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Colorado prosecutors announce the will not charge John Mark Karr with the murder of JonBenet Ramsey after DNA test comes back negative
Aired August 28, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight, legal bombshell, JonBenet`s murder suspect, John Mark Karr, walks. No DNA, no charges. Colorado prosecutors do a 180 and drop the murder charges against the 41-year-old school teacher after spending thousands to transport him from Thailand to California to Colorado in the midst of a media blitz. Just one hour before Karr set to appeared shackled in court, he walks, a colossal blunder that could forever, forever preclude the truth coming out in court. And tonight, child porn charges still waiting for Karr in California.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SETH TEMIN, JOHN MARK KARR`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The warrant on Mr. Karr has been dropped by the district attorney. They`re not proceeding with this case.
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 that he did anything wrong.
There will be no hearing today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Legal bombshell -- just as he is set to appear in court for a formal court appearance, John Mark Karr walks free! What was the Colorado district attorney thinking? How can this case ever go forward with another suspect?
Straight out to Court TV`s Jean Casarez, standing by in Boulder. Jean, bring us up to date.
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Well, Nancy, I think the reason -- there are two reasons why the motion, the arrest motion, was quashed. I think, number one, the DNA of John Karr just didn`t match that unidentified male DNA that was found in the panties of JonBenet Ramsey. And number two, the district attorney, try as she might, she could not corroborate that John Karr was here in Boulder, Colorado, December of 1996.
GRACE: Jean, is it true -- can you confirm DNA was taken in Thailand and they couldn`t get a match, so they brought him home to get a match here in the U.S.?
CASAREZ: You`re exactly right. What we can confirm is that the district attorney has said that they tried to get DNA from him in Thailand through a drinking glass and through some other means. But because of the type of DNA that was mixed with her blood in the panties, the unidentified male mixed with the blood, they had to get a very pure sample of Mr. John Karr, so they couldn`t get it in Thailand. They had to bring him over to this country.
GRACE: I`ve just got in my hands, literally as I`ve sat down on the set, the affidavit in support of the search warrant. In this, we will learn what the district attorney was relying on. It`s about 90 pages of documents. The staff is looking through it immediately so you can know why the Colorado district attorney has chosen this colossal blunder. Maybe the answers are in here.
In the meantime, this is what the defense attorney had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEMIN: The warrant on Mr. Karr has been dropped by the district attorney. They`re not proceeding with this case. 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 that he did anything wrong.
There will be no hearing today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The warrant charging Mr. Karr in the Ramsey affair was quashed this afternoon. Mr. Karr was released from our custody on those charges. However, he remains in our custody and will be returning to the jail shortly, based on the fact that Sonoma County has given us a teletype and does want to extradite him on the five counts of child pornography that he faces in California. So he`ll remain in our custody for the officials in California. He`s no longer in our custody on any Colorado warrant.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are taking a look at portions of what the district attorney had. From the supporting affidavit, for instance, Mr. Karr`s description of his sex involvement with JonBenet during events leading to her death included oral sex. He promised to provide details of his recollection of how JonBenet died in a way that supported the conclusion he believed he loved her.
Can we go back a graph? Tasting her blood -- this guy stated he tasted this child`s blood. It was apparent that the DNA found in blood spots on her underwear will be crucial to confirm his account of his involvement.
I went on to read a lot of the documents. I`m reading them as we`ve gotten them here on the set.
I want to go out to Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, forensic scientist. Koby (ph), in this case, the affidavit lays out very specifically how he claims he killed JonBenet Ramsey. He lays out that he was strangling her on purpose during a sex act on this child and that he was so engrossed in the sex act that he strangled her for too long.
Koby, is there any way, without a DNA match, that he could have been telling the truth?
LARRY KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, as I`ve always said, Nancy, DNA is one form of evidence. There are other pieces of evidence in the case. But clearly, DNA stands out as the most important piece of evidence. Now, what this tells me, they were hanging everything -- everything was hanging on that DNA result. And it seems to me that the other pieces of evidence -- there was no linkage. For example, the palm print -- apparently, there was absolutely no useful information to link Mr. Karr because had they had that, then the DNA would not have made -- would have not have been used to make the ultimate decision as to whether to charge him or not.
So the thing that shocks me, Nancy, is simply that the DA had him arrested without having any tangible evidence. And I still think that there should have been, surreptitiously, DNA taken and tested before this whole rigmarole. And I do not buy the excuse that they needed a pure exemplar, cheek cells. It just doesn`t make any sense because there have been cases that have been decided on DNA obtained through surreptitious means. The cases were adjudicated and the individual was convicted. So I don`t buy it. This is a poor excuse by the DA, I`m afraid.
GRACE: To John Burris, a veteran defense attorney. John, look, I know we`re on two sides of the fence, usually. But when you bring somebody from Thailand to California to Colorado, you better have a silver bullet. You better have a silver bullet, even if you`ve got the wrong guy. The problem is, John, and I think you`ll agree with me on this, you, practically speaking, have forever precluded prosecuting the real killer. For all intents and purposes, it`s over!
JOHN BURRIS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, you know, it`s interesting because I don`t necessarily agree with that as a total proposition. It is true that one should have a silver bullet when you bring a person in. But the mere fact that there is still usable DNA that`s available in this case for further testing, which means if you do get the right killer, you can do that testing and/or you may find someone else, who, in fact, gives a confession, or, in fact, has a way to put him in that location where you can identify him as being present.
So the fact that this was a blunder and it did not work does not mean, in and of itself, that it cannot work in the future if you get the right guy. Obviously, the right guy and the right DNA match-up will allow you to convict that person. So I don`t think it`s over. It just means that for now, they got the wrong guy, and they should have never done what they did in the manner in which they did.
GRACE: They should have never done what they did? Why?
BURRIS: Well, number one, they should have never brought this person here. It`s been stated already. It`s pretty obvious. It...
GRACE: But why? Why do you say that?
BURRIS: Why -- I say that you should not bring a person to -- bring - - accuse a person of a crime without having some objective, reasonable evidence that can be corroborated at the time. Here, there was nothing. They could have found out through the evidence that this man may not have even have been in this area.
GRACE: I agree. I agree. Back to Court TV`s Jean Casarez, standing by in Boulder, Colorado. Jean, you and I will get into the practicalities, as well -- Jean not just reporting but also a lawyer herself. Jean, have you seen this supporting affidavit? It`s still warm in my hands, where I just got it.
Listen to this, Jean. These are some of the e-mails, Jean Casarez, that the district attorney had that Karr had been sending. This is on March 28, 2006. "Kisses for JonBenet. JonBenet was taken from her bed peacefully. She was simply lifted into the girl`s (SIC) arms, carried quietly downstairs. The girl felt like her mother, smelled like her mother, was soft and sweet like her mother. JonBenet was a heavy sleeper."
The way he describes this girl, Jean Casarez, and then goes on to write -- "The end of 9 years old is usually the stopping point for me due to physical height and development of the child. In some parts of the world, I have been attracted to girls who are 12, though they are the size of girls 8 in the U.S. I actually -- I cannot say I was actually attracted to 12-year-olds, but it was tempting. I am attracted to dolls. When they get past the doll stage, I am no longer physically attracted."
I am reading to you the supporting affidavit attached to the arrest warrant for John Mark Karr. It is 90 pages long. And I`ve got to tell you, there`s a lot of disgusting talk in here about little children and having sex with little girls.
But bottom line, Jean Casarez, to arrest him on nothing more than e- mails that he could have fantasized, Jean?
CASAREZ: I know. I know what you`re saying. And this is an elected district attorney. But I think, Nancy, to just counter you for a minute, to give some rationale to what the DA`s office did, I think the intensity, that he kept going on and on about what he did and how he did it and the death scene that you just laid out a few moments ago -- I think that made them believe they had to go one step farther. If they could have gotten DNA, according to this document, they would have done it in Thailand, but they couldn`t.
The question I have is, why did they bring him all of the way to Colorado to get that DNA sample? Couldn`t they have gotten it in a jail in Los Angeles?
GRACE: Let`s go out to a special guest joining us, "People" magazine staff editor Larry Sutton. He has researched this exhaustively. Larry, what was your first impression of John Mark Karr? In the first few moments I heard his statement, I thought he was a crackpot.
LARRY SUTTON, "PEOPLE" MAGAZINE: I think everyone thought that. I think everyone thought that. If you found anyone that had said, yes, this is the guy who did it, from the start -- that didn`t happen. This is a guy who -- you know, whose own family said he wasn`t even in the states, moments after the arrest was made known. So...
GRACE: But Larry, as an old trial lawyer myself, you have to take anything a family says, God bless them, with a box of salt because I don`t think there`s anybody here on this studio that night not be tempted to lie to save a family member.
SUTTON: No, absolutely true. But as they pointed out, no one had evidence that he was there in Colorado at the time of the death. I mean, they made some good points right from the start, even though they were family members.
GRACE: So how did it get this far? And I know John Burris is disagreeing with me. but how are you going to stand in front of a jury five years from now and go, OK, you know what? We think we were wrong with the mom and dad, we think we were wrong with Santa Claus, we think we were wrong with Hellgoff (ph). We even brought somebody home from Bangkok, Thailand. Yes, we were wrong about that, but this time, we`re pretty sure.
SUTTON: I don`t think it`s that much of a problem, to be honest with you. They tried. They went out. They investigated. They came up with the conclusion this isn`t the guy. Well, they`ll go out and try again. Just because they failed one or two times in their attempt, that doesn`t preclude anyone from coming along down the road a year from now. Maybe they will find the killer.
GRACE: Maybe -- you know, Larry -- hold the camera on Larry just one moment. Larry, did you just say, Maybe they will find the killer?
SUTTON: I don`t know.
GRACE: I mean, it`s already been 10 years, Larry!
SUTTON: Sure. Absolutely. Stranger things have happened. It doesn`t look likely, but can it happen? Sure, it can.
GRACE: The eternal optimist there, Larry Sutton, "People" magazine staff editor. But I got to say, when I read your article -- stunning.
To Jason Oshins. Jason, is there any way that they can recoup, step back, do a Hail Mary and punt and make a case against somebody?
JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, like Larry said -- I mean, and as John said...
GRACE: Be realistic as a trial lawyer.
OSHINS: Yes, no, I`m with you, Nancy. And by the way, I like you on the defense side. Seems like you`re on the defense side.
GRACE: I`m not on the defense side, I`m on the side of seeking justice. This colossal blunder may have forever precluded the real killer being brought in, if that killer is still alive.
OSHINS: Yes, Nancy, I hope not. but clearly, the DA got titillated by his -- John Karr`s e-mails and brought him in. I think it`s possible. If there`s enough DNA evidence, as John said, you can...
GRACE: The corrupted DNA evidence? They took DNA evidence from her fingernails with contaminated clippers, so that`s out. Next?
OSHINS: Nancy, from the very beginning, the case was bungled. Everyone`s established that. Clearly, the record is replete with the fact that they messed up the scene and it wasn`t secure and it was contaminated. But obviously, one would hope, for justice`s purposes, that the real killer at some point surfaces or they`re able to somehow confirm that it was someone else and bring them to justice. I doubt that at this particular time, Nancy. I really do.
GRACE: To Dennis Melfa, joining us from Petaluma, California. He says Karr went to Boulder in 2000 to research a book on JonBenet Ramsey. Dennis, were you surprised when you learned the DNA did not match?
DENNIS MELFA, SAYS KARR WENT TO BOULDER IN 2001 TO RESEARCH BOOK: No, I wasn`t surprised at all because John told me that he diverted his family on the way out. He moved out from the South in 2000, I think, in June of 2000 or something. But he diverted them on the way out up to Boulder and put them in a hotel room for a day or two while he went and walked around the grounds to get the feel for the crime and the whole thing, sort of like they do with these mediums on the TV shows, where they go in and they touch somebody`s clothing or something and they tell you who did the murder, et cetera.
GRACE: Right, right, right, right, right.
MELFA: He described it as one of those things.
GRACE: Dennis, are you telling me...
GRACE: ... that this perv goes up to, like, the house and puts his hand on it to get a psychic connection with this dead little girl?
MELFA: Exactly. That`s what he said.
GRACE: Well, I`ll be right back. Legal bombshell in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case. Today, DNA, a trip from Thailand, a trip from California all for naught. John Mark Karr walks.
Very quickly, to "Trial Tracking." A California jury hands down a guilty verdict in the murder one trial of Scott Dyleski, accused in the bludgeoning death of high-profile defense attorney Daniel Horowitz`s wife, Pam Vitale brutally beaten and stabbed to death just beside the dream home she and her husband were building together. The motive? A credit card fraud scheme gone bad.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We, the jury, in the above entitled cause find the defendant, Scott Edward Dyleski, guilty of a violation of penal code section 187, murder in the first degree, a felony.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know that the public is very interested and hungry for information. This has been a case that has held everyone`s attention, even across the world, for 10 years.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The warrant charging Mr. Karr in the Ramsey affair was quashed this afternoon. He remains in our custody based on the fact that Sonoma County does want to extradite him on the five counts of child pornography that he faces in California.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Legal bombshell -- yes, the truth is stranger than fiction -- today, this man, John Mark Karr, walks. No DNA, no case. After bringing him all the way from Bangkok, Thailand, from Long Beach, California, to Colorado, the case is over. Unconfirmed reports that tomorrow`s extradition hearing will be at 6:00 PM Eastern, 4:00 o`clock Mountain time. Oh, yes, Mr. Karr, you are wanted on child porn charges in California, just five misdemeanor charges. That only amounts to five years, if it runs consecutive.
Let`s go to the lines. Tim in Georgia. Hi, Tim.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Nancy. How serious is the charge of offering a false confession like this?
GRACE: Not serious at all. It carries very little time there in Colorado. There is a lot of legal problems with the fact that he made these so-called confessions while he was in Thailand.
Ellie, isn`t it considered a misdemeanor? You can`t be held for long at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a misdemeanor.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
GRACE: Only up to 12 months, Tim in Georgia. But I would certainly pursue charges against him.
To Andre in New Jersey. Hi, Andre.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good night, Nancy. How`re you doing?
GRACE: I`m fine, dear. What`s your question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to ask you, why did the DA (INAUDIBLE) one piece of corroborated evidence? Why didn`t they have -- you know, this is not 1996, this is 2006, you know?
GRACE: Andre, I`ve got to tell you something, you`re dead on. I recall going to my elected district attorney -- he had been the DA for 37 years -- and asked him to indict some cases I believed in. He waited 10 years, Andre -- 10 years -- but he got a conviction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: John was very quiet, very eccentric (INAUDIBLE) which you don`t see a lot of those in Hamilton, Alabama. But he was very nice. I can`t say that I regret being friends with him because I look at it this way -- if he is involved...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... then there`s a reason.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Bombshell, John Mark Karr, the confessed killer of JonBenet Ramsey, has walked. It was all for naught.
Joining us by phone, Daniel Pride. He has stated that he observed Karr in Boulder, December 26, 1996. Welcome, Mr. Pride. Thank you for being with us.
DANIEL PRIDE, SAYS HE SAW KARR AT BOULDER BUS STATION THE NIGHT JONBENET WAS KILLED: How do you do?
GRACE: Mr. Pride, you state that you saw Karr on a bus in 1996 in the Boulder area, correct?
PRIDE: That`s incorrect.
GRACE: Oh, OK. When did you see him?
PRIDE: I didn`t say that I saw Karr. I said I would never be able to walk into court and ID him. What I discussed...
GRACE: Then what did you say?
PRIDE: ... was -- I`m sorry?
GRACE: Then what did you say?
PRIDE: I related that I ran into somebody that night who seemed at the right time and place, behaving very strangely.
GRACE: Hold on. I`ve got your statement up right now.
PRIDE: The eyes still do look correct to me for Karr.
GRACE: We`re putting your statement up right now. And it says verbatim, "Just a minute or two before it got there, Karr showed up, standing on the platform near the bus."
GRACE: This is the letter you wrote to the district attorney.
PRIDE: Well, what`s interesting, I found from a producer at CNN that apparently, there is a taping system. We need to look at that tape that night and see who I was talking to.
GRACE: OK. You know what?
PRIDE: If it wasn`t Karr, who was it?
GRACE: I`m looking at a Web site. It`s your version of 1996, where you also say you saw Santa Claus on the bus. You`re part of the problem!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you look at the physical evidence in this case, it`s abundant. We have unidentified footwear impressions in the room where her body was found. There was a paintbrush that`s missing. There`s rope; there`s tape; there`s a number of things that point to an intruder. You have an open window. You have a suitcase at the base of that window with glass on top of it. These are all obvious signs that an intruder entered this home.
CALLER: What it amounts to is, I think that most of us are capable of having any of those fantasies. And it`s hard for me to differentiate between what, what they mean, you know. Instead of thinking she`s pretty, you start to think she`s sexy. I guess at that point, you`re probably having a sexual attraction to that child.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Hearing tapes like that, no wonder the district attorney was suspicious of John Mark Karr. But to extradite him all the way to California to Colorado only to have him walk? The case wasn`t ready. A blunder in colossal proportions that may forever preclude bringing in the real killer.
Joining us, Daniel Pride. He states in a written letter that he was 90 percent sure he observed Karr in Colorado, Boulder, 12-26-96. Mr. Pride, upon researching this, it appears that you also claimed you saw someone that looked like the Santa Claus, Bill McReynolds.
PRIDE: That`s correct. At first, I -- it wasn`t a very serious identification. There was a show on it very briefly, and I saw it. And I went, "Well, maybe." The (INAUDIBLE) identification is not clear. The event is very clear. We need to see if the surveillance tape of the station that night, they`re supposed to exist. If the tape wasn`t collected, why? But if the tape was collected, let`s look at the tape.
GRACE: Sir, you also said you saw Santa Claus, for Pete`s sake, on the bus. I mean, how many people are you seeing on that bus?
CALLER: Would you repeat the exact line of that?
GRACE: Yes, "My I.D. is about 90 percent."
You know, here`s the problem, and I want to go back out to Jean Casarez, Court TV`s news correspondent. You`ve got a district attorney who is hearing these identifications of Karr being in Boulder. You`ve got his confessions to some professor that he`s got an e-mail acquaintance with. I understand the suspicion, Jean. I understand him being a target. But to bring him in, to house him in the jail, to arrest him on formal charges, why?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Well, they arrested him on the probable cause, as you know. And what they`re saying in their affidavit is that they couldn`t get his DNA in the way they had to get it in Thailand to be able to see if there was a match with the DNA that was mixed with her blood.
Remember, we`ve heard all these years that mixed with her blood was an unidentified male DNA? It looks like that`s the truth. And according to the D.A.`s office, they had to bring him to this country, apparently had to bring him to Boulder, so they could get that mouth swab that would prove yes or no as a match to the DNA.
GRACE: You know, you just can`t tell me, Jason Oshins, that in the sex trade capital of the world there`s no way to get somebody`s DNA. Please.
JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Nancy, listen.
GRACE: That`s just like -- it`s the child sex trade capital of the world. There are tours for pervs like Karr who go over there to have sex with children, all right? And they want to tell me they have to ruin the case? Why am I angry? Because I want the truth.
I want justice for who killed this little girl, who strangled her to death. And this D.A. was so excited to make an arrest, so carried away by the media frenzy, she jumped the gun and, in my mind, has ruined the case.
OSHINS: Nancy, you sound so eloquent, much like me when I`m speaking on behalf of someone. Listen, clearly there was -- this guy`s a perv. I mean, we`re looking at the information. He`s wanted in California. He`s certainly no saint. He obviously got their attention.
GRACE: What`s your point?
OSHINS: That`s what he wanted, OK? That`s what he wanted. And so, based on everything that he had said and e-mailed and how much interest he generated from them in him, they really had no choice at that moment but to go and get him.
Listen, if this was him, there would be -- the first defense attorney would be up there and saying, "Listen, you tainted that sample in Thailand. You screwed around with it. You messed it up again." And that would just be part of the problem from the very beginning.
They had to do what they did. Listen, it`s a sensational case, and all of us are going to go and be joined to watching this frenzy. Did they make a mistake? They made a mistake. They had to make that mistake, though, to rule him out.
GRACE: To Larry Sutton with "People" magazine, how is it that Karr initially emerged as a suspect to start with?
SUTTON: Well, again, it came from his e-mails to the professor in Colorado. And that`s where the evidence just started to grow, and grow, and grow, to the point where the prosecutor felt they had to go and get this guy out of Thailand.
GRACE: To Dean Wideman, forensic scientist, DNA expert, DNA makes or breaks the case. Is there any way, is there any circumstance under which Karr could still be guilty of this offense?
DEAN WIDEMAN, FORENSIC SCIENTIST, DNA EXPERT: Sure, if they could, you know, link some evidence other than DNA to him, you know, to the scene that puts him at the scene or in touch with the body.
GRACE: We still have a palm print that has never been matched up. We still have shoeprints there, partial fingerprint. I`m just still wondering what knowledge he had, Larry Sutton, about the home, about the murder that was so inside baseball that only the killer would know. I mean, I`m looking at all these e-mails, and all they`re showing me is that he is having sex, if he`s to be believed, with young girls in Thailand, in the U.S., and they`re often connected to fantasies of killing the girls. I see that.
SUTTON: I don`t think it`s involved with whether the killings take place. I think what really got the prosecutor thinking about this was his description of how the murder took place and his messages in the e-mails saying that, yes, it involved his own saliva, for example. So I think that`s what set the prosecutor off.
GRACE: Well, and another thing, out to Jean Casarez standing by, regarding the D.A.`s desire to go ahead and make the arrest, specifically he talks about the murder. He talks about his saliva mixed with her blood, and he goes on to talk about tasting the blood of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey and that he was so involved in this bizarre sex act, during the strangulation, that he held her with a garrote too long and that is how she died.
Then it gets a little fuzzy when it comes to the blow to the head. That doesn`t fit in. I`m sure you read this by now, 90 pages of supporting affidavit.
CASAREZ: Sure. Haven`t read all 90, but you`re right. But I think what you just mentioned -- I think that is what the D.A. is saying had never been released publicly before about this crime.
But you know, Nancy, one thing in this, the district attorney is saying that they only have circumstantial allegations from his family that he was with this family. So that means a picture was never produced with the year 1996, a Christmas card was never found that was signed in 1996 from that area. Video of Christmas was never found at all, so they`re really basing this on the DNA.
GRACE: And speaking of the DNA, with us a renowned forensic scientist, Dr. Lawrence Kobilinsky, Kobi, right at the get-go we learned that the DNA is contaminated. And this is not just a theory that Johnnie Cochran is throwing out in the court -- God rest his soul -- to get one juror to come back and hang up the jury. This is not some far-fetched and bizarre theory.
The state came out and said, "We contaminated the DNA when we clipped her nails." So at the very beginning, Kobi, this was a long shot from winning the case. When you`re snake bit like that at the beginning, how can you win the case?
LAWRENCE KOBILINSKY, FORENSIC SCIENTIST: Well, Nancy, the fact is, is that you`re right. Two of the stains had degraded DNA, and perhaps those samples were tainted. But the third blood stain apparently was a mixture, a combination of victim and assailant. And that DNA certainly could provide the vital information. I think, unfortunately, this -- nobody`s a winner here, except for the public. They learned that these...
GRACE: And Karr. He`ll probably write a book.
KOBILINSKY: Yes, but these kinds of people exist out there, and people have to watch out for their children.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I found significant comparison documents that were adequate to convince me that he is the one that wrote the ransom note.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are major structural differences that cannot be reasonably explained. There are the differences in the letter "e." There are the letter "m," the letter "v" as in victor, the letter "u."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re not (INAUDIBLE) lowercase "l." The "a" and the "d" are out of character from what we learned in school typically. I had 13 letters that matched significantly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are similarities, but similarity is not identity.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: It is over. The fat lady has sang a song. John Mark Karr has walked. After thousands and thousands of dollars in the midst of a media blitz, the D.A. drops charges before they`re ever formally lodged.
What happened? What went wrong? Were they that excited about making an arrest in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case? Was it that much of an intoxicant to believe they can make the arrest? Was it so important they did it right then?
A massive failure on behalf of investigators and the D.A.`s office. Why not hold him in Bangkok until you can get an appropriate saliva sample? Why not? They were only too happy to have press conferences and hold him, one presser after the next.
We are now getting word -- confirmed -- Sonoma County will, in fact, extradite John Mark Karr to Sonoma County to answer up on five misdemeanor charges of child pornography. Now, how child porn can be a misdemeanor and not a felony, ask Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California Assembly about that.
Back to Jean Casarez, Court TV news correspondent with continuing coverage on this case, Jean, I`m looking at the 90-page document supporting the arrest warrant which was so badly bungled. And it states -- these are the words of John Mark Karr. I see why the D.A. had targeted him.
It says, "It would have been my wish she had not had a blemish on her, JonBenet, when she was laid to rest in her lovely wooden casket. What I would not have given to have crawled in beside her in that casket and made love to her once more." You know what? He ought to be arrested on that alone, if it was the law.
No wonder Lacy, the district attorney, was so focused on this guy. But she didn`t have the goods, Jean. And listen: I know all these other defense attorneys tonight, Burris and Oshins, they`re all backing off. You know, practically speaking, she can never take this case to another jury now that she`s done this with Karr, Jean.
CASAREZ: You know, this community is very tolerant of Mary Lacy. They respect her. Will they respect her tomorrow? I think they might. I think re-election will be in 2008. But I think that the whole community was waiting to see the nexus of placing him in Boulder. So how they`ll react to this is anybody`s guess.
GRACE: To psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig, author, her own TV show, Robi, false confession, I`ve never been a big believer in them. I know they do happen. What happened in this scenario?
DR. ROBI LUDWIG, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Well, I think we have a case where we had a man who couldn`t separate fact from fantasy. He was also seeking fame. So I think it was a combination of these things. And it`s also not uncommon in big cases to have false confessions.
GRACE: To Jean Casarez, did the district attorney ever take false confession into account?
CASAREZ: Nancy, they had to, didn`t they? They had to. But I think just the intensity of this, what you`ve read, I think just made them want to test that DNA. And if we believed what we read, they`re saying they couldn`t get a good sample in Thailand. So I think that`s the issue right there, and that`s going to be the question tomorrow at the press conference.
GRACE: Tell me about the press conference tomorrow, Jean, and about the extradition hearing.
CASAREZ: OK, press conference tomorrow is 10:00 Mountain Time, 12:00 Eastern Time. It`s where they`re going to meet and give a brief statement and answer questions, lots of questions.
Extradition hasn`t been confirmed, but we`ve heard there is an extradition hearing tomorrow afternoon. Obviously, he won`t stay here. But, Nancy, I bet he sure is going to want to stay here. He`s going to fight this extradition, you wait.
California is saying that they are re-issuing an arrest warrant for him and the warrant`s on the five misdemeanor charges for child pornography, so he will plausibly go to California. But, remember, there are five charges, but they are all misdemeanors.
GRACE: Jean, regarding his extradition hearing, why do you think at this juncture he`ll fight extradition?
CASAREZ: Because this is Boulder, Colorado. This is where he`s dreamed of being. So I think he will just want to stay here.
Nancy, what we understand is he was almost released this afternoon. Deputies had him, and all of a sudden they were going to take him to an undisclosed location of his choice. And all of a sudden, the call came in that California was going to re-issue that arrest warrant and the five charges would become active again, and so they stopped and took him back to Boulder County jail.
GRACE: Jean Casarez, if you`re correct and he does fight extradition, what does that mean as far as the legalities? How does it play out?
CASAREZ: I don`t think it means too much. And the public defender, I`m sure, will try to show him there is no valid reason to fight this extradition. But I think in his heart -- I`m talking about in his heart -- he will want to fight extradition and stay in Boulder.
GRACE: Joining us there in Boulder, Court TV`s Jean Casarez.
To Dr. Robi Ludwig, I`m reading more and more of the affidavit supporting this guy`s arrest. And it`s really not a lot different from what you would read from any pervert online talking about children. They arrested him based on this. It says, "Police so dumbfounded they thought Karimov was killed by a hater. They never dreamed they should check the body for DNA evidence by all of those kisses on her body that night." Kisses.
LUDWIG: See, I think John Mark Karr also confessed because he feels very guilty about his perverted tendencies, and perhaps he wanted to get caught and stopped. Plus, he had an erotic transference towards this little girl.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had been released. He had been taken from the jail and taken to the justice center. In the meantime, we`ve had contact with the California authorities. They entered their warrant into the computer, and they confirmed that they wanted to extradite him. So he took custody of him again on the California charges, and we`re bringing him back to the jail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: John Mark Karr will walk free out of Colorado. All the alleged charges against him regarding the murder of JonBenet Ramsey kaput, over, nada, zilch, nothing, but he is answering up to child porn charges in California.
Out to the lines, Liz. Let`s go to Martha in California. Hi, Martha.
CALLER: Hi, this is Martha from Mobile, Alabama.
GRACE: Ah, hi, nice accent.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
CALLER: Well, I wanted to know is, since he`s been not matched up, so to speak, is there any way that DNA can be altered such as the treatments he might have been taking for gender trans -- you know, transformation?
GRACE: No, ma`am, but good thinking. I`ve turned this Rubik`s cube every way I can. And except, Martha, for another person being there with him, I just don`t see it. The gender change in no way affects your DNA. Your hormones, yes. Your DNA, no, right, Robi?
LUDWIG: A forensic scientist would be better able to answer it than I, but it sounds right.
GRACE: Kobi, what about it?
KOBILINSKY: Your DNA is going to stay with you throughout your lifetime. And unless there`s a transfusion or a very unusual genetic anomaly called chimerism, it`s not going to happen.
GRACE: Larry Sutton, do you really believe it`s over with John Mark Karr, yes, no?
SUTTON: Over as far as JonBenet, yes. Over as far as, will we be wanting to learn some more information about him when he goes to California? No, we`ll be following him.
GRACE: Larry Sutton, "People" magazine staff editor, thank you for being with us, along with all of my guests.
I want to stop for a moment to remember Marine Corporal Paul King, 23, Tyngsboro, Massachusetts. He joined Marines straight from high school, receiving multiple honors, including the Purple Heart. Recently wed, King loved riding motorcycles with his bride, Rebecca. Paul King, still just a baby, American hero.
Thank you to our guests. Our biggest thank you, to you, for being with us, inviting all of us and this story of Lady Justice into your homes. And congratulations, Columbus team. You won the Little League World Series championship, beating Japan, 2-1. Good night, friends.