped tuck 6-year-old JonBenet into bed. That may have been the last time they saw their daughter alive; 5:30 a.m. the next morning, Patsy woke up early, because the family was planning to leave town on vacation. She walked down the back stairs from her third-floor bedroom in their 15-room Tudor-style home in Boulder, Colorado.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just before she reached the bottom of the staircase, on the third step, she noticed three pieces of paper that were spread out.

COOPER: The ransom note -- Patsy skimmed the words. "We have kidnapped your daughter. Don't call the police or we will kill her. Get $118,000."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She ran upstairs, opened JonBenet's bedroom door, and discovered that the bed was empty.

COOPER: John Ramsey told his wife to call police immediately. Just before 6:00 a.m., Patsy made a panicked call to 911.


911 OPERATOR: What's going on there, ma'am?

PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JONBENET RAMSEY: We had a kidnapping. Hurry, please.


COOPER: About 20 minutes later, police arrived, followed by the FBI. The case was designated a kidnapping, and phones were tapped. For the next six hours, the Ramseys waited for the kidnappers' promised call. Two different searches of the house turned up nothing.

At 1:00 p.m., a third search, and John Ramsey made the horrifying discovery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Ramsey went to the basement, walked, I am told, to the door, which was the door into the room that has been described as the wine cellar, opened the door, and then made the announcement that he had -- he had found -- he had found JonBenet.

COOPER: Strangled with a garrote and bludgeoned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Ramsey had brought the little girl's body upstairs, and that the detective on the scene, Linda Arndt, had then subsequently picked JonBenet's body up, and moved the body into the front room, fairly close to the -- the location of the Christmas tree.

COOPER: The Christmas tree was here in the living room. That's where JonBenet's body rested for more than nine hours, until the coroner's office removed her from the home, at 10:45 that evening. The search warrant for the Ramsey home was issued at 8:00 p.m. that night. It took three-and-a-half days to search the house again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The crime scene wasn't limited just to, obviously, the -- the basement room. The crime scene also included the entire residence.

COOPER: The more thorough search turned up clues that answered some questions, but raised new ones. In the basement, a broken window in this storage room may have let in an intruder -- in the wine cellar, two footprints next to JonBenet's body -- one still hasn't been identified -- nearby, a partial palm print and DNA evidence on JonBenet's underwear and under her fingernails -- on the ground floor in the kitchen, the pen and pad of paper used to write the ransom note -- and, on the opposite counter, a flashlight possibly used to strike JonBenet's head, evidence collected 10 years ago that may be crucial in cracking the case today.


COOPER: Well, coming up, we're going to examine that evidence much more closely with Jeffrey Toobin and also Craig -- Craig Silverman.

Also, we will be looking at what's next for John Karr, the legal steps that we expect he will take once he gets back to Boulder -- all that and more on 360.

Stay with us.



TRACEY: John Ramsey, more than any other person on the planet, knows what it's like to be presumed guilty, because the Ramseys, from the get-go, from the very, very beginning, almost the -- the -- the first, second day after she was killed, basically, they -- they were the only objects of suspicion. And I think -- and -- and that was wrong. And it would be wrong to do the same thing to Mr. Karr.


COOPER: That's Michael Tracey, a professor at the University of Colorado, who has been in e-mail communication with John Karr now for several years. And, of course, it was those e-mails which led to this story breaking just last week.

John Karr right now is in Los Angeles, as we have said, a guest of the county. He was taken to the Twin Towers facility in downtown L.A., where he's being held in isolation.

Wanted to find out what's happening to him now and what comes next.

And, for that, we turn to CNN's Dan Simon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The L.A. County jail system has had its share of noteworthy inmates, including O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake.

Its newest high-profile resident, John Mark Karr, is now confined to a six-by-nine cell in a secure wing of what's called the Twin Towers jail in downtown Los Angeles. Karr was issued standard prison blues.

STEVE WHITMORE, SPOKESPERSON, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: We will keep him in a single cell, and he will be housed here, until he makes his last leg to Boulder, Colorado.

SIMON: That trip could be as soon as tomorrow, possibly after an early-morning extradition hearing. Such hearings are usually non- events, but, in a case of this notoriety, every detail is closely monitored, even what the suspect ate on his weekend flight from Thailand.

STEVE CRON, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You keep your mouth shut. You don't talk to the media and you don't talk to anybody in jail.

SIMON: Criminal defense attorney Steve Cron says that's what he would advise Karr to do the next time he appears in public. So far, he says, Karr's public statements have only harmed his case.

Cron says, the only purpose of an extradition hearing is to establish identity. He sees no purpose for Karr to contest it, unless:

CRON: He wants to spend some more time in the L.A. County jail. I don't know too many people that go there voluntarily.

SIMON: Karr will have to appear before a Los Angeles judge, and, most likely, will have a lawyer present, though none has been officially appointed.

Karr's transcontinental trek to Colorado is almost over. It started yesterday morning in Bangkok with a 15-hour plane ride to Los Angeles. Once on the ground, authorities quickly took Karr away and arrested him. He flew on a helicopter to the jail, where he now awaits the next phase of this bizarre criminal proceeding.

(on camera) Cameras will be allowed in the courtroom for the extradition hearing. It's supposed to be a simple, routine matter that's only supposed to take a few minutes. But as we've seen in this case all along, nothing has been routine.

Dan Simon, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Well, next our panel of legal experts gives us their take on the chances of a conviction and whether the suspect is just spinning a web of lies. We'll have that and more when 360 continues.


COOPER: That is images of John Karr arriving in Los Angeles from KABC after a lengthy flight from Thailand. He now faces an extradition hearing tomorrow and then more core proceedings in Colorado.

Joining me again, CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin in from Denver, Colorado. Former Denver chief deputy D.A. Craig Silverman. Thanks for being with us.

Let's talk about the evidence that does exist. There are two footprints, partial footprints. There's a partial palm print. But the key really you think, Jeff, is the blood evidence.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there is -- we don't know that it's blood, exactly. We know there is -- we don't know that it's blood, exactly. It's some sort of DNA on the underwear that JonBenet was wearing when she -- when she was killed. There's some controversy about how robust that DNA is, whether it is actually good enough to test against a known sample.

COOPER: This is the DNA that was retested in 2003?

TOOBIN: Three. With the improved technology in the subsequent seven years.

COOPER: And determined from what I've read that there was no -- that it was not a Ramsey family member.

TOOBIN: It was not a Ramsey family member and it was a male. So it was an unknown male, but that's all we know.

COOPER: Craig, how much evidence is there that could convict or could free Mr. Karr?

CRAIG SILVERMAN, FORMER DENVER CHIEF DEPUTY: Well, the DNA is the 600-pound gorilla in this case. The profile was big enough that they were able to submit it in recent years to FBI data banks.

So hopefully, it will determine -- look, if it's a miss on John Mark Karr, that's going to be hugely bad news for the prosecution. But if it's a match, it's game, set, and match for the state. They will win.

The ransom note is also big, because if his handwriting can be excluded, that doesn't make any sense. After all, you would think that the person who killed JonBenet also wrote the ransom note. The palm print would be very significant, because it's found in the basement.

TOOBIN: I'd certainly agree about the palm print and the DNA. Handwriting analysis is really a much lesser art.


TOOBIN: You know, when I was a prosecutor, I called these experts, and you know, they do their best, but it's really just kind of a common sense judgment: is it a match or is it not a match.


TOOBIN: And nobody is going to get convicted of murder on handwriting analysis.

COOPER: Craig, this ransom note -- and I know it's been discussed a lot, but I just reread it again today. It is so bizarre.


COOPER: I mean, it makes no sense. And the fact that it was written inside the house on a pad that was in the house with a Sharpie pen that was in the house, that someone took the time to write this, what do you make of it?

SILVERMAN: Well, it's a bizarre ransom note, but look who's under arrest, a very bizarre guy. This recent revelation that he wrote in a high school yearbook "shall be the conqueror." And look how "SBTC" is signed at the bottom of the ransom note. Above it is "victory" with an exclamation point.

I've never heard anybody in my life say those words, "shall be the conqueror." It's a very unique saying and might be -- look, whoever wrote the ransom note, in a way, wanted to be caught and identified. Perhaps that's what's happening here.

TOOBIN: If they wanted to be caught and identified, they sure waited a while to -- it's been 10 years.

SILVERMAN: Well, they have. They're teasing. Why leave a ransom note?

TOOBIN: The other thing -- presumably to get ransom. Although she was killed right away. I mean, it makes -- it doesn't make any sense.

The other thing about the ransom note is it's just so long. I mean, a three-page ransom note which is full of sort of complex thoughts. I mean, it's bizarre and awful, but obviously, you know, it would take a good while to write it. Someone to take all that time, and to have the presence of mind to write something this long without fear of getting caught.

COOPER: And then also, Craig, at this point there's a lot that's really not known about what went on in the house. Do we know where JonBenet Ramsey was killed? I mean, we don't even know...

SILVERMAN: We don't know for sure.

COOPER: We don't know for sure.


COOPER: We know that she was strangled, but at the same time hit on the head, but at the time she was hit on the head there can't have been that much blood, because there was only about a tablespoon or so of blood actually found at the scene. Is that correct?

SILVERMAN: That's right. And who knows what kind of evidence is available? You know, when you keep hearing about evidence that's not been publicly disclosed, it's hard to figure out what that could be.

Now, perhaps the true killer could explain all of the ransom note, or perhaps, sickeningly, pictures were taken of JonBenet while she was in distress.

COOPER: The crime scene. I mean, a hair was found, I guess, around the garrote -- that is a fiber or hair from -- from something that was on the stairwell, indicating that in some way she was brought down the stairs.

TOOBIN: Right. And there was food that she may have eaten on the dining room table.

But also, you have to remember there were a lot of people tramping through that house before she was discovered. There was the family. There were friends. There was a period of several hours before she was discovered. So it is not in any way a pristine crime scene.

So any fiber evidence of that kind could have been brought in by someone who was looking for her. Which makes it that much -- which makes the DNA all that much more important, because no one else -- you can only have one person leave that...

COOPER: Craig, what about the partial palm print?

SILVERMAN: Well, that would be huge. If they can identify that to John Mark Karr, it's in the location of the basement. They did have a Christmas tour a few days before Christmas, but nobody was allowed in that part of the basement, I presume.

Look, this case comes down to DNA and the D.A. The D.A. is crossing one threshold after another. You can arrest somebody on probable cause, but when she files charges, ethically, she is saying I'm confident that I can prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt. Who knows what's up her sleeve? But unless she's really inept, she has something.

TOOBIN: Plus, just remember, this is a guy who lived in Alabama at the time, and as far as I'm aware, there is no evidence at all suggesting he's ever been in Boulder. That's...

SILVERMAN: You're absolutely right, Jeff. But you know, three day ago, the ex-wife said, "I believe he I was with him every Christmas." The family has said that. But where are the pictures? I know the ex-wife doesn't like him. But look, she's got three boys by him. She really doesn't want these three boys' father...

COOPER: Right, but...

TOOBIN: Three days is not a long time.

COOPER: If she had said she'd been looking for photographs, looking for some sort of evidence.

TOOBIN: But she's got a lawyer. If I were her and I were her lawyer, I think I'd be going through channels, you know.

SILVERMAN: Well, she is.

TOOBIN: Giving -- if there is any evidence, giving it to the prosecutors, not giving it to...

SILVERMAN: Right. And then the prosecutor will not extradite because they'd say what are we doing? We're not going to win this case. So once they've crossed that threshold, they must be pretty confident.

COOPER: All right. It's fascinating.

Craig Silverman, Jeff Toobin, thanks. Appreciate it.

Coming up, what the Ramsey family attorney makes of John Karr's arrest, something you'll only see on CNN.

And Americans losing confidence in the president over Iraq. We'll have the fallout from that coming up next on 360.


COOPER: An all too familiar scene: a car bomb in Sadr City. Civilian carnage yet again in Iraq.

In addition, more than 2,600 American men and women, of course, have died in Iraq. More than 2,600 roadside bombs were found just last month. That's the highest of any point in the war.

Tonight a new opinion research poll shows that only about one American in three, 35 percent, now supports the effort in Iraq. Agree or disagree with the president, these are sobering facts to face, which he did today.

Here's CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry.


ED HENRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The nearly one-hour press conference featured a dramatic admission from the president about just how unpopular the war in Iraq has become.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These aren't joyous times. These are challenging times. And they're difficult times. And they're straining the psyche of our country. I understand that. You know, nobody likes to see innocent people die.

HENRY: This as a new CNN poll shows the mission in Iraq has reached its lowest level of support since the beginning of the conflict, with only 35 percent of Americans favoring the war and 61 percent opposing. The president acknowledged he's concerned about civil war in Iraq. But in the next breath declared he has no plans to change direction.

BUSH: We're not leaving so long as I'm the president. That would be a huge mistake. Now, if you say are you going to change your strategic objective, it means you're leaving before the mission is complete, and we're not going to leave before the mission is complete. I agree with General Abizaid: we leave before the mission is done the terrorists will follow us here.

HENRY: pressed on whether his stay the course strategy is actually working with 3,500 Iraqis killed in July, the president made an interesting distinction.

BUSH: If I didn't think it would work, I would -- our commanders would recommend changing the strategy. They believe it'll work.

HENRY: Trouble in the Mideast dominated the press conference, with the president calling for quick deployment of an international force to help save the tenuous cease-fire in Lebanon.

BUSH: The need is urgent.

HENRY: On Iran the president said he hopes the United Nations will move quickly on sanctions. If Tehran does not abandon its nuclear ambitions by the end of August.

BUSH: In order for the U.N. to be effective, there must be consequences if people thumb their nose at the United Nations Security Council.

HENRY: The president also suggested there would be consequences in November for Democrats urging that large numbers of U.S. troops come home from Iraq starting this year.

BUSH: There's a fundamental difference between many of the Democrats and my party, and that is they want to leave before the job is completed in Iraq. And again, I repeat, these are decent people. You know, they're just as American as I am. I just happen to strongly disagree with them.

HENRY (on camera): Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid firing back that success in Iraq is a question of strategy. And the president's strategy after three years, according to Reid, is failing.

Ed Henry, CNN, the White House.


COOPER: Certainly, a lot to talk about with David Gergen, former presidential adviser for Democrats and Republicans. He joins me from Boston.

It's always good having you on the program, David. Good to see you. DAVID GERGEN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISOR: Thank you, Anderson.

COOPER: What did you make of that press conference today?

GERGEN: It was an unusual one. You know, they called it with just two hours' notice, about 8 a.m. in the morning, very early for a reporter to be popping out there.

I think the president really is trying to push back at a time when many Americans are concluding that his policies are not working in Iraq, they're not working with Hezbollah, and they may not be working with Iran. He's trying to take the offensive.

COOPER: Did he seem different, though, today? There was a sort of -- I mean, on the one hand the message was somber and his tone, if anything was sort of euphoric at times, sort of playing with reporters, making jokes, kind of an extended -- extended jokes.

GERGEN: I was surprised by that. I understood because they're in new quarters and, you know, that he would come over and kid around with them a little bit at the end.

But it did seem to me at a time when there's some very sober news around the world, especially in the Middle East, this kind of jocularity and sort of towel snapping with reporters did seem odd.

COOPER: What did you make of these poll numbers? Bush said today as long as he's president the U.S. troops are not leaving Iraq. We have this new CNN poll finding that 61 percent of Americans are opposed to the war in some way, which I guess is a new high. How concerned do you think the White House is?

GERGEN: Very. But I do think, Anderson, you put your finger on the most important statement he made in the press conference, and that is "As long as I'm president, we're not leaving, period." That's the first time he's said that.

It suggests all this kind of speculation we've had, the encouragement we've had from within the administration, from within the military, that U.S. troops would start to withdraw this year, is clearly -- putting cold water on that now and saying "I'm going to fight this out under my presidency."

But Anderson, that very poll does say that, while his numbers are up some, and there's good news for the president in the poll. His general approval is up five points, up to 42 from June in your poll.

But the bad news here is that there is a majority now that supports Democrats in Congress in November. And the prospects of the Democrats taking back one or both chambers and really, you know, making life miserable for the president back home in Iraq, maybe with Hezbollah, maybe with Iran, must be very sobering for the White House.

And you have to -- if you're a president in trouble overseas, you need strong domestic support. If that crumbles, your hand is very definitely weakened overseas. COOPER: You referenced that poll. I just wanted to put the approval and disapproval on the screen.


COOPER: More people disapprove of President Bush than approve: 57 to 42 percent. And his approval rating is up five points from June. I guess back in June it was 37 percent. But still worrying.

GERGEN: Yes. But Anderson, what's interesting now is I think he may be bumping up against a ceiling, of how high his numbers can go without -- without some dramatic change and things looking better in the Middle East or something playing into his favor.

Because he's got about 42 support -- percent support, but about 60 percent are opposed to the war in Iraq. About 60 percent. And all of the numbers in his favor are in the low 40s.

So there are about 60 percent of the country that's essentially against the war in Iraq. It's very difficult to think Americans are going to say I'm against the war in Iraq but boy, I think our president's doing a good job.

COOPER: Interesting. David, thanks for joining us. Appreciate it.

GERGEN: You bet.

COOPER: Coming up we're going to revisit the Ramsey case, hear from perhaps the first person to experience John Karr's obsession with JonBenet.

Also it began with a double murder, then a two-day chase. Late details on how a massive manhunt came to a close.

And how is former President Ford doing? Ninety-three and back in the hospital. Details on that and more when 360 continues.


COOPER: The photo that captured the spirit of World War II, it's back in the news. We'll tell you why in a moment. But first Randi Kaye joins us for a 360 bulletin -- Randi.


An escaped prisoner accused of killing a sheriff's deputy and a security guard has been captured after nearly two days on the run. Twenty-four-year-old William Charles Morva was arrested in southwestern Virginia this afternoon. Police say Morva, who was being held on robbery charges, escaped during a hospital visit for a leg injury. They say he was found hiding in a briar patch in a nature reserve.

In Georgia a shooting at Jackson County courthouse. Jefferson police say a jail inmate who was being prepared for transport somehow got hold of a gun and opened fire, shooting a deputy. The inmate himself was also later shot. Both he and the deputy are still alive and are being treated at the local hospital.

In Miami a federal judge has dismissed the first count against terror suspect Jose Padilla and two of his co-defendants, saying that it duplicates other counts in the indictment against them. The judge also said the second count charges them with the same offense under two sections of federal law. She ordered the government to choose one of the two sections by Friday.

And former President Gerald Ford has been fitted with a pacemaker at the mayo clinic in Minnesota. The 93-year-old is said to be resting comfortably -- Anderson.

COOPER: Randi, thanks.

Time now for "The Shot" tonight. The iconic image of World War II. In February 1945 photographer Joe Rosenthal took this picture of servicemen raising the American flag at Iwo Jima. Rosenthal died yesterday at the age of 94.

His photograph, which was used on postage stamps and war bonds, became the model for the Marine memorial near Arlington National Cemetery. Three of the six servicemen in the photo died during the Iwo Jima campaign.

Mr. Rosenthal said of the picture later that he was happy to have been a small part of the U.S. war effort. A big part indeed.

Straight ahead tonight, back to the Ramsey case. What does John Ramsey make of it all? We'll hear from the family attorney, who spent an hour this evening with CNN's Larry King.

And the latest on the hunt for Warren Jeffs. Even as polygamists stage a show of force.

A break first. You're watching 360.



© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines