The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Case against US child killer suspect collapses

Boulder (Colorado), Aug. 29 (Reuters): John Mark Karr, the schoolteacher who made worldwide headlines by confessing to one of America’s most notorious unsolved crimes, the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, was abruptly cleared yesterday after the case against him collapsed.

Colorado prosecutors dismissed the arrest warrant against Karr hours before he was due for his first Colorado court appearance in the decade-old case, saying that DNA tests had failed to link him to the girl’s body.

The hearing in JonBenet’s hometown of Boulder was cancelled, but Karr, 41, was taken back to jail because authorities in northern California asked that he be sent there to face child pornography charges.

Karr’s claims that he was with JonBenet when she died had been greeted with growing scepticism, and prosecutors said in legal papers that, without a DNA match, they had no evidence against him other than his “repeated insistence” that he committed the crime.

JonBenet’s body was found in the basement of her Boulder home on December 26, 1996. The child beauty queen had been strangled to death, her skull fractured and mouth duct-taped. Forensic evidence suggests she was sexually assaulted.

The DNA taken from JonBenet’s underwear, which was found to be the saliva of a white male mixed with her blood, has never been matched to a suspect in the murder — a crime that has baffled police and fascinated Americans for nearly a decade.

JonBenet’s parents, who were once said by authorities to be under an “umbrella of suspicion” in their daughter’s death, were also excluded from having left the DNA.

The collapse of the case against Karr left authorities without a suspect in JonBenet’s long-unsolved murder. District attorney Mary Lacy — who had Karr arrested in Thailand and extradited to Colorado based largely on suspicious emails he had sent to Colorado University professor Michael Tracey — quickly came under fire.

“I find it incredible that Boulder authorities wasted thousands of taxpayer dollars to bring Karr to Colorado given such a lack of evidence,” Colorado Governor Bill Owens said. “Mary Lacy should be held accountable for the most extravagant and expensive DNA test in Colorado history.”

Lacy could not be reached for comment but explained in court papers that Karr, using the pseudonym “Daxis” had told Tracey that he “accidentally” killed JonBenet while asphyxiating her during sex, then delivered a severe blow to her head. She said her office moved quickly to arrest Karr in Bangkok because he had begun to “express sexual interest in specific young girls” at the school in Thailand where he had recently been hired as a teacher.

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