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CNN Larry King Live

Interview With John Mark Karr

Aired October 16, 2006 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN HOST (voice-over): Tonight, John Mark Karr, he captured the world's attention with what turned out to be false claims about JonBenet Ramsey's murder. You've heard all the theories why.

Now, in his first in-depth, face-to-face interview, John Mark Karr tells a little bit about his side of the story next on LARRY KING LIVE.


KING: Good evening.

Our guest tonight is John Mark Karr, who two months ago went from total obscurity to international infamy overnight. Here's a reminder of how it all went down to bring you up to date.


KING (voice-over): After ten years of private tragedy and public spectacle was there really finally a break in the most notorious child murder mystery of our time?

JOHN MARK KARR: I love JonBenet and she died accidentally.

KING: John Mark Karr, who made those shocking claims one day after his arrest in Thailand, was a 41-year-old traveling elementary school teacher who had skipped town on 2001 child porn possession charges in Sonoma County, California, charges since dropped when key computer evidence was lost.

Back in August, authorities said he knew gruesome details of JonBenet's body that had never been made public. But, his second ex- wife immediately said he was at their Alabama home on Christmas, 1996, when JonBenet was murdered.

Authorities had been led to Karr by University of Colorado professor Michael Tracey (ph), who e-mailed for years with the person who was now the prime suspect.

MICHAEL TRACEY, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO PROFESSOR: The correspondence began about four years ago and it was initiated after a friend of mine, Mike (INAUDIBLE), who had a little press for himself the other day, met the person who turned out to be Mr. Karr in Paris. KING: While Karr was extradited to the United States, flying business class, the questions multiplied, among them what did JonBenet's father, who just lost his wife to cancer, make of all of this?

LIN WOOD, JOHN RAMSEY'S ATTORNEY: John Ramsey wants what Mary Lacy, the district attorney in Boulder wants, what I think many millions of Americans want. He wants the person who brutally murdered his daughter to be brought to justice.

KING: But that hope evaporated a week later with another shocking press conference, this time in the Ramsey's hometown of Boulder, Colorado.

MARY LACY, BOULDER COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: But the way he told the story it had to be had to be his and it's not, so once that came back at not a match he is not the killer.

KING: And so, the Ramseys and the rest of us are left to wonder if JonBenet's killer will ever be found. And, why did John Mark Karr make himself a permanent footnote to this case?


KING: Our guest is John Mark Karr. What is it like, John, to be infamous or famous? What's it been like for you unknown/known?

KARR: Well, first I want to say that it was never my choice to be what you just said. I've always been a very private person and it's been for me painful. It's been something that's been unpleasant. It's never been -- it's never been pleasant not once and it's not something I ever wanted.

KING: You're a smart guy so you knew...

KARR: Thank you.

KING: ...that something had to happen from what you were saying. I mean logically one would equal -- one and one would equal two.

KARR: Well, I don't -- I don't think that it takes intelligence to say whether or not you want to have something like this happen to you. I know that my -- my feelings on that is that I did not want anything like that to happen to me. I would not wish that on anyone, especially not on me.

KING: So, you didn't want to be well known under any circumstances?

KARR: Absolutely not.

KING: Did you know though you would be?

KARR: Never.

KING: You thought nothing would come of it? KARR: No, I thought nothing would come of it.

KING: So, you were surprised?

KARR: Yes, I was surprised.

KING: At everything that occurred?

KARR: Of course.

KING: Let me go back a little. Where did you grow up?

KARR: I was born outside of Atlanta, lived in Atlanta the first few years of my life and then went to my grandmother and grandfather's house and I was raised on a beautiful estate in Alabama.

KING: Brothers and sisters?

KARR: Yes, I have an older full brother. His name is Michael and a younger half-brother named Nate and my brother Nate has been extremely supportive during all this time. He's just a wonderful brother and I've learned the meaning of the word brother.

KING: From the half-brother?

KARR: Yes. Yes because, I mean, you know, the whole world is saying all of these horrible things about me. You could imagine how that would affect people who know me, like my brother, and he's just been supportive, giving me support and love and understanding. It's beyond all belief what he's done for me. I really appreciate it.

KING: How about your older brother?

KARR: My older brother I've talked to on the telephone I talked to. He's a family man and he's got a new job I understand. I wish him all the luck in the world. He's a great brother. I grew up with him. I love all of my family.

KING: And you got married, right?

KARR: I've been married, yes.

KING: Had twin kids die?

KARR: Yes, it was very difficult for my wife and I.

KING: Howl old?

KARR: She was five months into the pregnancy. You know, I will tell you something, Larry, something I've promised my wife, my ex-wife that I want to protect her and my children from any of this and I tend not to discuss that part of my life (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Totally understandable. But given it all, she was the one who caused the complete change of opinion about you because she was the one who said, "He wasn't -- he was with me Christmas." KARR: Right.

KING: Don't you think she helped you a lot?

KARR: I think that she is a fabulous mom and she was protecting our children and I think that that is a wonderful thing that she did. She's a wonderful person. I have nothing but respect for her and I certainly want my children to be taken care of and protected and she's done a fabulous job with that. And, you know, I love my sons and I want the best for them. And right now the best I can do for them is to keep them out of the limelight.

KING: So, she was in a sense covering for you?

KARR: No, I don't think that's -- that could be said. I think she was just telling the truth about what she thought was the truth and our children are involved in this and we don't want our children to be involved.

KING: How old are the kids?

KARR: Well, I've got a -- my oldest son will be 16 his next birthday and 14 and 13 for my other two sons.

KING: Do you see them?

KARR: I haven't. I haven't. I've been out of the country for five years and haven't seen my family.

KING: Talk to them?

KARR: Haven't.

KING: Isn't that sad?

KARR: It is very much so. It's very sad. But you know what I find comfort in knowing that they're happy because I know they're happy. There's one thing I know about my ex-wife is that she's a good person and a great mom and she's given them the best life. And, it comforts me in knowing that they're happy because it's not whether I talk to them or have contact with them, it's that they're happy and I know that they are.

KING: Are you a good dad?

KARR: I hope that -- I'd like to think so and I hope that they feel that way. I did my very best. I gave my best to my sons because I love my sons very much.

KING: The relationship with Professor Tracey, who has appeared on this show I guess you know, how did that start?

KARR: Well, you know, Larry, my attorneys have advised me not to be here at all because they want to protect me and that's understandable. They've advised me that anything to do with any arrest in the past, any investigations that have been launched against me in the past that I should not discuss that and I really want to respect their advice because they did such a great job.

Rob Amparan, Gail Gutekunst (ph), and Ben Prince in San Francisco, Seth Timmon (ph) and Steve Jakinson (ph) in Boulder did a wonderful job of protecting my rights. I was able to see justice in action. I was able to see that you can -- with competent and very fantastic attorneys who have all the facts in place can definitely defend you from any kind of accusations that are launched against you.

KING: But in all fairness to this program, you did go on with Dr. Ablow on "The Today Show" and did discuss the Ramsey case.

KARR: OK, well that situation...

KING: So I feel humbled that you would go someplace and not here and then come here and then not discuss it.

KARR: Right. Let me explain something about that. That was not an interview. That was something that was misrepresented and I have an entertainment attorney, Mr. Chris Reggie (ph), who is now handling that matter and we're trying to work something out before we go into litigation because this was not done with my permission.

KING: What was it then, John? In other words, did you sit -- you had to sit down with Ablow right? I mean you had to sit down with him.

KARR: Well, there are some -- there are some very unethical circumstances surrounding that and I want you to know that I consider this to be my first sit-down interview with my permission where I have -- I'm of sound mind and I'm sitting before a person I respect and I consider this to be my first true interview.

KING: So, you were conned in some way or misled?

KARR: Well, I'm going to say...

KING: Let me know what happened.

KARR: OK. I'd like to do that but...

KING: I haven't said the word Ramsey.

KARR: I understand you.

KING: I've just said what did they lead you into that wasn't an interview?

KARR: I understand you. My attorney, Mr. Reggie, is working on that right now and I would like to let him take care of that.

KING: But you are saying you were misled in the Ablow thing with "The Today Show"?

KARR: I will say -- I will say that I was absolutely and, again, I'm going to say that I consider this to be my first conscientious decision to make an interview, to do an interview with anyone. This is my first interview with you.

KING: We'll be right back with John Mark Karr. Don't go away.


KARR: I just kept talking to her. I was... "Oh, God, JonBenet please, sweetheart, breathe. Please. Please." Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought someone's going to hear me. I know somebody's going to hear me because I wasn't talking softly.

And so, I just, I didn't care. Just all I cared about was her. I just cared about her. I just knew that I -- I knew that I had gone too far. And, I said, "Oh, JonBenet, please, please breathe for me. Please don't leave me. Please don't leave me. Please come back to me."




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you an innocent man? Are you an innocent man?



KARR: Her death was -- was an accident.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you were in the basement?

KARR: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell us about your connection to the Ramsey family?

KARR: No comment on that.


KING: Just as an addendum to what was just discussed, Dr. Ablow did go on with Matt Lauer and say that he did nothing unethical, didn't take you anywhere against your will, didn't do anything and that was an invited, accepted interview. I just want you to know that that's what Dr. Ablow told Matt Lauer.

KARR: Well, I disagree with it and, as I said, my attorney Chris Reggie is -- I've now placed it in the hands of my attorney and I'm going to trust that he'll take care of me in this matter.

KING: And this is supposed to air tomorrow, right? Do you know when it's airing?

KARR: I don't know anything about that, no. I'm hoping it won't because it's a misrepresentation of me.

KING: Did you leave unhappy?

KARR: I left unhappy. I was unhappy throughout the process, very, very unhappy and I just think that it's very unprofessional what happened, I mean very unethical. And, again, I'm just going to say this is my first interview.

KING: OK. What took you to Thailand?

KARR: Well, I'd been traveling for a few years outside the United States.

KING: You were a teacher right?

KARR: Yes. I was a second grade teacher. I was beginning my one year contract at a very prestigious international school in Bangkok. I won't mention the name out of respect for the school.

KING: Had you ever had any problems with children?


KING: Nothing?

KARR: Absolutely not.

KING: So, all those stories were false?

KARR: There's so much, Larry, that's false.

KING: But that you could tell me. You never had a problem.

KARR: So much.


KARR: So much that's false.

KING: You never bothered a child though did you?

KARR: No, absolutely not. I've protected children. I've been -- I've been a teacher for -- this is my tenth year of teaching. I still call myself a teacher. I've had -- I've heard that some people say, "Well he'll never teach again." In the profession of teaching once you're a teacher, you're always a teacher. If I'm never in a classroom again, I'll always be a teacher and I've...

KING: So, therefore, you unequivocally say you have never harmed a child and wouldn't because you're a teacher ever harm a child?

KARR: Right.

KING: So then the obvious question is, you don't have to answer it, is why did you say you did? KARR: Well, I think you're leading back to something that I said earlier that this has something to do with a past arrest and a past criminal investigation that was launched against me and I cannot make any kind of comments about that under advisement of my attorneys.

KING: Are you saying -- let's set it straight. Are you saying you never said you harmed a child?

KARR: I'm saying that I believe that you're leading into an area that...

KING: But it's simple, John, you either said I did or said I didn't. I'm not asking you (INAUDIBLE).

KARR: I am saying that I've never harmed a child.


KARR: I'm saying it right now.


KARR: I'm saying that I would protect any child who I thought was being harmed.

KING: All right.

KARR: I don't ever recall saying that I did harm a child.

KING: Back to Thailand.

KARR: Right.

KING: What were you doing? You were working in a private school.

KARR: Yes. I was working in a private school.

KING: How did you end up in jail?

KARR: Again you're talking about an investigation...

KING: Well you said you would discuss Thailand with me.

KARR: I'm discussing Thailand but I would love to discuss my teaching with you but when it comes to questions that link back to an arrest and the word "jail" is linking back to an arrest that has something to do with any investigations that were launched against me in the past, I've been advised strongly by my attorneys not to comment on that.

KING: Do you -- are you still facing any kind of charges in Thailand?

KARR: Absolutely not and I was assured...

KING: That's all over with?

KARR: You know I was assured, the Thai authorities assured me on a daily basis that there were no charges against me there that I was being detained simply because of the arrest warrant that was pending against me from the United States.

KING: What was it like to be thrust suddenly in Thailand is where it happened...

KARR: Right.

KING: front of all those media and flashing their cameras and light bulbs?


KARR: I loved JonBenet very much. I love JonBenet and she died accidentally.


KING: What was that like?

KARR: That was something that I would like to talk to you about. I remember on the first day of that, which was the next day after my initial arrest that I was told that it was a Thai policy of law enforcement that they would show a person they've arrested for something that's -- well they didn't arrest me but I would be shown as a person who was being arrested for a serious crime.

So, I was led by a Boulder police detective and homeland security and other Thai law enforcement to meet the cameras. When I walked into the area to meet the cameras it was just a wall of photographers.

I was told later there were 150 photographers in this little small area and they were just -- it was just a wall. They were -- they were all together and they just started snapping.

And then all of a sudden the wall started to just become a wave and it just started coming toward us, and so they grasped me up and we ran from the press. The press chased us. We got on an elevator and tried to avoid them.

But, you know, what was so difficult that you didn't get to see was the expression on the photographers' faces. It was just madness. They were hitting each other with their cameras.

They were hitting the officers around me with their microphones. It was just absolute chaos. And, the look that they gave me was just something I'll never forget. But I did remain calm during all that. I tried to maintain my dignity.

KING: Were you being -- any lawyers there with you?

KARR: That is something that I would love to say that I -- for people to know I was not represented by any attorney outside of the United States. The first time I saw an attorney was when I arrived in Los Angeles, so I had no attorney to tell me, to give me advice and to protect my rights.

KING: We'll be right back with John Mark Karr. Don't go away.


KARR: It's so horrible, Michael. There's nothing more horrible than this. There's nothing more horrible. My God, you can't imagine. God damn me to hell. I swear to God. I don't even deserve to be alive. I don't. I don't deserve to be alive. I swear to God it's awful. It's so awful. I'm the worst person alive. I am such a horrible person.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A demand has been made for your surrender by the State of Colorado, County of Boulder, Mr. Karr. You are charged with one count of first degree murder, after deliberation, one count of first degree felony murder, one count of first degree kidnapping, one count of second degree kidnapping, one count of sexual assault upon a child.

The court finds that the defendant knowingly and intelligently waived his right to the issuance and service of the governor's warrant. He is remanded into custody without bail and the defendant shall be returned to the State of Colorado.


KING: We're back with John Mark Karr.

Are you under any charges at all anywhere by the way?

KARR: No, absolutely not.

KING: None pending, none...

KARR: I have a clean record. I've never been convicted of a crime.

KING: And you're going to go back and live in Atlanta?

KARR: I am. I'm going to go back and live in Atlanta, hold my head high, spend some time with my dad. My dad's a World War II vet. He's 85.

KING: Do you want to teach again?

KARR: I might, you know. I'll always be a teacher.

KING: Do you think it might be hard for you though? KARR: I don't know. I'm the kind of person who I believe America is a wonderful country and that people are innocent until proved guilty and I haven't been proved guilty of anything and I have a right to pursue what I want to pursue. At this time, though, I'm not really -- it's not something that is of interest to me.

KING: In all fairness though, John, and you don't have to comment, there were many reports that you did confess to a crime, which is what caused the whole hoopla in the beginning. That's why there were all the photographers. That's why there was the insanity over the plane trip. You had said you did something. If you hadn't said you did something, you -- don't you think you created the story?

KARR: Well, I think that I have multiple opinions on who created the story, you know.

KING: You were part of it.

KARR: Well, you know the story that was certainly something that still disgusts me. I want to be John Mark Karr, the unknown, you know. I want to be able to walk down the street without anyone knowing who I am.

KING: You said it on camera.


KARR: I love JonBenet and she died accidentally.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you an innocent man? Are you an innocent man?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you kill Ramsey?


KING: You're too bright not to know something, there's cause and effect.

KARR: Well, you know, again this goes back to what I'm telling you that my attorneys have advised me not to talk about.

KING: But the case is over, John.

KARR: It's not over.

KING: There are still charges pending against you?

KARR: No charges pending against me but it's not something that I can discuss without my attorney giving me advice to discuss that or being with me. And, at this time, I'm being told by my attorney and advised that I shouldn't discuss this matter because in all honesty, you know, at this point I'm possibly a target for law enforcement to just keep their eye on me. And, I've -- I welcome them to because I'm going to be, you know, with my dad and I'm going to be relaxing with my family and they're welcome to look.

KING: The DNA don't fit, John. You're totally cleared.

KARR: I know it.


KARR: I know that. You know that's what's great about this country is that you're innocent until proved guilty and I've not been proved guilty.

KING: All right, let's go to the flight home.

KARR: All right.

KING: What was that like?

KARR: The flight home from where?

KING: Bangkok to here.

KARR: Well, I didn't go home.

KING: No, that's right you weren't going home, the flight to wherever they -- they took you to Colorado, right?

KARR: They took me to Los Angeles first.

KING: L.A. and then to Colorado.

KARR: Yes. The flight back I've never flown first class before, Larry.

KING: That was business class I think but same thing.

KARR: Well, see that's how much I know about it. If it's not economy, I don't know anything about it.

KING: Did photographers on the plane surprise you?

KARR: That -- the entire area of business class that it was filled with the press corps was an amazing thing, yes, and that they stayed up all night taking pictures of me every time I moved.

And, I recall one moment where I went to the -- close to the -- the little kitchen area and I was standing up and stretching and a photographer came up and asked the detectives. She said, "Can I take a picture of Mr. Karr stretching?" So, you know, I didn't get any sleep that night I can tell you that much.

But I was just going along with -- I was in custody and I was going along. I was going along with what they told me to do, which was I didn't book the ticket in business class. I prefer not to fly business class.

KING: How did you get your lawyers?

KARR: My attorneys, which attorneys in Boulder or the ones in...

KING: All of them.

KARR: All of them.

KING: How about the ones in Boulder?

KARR: OK, well it started in Los Angeles. The first time I ever saw an attorney was in Los Angeles where some public defenders came in and talked to me and they helped me with the extradition hearing.

And then, Mr. Timmon, my criminal attorney in Boulder, referred me over to Rob Amparan and Rob has been fabulous and fantastic. He and I are very close. He called me before this interview to wish me well. And they've just, you know, I just can't say enough about how incredible it is that you could have -- you could live in such a country where you can be represented by an attorney.

KING: And, the Boulder prosecutor was very definitive when she made her statement was she not?

KARR: Which statement?

KING: Dismissing all charges.

KARR: Right.

KING: You weren't in the court for that?

KARR: I have been protected quite a bit by my attorneys. My attorneys are closer to me I suppose than your average attorney/client relationship but they just -- they're very protective and they kept me out of court as much as possible because of the cameras flashing as I walked by, the security issues.

KING: When we come back, I'll ask John Mark Karr why him? Don't go away.


LACY: We have probable cause to arrest him, based on our having tested other statements within the emails and the telephone calls, which is typically how we test credibility of someone, are they prone to lying about other things in their life? Because if they're lying about other things, they're probably lying about this, too.



KING: We're back with John Mark Karr on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Again, he has said that his attorneys have advised him that he will not discuss JonBenet Ramsey or the Ramsey case, and so we're under that cloud here that we cannot deal with that. So under those circumstances, we're doing the best we can.

You had a lot of teaching jobs. Why? Why did you move around so much?

KARR: I don't think I moved around so much. I'm a person who's been living abroad for five years and I had, for instance, one of my favorite positions was in Central America, and I was there for a full school year and I was also the head of the English department. I hired teachers, and that was a different experience for me, because I had the chance to pick and choose the best teachers. And if they're listening now, they'll know that I felt they were the best. I gave them letters of recommendation when they left and I wanted the best for those children.

KING: Why do you like teaching kids?

KARR: I like it for so many reasons. My approach to teaching and to working with kids is very holistic. It's not just about a fabulous lesson. It's also about making sure that they're just OK in every way.

It's unlike anything I can describe. Some people say they like to work with people and it's hard to describe why you wouldn't like to work with people, but children are the most wonderful people I've ever found to work with.

They're just intelligent and colorful and energetic and creative.

KING: All of this that's happened, why you?

KARR: I don't know.

KING: You must think that.

KARR: I do think that. I wish it wouldn't be me. I don't want it to be me. And when I walk down the street and I get looks of disgust, I say, "Why me?"

KING: But, John...

KARR: I've asked myself over and over.

KING: ... you played a part in it being you. How did we, the collective we, the world we, know about you?

KARR: I know how you know about me.

KING: We didn't know about you in Thailand, didn't know about you in Atlanta, didn't know about...

KARR: You know what? You know what, Larry?

KING: How do we know?

KARR: You know, it's too bad that you didn't know about me in Thailand and Atlanta. When I was walking through that pool of reporters, taking all those photos, I thought to myself, "Why am I not walking through this pool of reporters because I am a good, wonderful person to be acknowledged for being a good, wonderful person?"

KING: Because you said you had committed a crime that was terrible. If you didn't say that -- and I'm not saying her name. If you didn't say that, we wouldn't know you. We would not know you.

KARR: I understand that.

KING: That's why -- so you have to say, when you look in the mirror, "What the hell was I thinking? My DNA don't match, I didn't do this. I've never committed a crime. What are they all at the airport for? Because I said it."

KARR: I understand and I wish that I could discuss that further.

KING: All right, so psychologically...

KARR: ... but I can't.

KING: ... why would someone -- why do you think someone, forget her or anything, why would someone say they did something they didn't do, do you think?

KARR: Well, you said the word psychologically, and, you know, that goes down a whole different path, and I can assure you it has nothing to do with anything psychological.

There are a lot of elements that could be involved behind why someone would say something like that, but at this point, I can't discuss it.

KING: Wouldn't you wonder, if someone came on television tonight and confessed to an outstanding crime that has never been solved and said, "I did it," and all the photographers came -- and then they found out they didn't do it?

KARR: You know what, Larry?

KING: Wouldn't you wonder?

KARR: I don't recall ever saying that I did anything. So that's where I'm confused as to the question, as well. I never said -- I never gave a definitive...

KING: You never said you did it.

KARR: ... overt yes or no to anything, and I never said I did anything. So that's the point to be considered, as well.

KING: We have an e-mail from Lori -- I've got two people talking in my head at the same time. We have an e-mail from Lori in Longmont, California. "Do you ever think about what all this would do to your own children?" KARR: Well, I said earlier that, you know, I'm very concerned about my children's happiness and, at this point, I want them to be happy, and I think that they're in a very good environment and I think that they are.

KING: Don't you think this affects them, though?

KARR: I don't know how it's affecting them, but I am concerned that it will affect them.

But let me tell you what happened when I was in Bangkok. I was watching FOX News, because I did have access to the television in Bangkok, inside the cell where I was, and there were pictures shown of my children and their faces were shown, and I didn't appreciate it.

At one point, an actual anchor actually said my youngest son's first and middle name. And that wasn't something that I wanted to happen at all. It broke my heart. You better believe it concerns me, absolutely.

KING: Is there not a video of you, though, confessing? You've never seen it?

KARR: I do not recall confessing overtly to anything. And, again, I'm going to tell you that I can't discuss any matter like that under the advisement of my attorney.

KING: I understand. But are you saying that if you did, you didn't mean it?

KARR: I'm telling you that under the advisement of my attorney, I can't discuss any matter that has to do with the past arrest or a past criminal investigation. And I don't recall ever confessing to anything.

KING: Attorneys -- I'm glad you said that, because attorneys aside, I mean, an attorney can tell me a million things.

KARR: I understand that.

KING: But I want to tell you something. If I didn't do something and I'm in court, my attorney could tell me don't speak out. I'm telling you, John, I'm speaking out. If I didn't do it, I'm speaking out.

I don't care what John, Throckmorton, Philip, Marco, all of them, because they're going to go home tonight. I ain't.

KARR: I understand you. I understand you. And let me remind you that this is America and I was proved not guilty with DNA evidence.

KING: Cleared totally.

KARR: I know. Let's talk...

KING: So why can't you talk about it?

KARR: Well, because I've been advised by my attorneys not to, and I must trust, whether I understand that or not, as much as I might want to talk about it...

KING: By the way, did they give you a reason? Since you're cleared totally, why you can't talk?

KARR: Well, you know, there's a thing called attorney-client...

KING: I mean, did they say, "Don't talk because?"

KARR: ... privilege and I don't discuss what I talk about...

KING: But you can break the privilege.

KARR: Well, I don't wish to do that.

KING: All right, but you do know why you can't.

KARR: Yes, I know why I can't, and it has -- it's probably a whole lot of what you can't imagine. It's not something -- it's not what you're thinking. It's not that I don't want to just, you know, settle it once and for all.

I'm just telling you, once again, let me just reiterate that I've been proved not guilty through DNA evidence.

KING: We'll be back with more of John Mark Karr. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with John Mark Karr. And John was explaining one of the reasons that he can't talk out is he's not protected by double jeopardy, since he was not officially charged in the case.

You were never found guilty by a court, or found not guilty. Therefore, they cannot keep hounding you and charge you again.

However, since you were never charged, they could charge you again, right?

KARR: Right.

KING: That is correct. You could be charged again.

KARR: I'm vulnerable. I'm vulnerable in every way that a person could be vulnerable, without my attorney sitting beside me. But I chose to do this without my attorney and this is -- again, I'm just going to go back to the fact that this is the United States.

I've been out of the United States for five years, but now that I've returned, I remember so well what a great country this is, where you can be represented by an attorney and get very expert advise, and I choose to do that at this time. KING: If anyone is found not guilty, for example, like, let's say, O.J. Simpson was found not guilty, you can never charge him with that crime again.

KARR: That's absolutely correct.

KING: In fact, he could confess to that crime and you can't charge him.

KARR: Right.

KING: However, you were not found not guilty.


KING: You had charges against you dropped.

KARR: Absolutely.

KING: So you're not covered by double jeopardy.

KARR: That's correct.

KING: I'm glad we straightened that out.

We have an e-mail question from Jesse in Coralville, Iowa. "John, are the reports that you seeked a sex change in Thailand true?"

KARR: Well, you know what? If it was true, it's my choice and that's what's another great thing about being an American, is that you're free and anyone who would undergo a surgery like that, I have nothing but respect for those people.

KING: Me, too. We've had many of them on. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's a choice. It's a life development.

Have you thought of it?

KARR: You know, I might have. If it was, it would be my own private business. And that's another great thing about being a free American, is that I have a private life.

And so I do have a private life, but, you know, if I made a choice like that or considered a choice like that, I'd be proud of it. It wouldn't be something I wouldn't be proud of.

KING: Nothing wrong with it.

KARR: Absolutely not.

KING: Is Thailand a place where it's done a lot, to your knowledge?

KARR: Thailand does have a reputation for having some of the finest class of surgeons available and that's one of the things they do is they do sex change operations. KING: Do they require a psychiatric attention before they do it? I know they do in the United States.

KARR: Right. That's called standard of care.

KING: Right.

KARR: Yes, that's in place. They're very professional.

KING: Have you ever had care?



KARR: Absolutely not.

KING: You don't get hormone replacements or something like that.

KARR: Like I said, Larry, you know...

KING: It's your life. I'm just asking.

KARR: ... yes, my private...

KING: You put a condition on this interview. So I'm trying to get through everything.

KARR: I know. My private life is something that I'd like to have remain private, but if that's what -- if I'm preparing for a sex reassignment surgery, then it would be my decision, after great deliberation, and it would be my choice and it would be something that I'd be proud of, because I don't think that -- I think that anyone who undergoes SRS should be respected for making a decision that's honorable and I don't have anything against those who make that decision.

KING: Speaking of it, though -- and we've done shows on it -- are you at all, when you think about it, frightened of it?

KARR: Of sexual reassignment surgery?

KING: Yes.

KARR: I don't know. I think that a person who makes a decision like that, that they've had lots of time to think about all the upside and the downside. It's not something one would just jump into, and I don't think a person would be necessarily frightened of a surgery like that because it would be what they've wanted for a lifetime, not just on a whim.

KING: More with John Mark Karr -- two segments to go -- right after this.


KING: We're back with John Mark Karr.

By the way, after what you went through, anyone might need some care of a psychological order. I mean, that would be -- I would need psychological care if I went through what you went through. Did you ever think of it?

KARR: I haven't thought of it.

KING: No? I would have. I'd need it.

KARR: I'm very dry (ph). I think that people who go to a therapist for help should be respected, and that's one of our rights as an American citizen to do that. At this time, I don't feel the urge to do that at all. I'm a very -- I have a very strong constitution. I'm not a person who is really wavered by these things.

I will tell you, while we're on this subject, about how hard it is to go through this. I distanced myself from the press, as far as -- what I'm trying to say is, I don't watch television, I don't read newspapers anymore. At first I did see some of the coverage, but my best advice to anyone who's going through a painful experience with, let's call it the media, should just distance themselves from negative reports, just -- I just, you know -- there's an on-off switch there, and I just chose not to watch it. I chose not to read about it. So that is something that's helped me.

I'm just focused on my future, on being with my family, on happy thoughts. I concentrate on whatsoever is happy, and I just don't think about the negativity, I suppose, of it all.

KING: There were stories, when you moved to Petaluma, about something with Polly Klaas -- was that have anything to do with, one with the other?

KARR: That has something to do with a criminal investigation that resulted in an arrest, and I can't discuss those matters because my attorneys have advised me not to discuss them.

KING: But it's not an investigation about you, because the killer of Polly Klaas is in San Quentin.

KARR: Absolutely, yes. That's true.

KING: But you were involved somehow in the investigation?

KARR: I wasn't involved in that investigation.

KING: Is that the reason you went to Petaluma?

KARR: Absolutely not.


KARR: No. That's ridiculous. My wife and I got really nice jobs and we moved out to Petaluma, and Petaluma was a middle ground between Santa Rosa and San Francisco. I worked in San Francisco, she worked in Santa Rosa.

KING: Are you still recognized on the street?

KARR: Absolutely. It's something that's difficult at times, but it really doesn't bother me. I mean, so far -- while we're on that subject, believe it or not, the people who have come up to approach me, it's usually a light-hearted thing that they say to me. They'll say things like, Hang in there, John, Keep the faith, Be strong. I haven't had anyone come up to me and say any nasty things to me. Sometimes people respond with vulgar words when they see me, it's shock a sometimes, taking photos of me with their mobile phones.

You know, I just have to live my life. It's not -- this attention is negative; it's not something you want. It's not something I like. It's just something I have to learn to deal with. I have to live my life. I can't just stop being John Mark Karr because people recognize me from all of this.

And you know, to be honest, I have gotten no really horrible negative responses from even those people who look at me. It's usually a smile.

KING: We'll be back with our remaining moments with John Mark Karr right after this.


KING: We're back with our remaining moments with John Mark Karr.

Are you planning a book?

KARR: Possibly.

KING: Will you write -- will you at least reveal more in the book than you've revealed here?

KARR: I will. I will, because it will be --

KING: It would be good of you, John.

KARR: It would be. I understand -- I understand the frustration that I'm not talking as much, but I have some great attorneys, and I just -- I trust them. You know, they've never let me down in the past, and I'm listening to them now.

KING: One question I was always puzzled about JonBenet -- and I know you don't want to discuss that -- which has always puzzled me is, how could you have known her before she became well known?

KARR: I can't discuss any --

KING: Because she wasn't known until she was murdered.

KARR: I can't discuss any aspect of that.

KING: Anybody proposed a movie about you? KARR: Not yet. Not yet.

KING: Would you be interested?

KARR: Yes.

KING: So then why, if you want to go away to the quiet of Atlanta, would you do a book and be interested in a movie?

KARR: I'm not saying I'm interested in doing a movie. You were asking, has anybody approached me, and you asked me if I was interested. I would be interested only in controlling the way I'm portrayed in a film. I don't want a film to be -- a film can't be made about me without my permission, but I would not want it to portray me in some negative light, and that would affect my family, that would affect me, that would affect my children.

Let me just drive this home again. I was a very private person before this happened. I want to be a very private person again, but the deal is, if someone is going to do something like make a film about me, I want to make sure I'm not portrayed as a monster.

KING: Because they can make a movie about you.

KARR: Of course.

KING: When you become a famous person, they can make a movie --

KARR: I know, and every time you say that word `famous,' it just makes me cringe because that's not what I want -- it's not what I ever wanted.

KING: Good luck to you, John.

KARR: Thank you, Larry.

KING: Right now we go to New York and "AC 360" with Anderson Cooper -- Anderson.