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Police in California eyed Karr in 2001

Sheriff: Suspect had 'fascination' with JonBenet, Polly Klaas



Los Angeles (California)
JonBenet Ramsey

(CNN) -- John Mark Karr came to the attention of investigators in California in 2001, when they found he had a "fascination" with the murders of JonBenet and Polly Klaas, the Sonoma County sheriff said.

Lt. Dave Edmonds, a spokesman, said the department launched an investigation that ultimately resulted in child pornography charges.

But, he added, there was no indication that Karr knew details about JonBenet's death that had not been publicly released.

"In a few instances, while he (Karr) seemed to be wondering about the JonBenet Ramsey murder, he made uncertain allusions to placing himself in the killer's role," Edmonds said.

"However, we never uncovered any confession statements, overt murder evidence or other indications that John Karr possessed secret knowledge that only the murderer of JonBenet Ramsey would know."

Polly Klaas, 12, was kidnapped from a slumber party at her home in Petaluma, California, and killed in 1993. Richard Allen Davis confessed to her murder and is on California's death row.

Karr, now a suspect in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, should be in Colorado by "early next week," his lawyers said.

Still in L.A.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which has Karr in custody, has "refused" to provide any information on Karr's transfer, and "quite frankly, I think the reason for that is they don't know," said attorney Jamie Harmon.

"His greatest wish is to get there as quickly as possible, and we want to expedite his agenda," she said. Karr has waived extradition to Colorado.( Full story )

The judge at his extradition hearing allowed 10 days for the transfer to take place.(Watch Karr in court -- 2:22)

Karr, 41, has retained as his attorneys Harmon and Patience Van Zandt, who represented him in the Sonoma County child pornography case. It was Van Zandt's relationship with Karr that led the two attorneys to approach him, Harmon said.

"We were concerned about how he was being portrayed in the media, and we wanted to encourage him to stop talking," she said, referring to numerous statements he has made to reporters about his alleged involvement in JonBenet's death.

Karr never stood trial on the five Sonoma County child pornography counts because he skipped bail. The arrest warrant for those charges will be served "after Karr's matters in Colorado are resolved," said sheriff's spokesman Edmonds.

Chatty suspect

Karr has made numerous statements to reporters -- and allegedly to authorities -- about JonBenet's death. He continued that pattern once he reached the United States from Thailand where he was detained, a source involved in his transfer said.

As he was being driven to the Los Angeles County jail, Karr began talking calmly to himself while looking out the window, the source said.

"Everybody says I couldn't know my way around the house, but I got in the house around 5 o'clock ... and I stayed there all night," the source quoted Karr as saying. (Watch how Karr keeps on talking -- 2:23)

Karr also said that "they" -- meaning the Ramseys -- did not come home until about 10 p.m. He also repeated what he earlier told reporters -- that JonBenet's death was an accident, and that he was with her when she died.

Karr also told a Thai officer that he had "sex" with JonBenet, who was 6, before her December 26, 1996, death but "there was no penetration," a Thai official said Wednesday.

"Karr then said, 'There are so many ways to have sex,' then he went quiet," Thai Immigration chief Gen. Suwat Tumrongsiskul said.

Karr's disclosure to the officer on duty was the only time the suspect mentioned sex involving the child beauty pageant contestant during the four days he was in Thai custody, Suwat said.

JonBenet's beaten and strangled body was found in the basement of the family home in Boulder, Colorado, the day after Christmas.

Karr's troubles began at an early age, according to longtime family friend George McCrary. Karr's mother was an evangelist and became delusional, believing demons were in her children -- especially John, he said.

The woman needed psychiatric treatment after she attempted to kill Karr, not yet 2, with fire, McCrary said. Neither Karr's family nor their attorney has been available to verify his account, however.

Family's story on the block?

Karr's immediate family strongly believes he had no involvement in the young girl's murder, according to family spokesman and attorney Gary Harris in Clayton, Georgia.

Harris said family members do not remember Karr missing any Christmas gathering prior to his 2001 estrangement from them.

The family members Harris is representing said they would have remembered if Karr was not with his family because Karr was not well-off, Harris said. The family would have remembered if he had taken a plane trip somewhere.

Harris said he would turn over to Boulder police a photograph taken at Christmas 1996, showing Karr's three sons and another child. Karr is not seen in the photograph. The attorney said family members asserted that if Karr's three children were there, then Karr was as well.

Meanwhile, producer Larry Garrison said he has obtained the film and television rights to the family's story. No money has changed hands, Garrison said, but if money is made by the Karr family, it will be used for Karr's legal fees and for his children's college education.

"This is a family that loves their brother," Garrison said. "They love him in spite of everything in the news. They believe in his innocence and that he may have some psychological problems. It's a family that loves John and it's sad for them right now. The truth always comes out in the end."

CNN's Dan Simon and Narunart Prapanya contributed to this report.

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