The DA Made The Right Call By Bringing Karr In

Some people, perhaps because of the humiliation they suffered when their assumption that Mark Karr killed JonBenet Ramsey turned out to be false, have been lashing out at District Attorney Mary Lacy for having Karr flown back to the US from Thailand:

“The prosecutor in the JonBenet Ramsey case Tuesday defended her decision to bring John Mark Karr halfway around the world to Colorado for investigation, saying it was difficult to separate fact from fantasy in his lurid account because every detail of the slaying is public knowledge.

District Attorney Mary Lacy said that in addition to Karr’s graphic account, his obvious predilection for little girls forced her hand.

“We felt we could not ignore this. We had to follow it,” she said. “There was a real public safety concern here directed at a particular child” in Thailand, and a forensic psychologist said Karr “was dangerous, this person was escalating.”

Also Tuesday, a judge ordered Karr sent to California to face five misdemeanor child pornography charges dating to 2001, saying he had violated terms of his bond in that state by failing to show up for a hearing on the charges.

In the day since Lacy’s office announced it was dropping the case against Karr, the district attorney has been bitterly criticized by defense attorneys and by Gov. Bill Owens, who accused her of wasting thousands of dollars on the “most expensive DNA test in Colorado history.”

For 90 minutes, Lacy patiently explained why authorities spent at least $9,300 to bring Karr back from Thailand after he balked at a more sophisticated DNA test that could have ruled him out as a suspect in the 1996 slaying of the 6-year-old beauty queen at her Boulder home.

Lacy said she wanted the investigation done quietly, but details leaked to the media.”

Let’s straighten some things out here.

The DA didn’t ask for the media to go bonkers over Karr being brought back to the US. She didn’t ask for round-the-clock cable coverage. She didn’t call up Matt Drudge and say, “Hey, could you slap this creepy pervert’s pic on the front of Drudge Report all day long?” It just leaked out and because a potential arrest in the JonBenet case was big news, it got enormous coverage. That much is understandable.

But, the people who declared Karr guilty right off the bat? That was ridiculous. What about the members of the media who were bending over backwards to apologize to the Ramsey family for ever suspecting them? That was ridiculous, too.

But, the people who did that have nobody to blame but themselves for jumping to conclusions because plenty of people, myself included, were extremely suspicious of Karr’s story from the very beginning.

So, why should the DA get the blame for the people who jumped the gun? She was investigating a murder and had a guy who confessed. What’s wrong with looking into it? Especially when we’re talking about a pedophile, up on child pornography charges, who had gotten a teaching job in Thailand. I bet the parents at that school, whose little girls would have been spending the day with Mark Karr, aren’t the least bit unhappy that he got dragged back to Colorado.

Long story short: Even though Karr didn’t kill JonBenet, it’s certainly worth $9,300 to get him away from those 2nd graders he would have been teaching and into a California courtroom where he’ll face child porn charges. So, Mary Lacy was right to take action.

Update #1: In the comments section, Redfish (tsk, tsk, tsk) writes:

“That is a nice CYA on your part but Karr would have been far better off in a Thailand jail. There was no reason to bring him back that quick. The Thailand police had him in custody for things he did there. The DA could have investigated his BS while sitting in jail over yonder. Thailand Jail! Not sure that he would have ever made it out a live and that would be a nice ending to this story.”

One problem with that theory: Despite what you may have heard, Karr apparently wasn’t being charged with breaking any laws in Thailand. They picked him up because they were asked to do so by the United States. From the Rocky Mountain News:

“The tracking of John Mark Karr began a couple of months ago, Tumrongsiskul said.

“We were informed by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) that the suspect of this case has come to Thailand,” said Tumrongsiskul. He added that ICE didn’t know the man’s name at that point, and had just an e-mail address, his Internet Provider, and therefore the neighborhood of Bangkok where he’d been e-mailing.

The neighborhood was Thung Maha Mek, barely a kilometer from the general’s office.

News reports in Bangkok say U.S. investigators got a break when Karr sent an envelope to Tracy by regular mail, and wrote a return address on the envelope of Bangkok, Thailand. The address had the name of a major thoroughfare, but no number or cross street.

Then ICE came up with the name: John Mark Karr. And Thai immigration police began searching for him.

Although Thai hotels report foreigners, the records are not automated, and the search took some time, the general said.

“And on the 11th of August, we found him.” That was a Friday, and the general’s office immediately informed ICE.

Not wanting to lose Karr, “we sent two or three officers to stay in that apartment building” to keep an eye on his whereabouts, Tumrongsiskul said. That was a major commitment of his officers‘ time, but “for the Americans, our good friends, we do it,” he said.

The officers watched the suspect leave in the morning on his bicycle, but did not follow to see where he went. “He came back in the evening. Most of the time, he stayed in his room.”

Thai officials do not believe he violated any local laws, the general said.

Within four days of the Thais’ finding Karr, the Boulder District Attorney’s office had a warrant for Karr’s arrest on murder charges signed by Judge Roxanne Bailin on Aug. 15. Prosecutors sent it off to Thailand. On Aug. 16, the general received it and immediately revoked Karr’s visa.”

If the US hadn’t asked Thailand to chase down Karr, he’d probably be teaching 2nd grade over there right now…

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