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John Mark Karr - the Media's mistakes - Manifestos of the Moon

About John Mark Karr - the Media's mistakes

Previous Entry John Mark Karr - the Media's mistakes Aug. 20th, 2006 @ 02:01 pm Next Entry
I hope John Mark Karr turns out to be the one who killed JonBenet Ramsey, and that if so he gets convicted and justly sentenced. But like many people I have serious doubts at this point. When I first saw the video of him saying he with JonBenet when she died, my immediate gut feelling was that he was lying.

I don't want him to be lying. I want this case solved and the killer punished.

But was Karr even in Colorado? His ex-wife says no. Is the unidentified DNA found at the crime scene his? Could he have known about John Ramsey's $118,000 bonus, as the author of the ransom note obviously did?

What about the police contention that Karr knows something about the state of JonBenet's body that only the chief medical examiner and lead investigators knew? Is that possible, given that the autopsy report has been available on the web for years? This particular case has had so many leaks and revelations over the years, so many speculations and documentaries and books written (including books by ex-lead investigators), one can't help but wonder if any significant fact about the crime scene truly remains a secret.

We'll have to wait and see.

Here are some significant mistakes and omissions the news media has made in covering Karr's arrest:

1) Karr said he drugged JonBenet. Apparently Karr never said this. The Thailand official who is the source for this claim has subsequently denied it. Karr didn't say he drugged her, instead Karr said events that night were a "blur", the official has explained.

2) Karr said he kidnapped JonBenet from school. Again, Karr never said this. The same Thai official has explained that he was reporting not what Karr had said but rather about something he (the official) had seen in a documentary. (The official is not fluent in English, and that is evidently the origin of these misunderstandings.)

3) Karr said JonBenet's death was accidental, but there is no way it was accidental. Here the media is guilty of not being sufficiently informed. Anyone who has followed the case closely (or like me, not so closely until a couple days ago) should know that Boulder authorities brought in famed criminologist Henry Lee (remember him from the OJ Simpson case?) to look at the evidence, and that Lee told authorities that JonBenet's death may have been unintentional.
The Rocky Mountain News wrote on April 26, 2003 that Dr. Henry Lee, "the most prominent criminologist to work on the JonBenet Ramsey case remains unsure whether the child was murdered or died in what started as an accident." -- http://www.crimelibrary.com/notorious_murders/famous/ramsey/18.html
Reporters and commentators ought read summaries of the case readily available on the internet, at the very least, so they can report competently.

Speaking of Henry Lee, Friday he was reported to have doubts about Karr's confession. But his doubts are based at least in part on misinformation in the media (Lee is no longer associated with the investigation, and appears to be responding strictly to what he has read in news reports). Lee was quoted in the Connecticut Post as saying,
"When I first heard that someone came forward as a confessor, I was very happy for the Ramsey family, the community and for all of the law-enforcement people that worked so hard and for so long," Lee said from his office at the University of New Haven, where a forensic lab bears his name. "Now of course, when I read his confession, that he says he drugged JonBenet and raped her, that can't be." Those statements are "inconsistent with the actual evidence," Lee said. "The pathology report indicated no drugs in her body. There was no male penetration, no semen."
The claim that Karr raped JonBenet before killing her also comes from the same Thai official as the first 2 false claims I mentioned above, and therefor is also suspect. As Lee says, there was no penetration; but it should be pointed out that the killer apparently did wipe JonBenet's genital area with a cloth presumably to clean up evidence.

4) <em>Michael Tracey, the Univ. of Colorado professor who notified police about Karr, has done this before.</em> No, this is NOT being reported by the media. But perhaps it should be. Tracey created a documentary about the JonBenet killing in which he asserted that he knew who the murderer was. He didn't name the guy, but he flashed a department of corrections record up on the screen with the name covered up, and said investigators were looking him but that he had disappeared.

In fact, investigators were not looking for the man Tracey accused, and the guy had not disappeared. Nor was he a suspect. Nor was he in Boulder at the time of the murder. Tracey, in short, has a history of being wrong (which is probably why he's being cautious in his statements to the media this time.). But shouldn't the media at least point out that Tracey has been wrong before? You can read about the expose of Tracey's false accusation in his documentary here and here.

5) Karr confessed so he can be extradited to the US and avoid the Thailand justice system. So some commentators have concluded. Their thinking is that he would rather face murder charges in the good ol' USA than far more minor charges under the brutal Thai justice system. But this simply show complete ignorance of the sequence of events. Michael Tracey notified Boulder police about Karr's emails back in May, and authorities in Colorado immediately began working on identifying and tracking down the author of the emails. It appears that Karr had virtually confessed in the emails (asserting, for example, that he was wanted for child murder and molestation in 4 states, that he had intimate knowedge of the JonBenet crime scene, etc). This was May, and Karr did not even enter Thailand until June. He confessed when authorities confronted him with what they already knew from his emails (which he had obviously presumed couldn't be traced to him).

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