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Ramsey Murder Suspect Reaches U.S.

Aired August 21, 2006 - 00:22   ET


MAX FOSTER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: We welcome our viewers in the United States. We're going to take you to the airport in Los Angeles where, as we understand it, the arrival of the U.S. murder suspect, John Mark Karr is under way. He is, of course, suspected in the death of JonBenet Ramsey, a beauty queen death, a very high- profile death in the United States, a killing some 10 years ago.

We're not quite clear exactly on the process of events from here. But we can speak to Dan Simon who is at the airport in L.A. What do you expect to happen from here, Dan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Max, what's going to happen is as soon as this plane actually gets to the gate, all the passengers are going to get off, excuse me, just like any other flight, then customs is going to actually come on board the plane and process John Karr on the airplane itself. From there, the L.A. County sheriff's department is going to take Mr. Karr into custody and he is going to overnight at a jail in downtown Los Angeles. That's known as the Twin Towers. That's an infamous facility here in Southern California. It's where the actors Robert Blake and Robert Downey Jr. actually spent some time. The question is, what's going to happen tomorrow?

We've been told by the authorities in Boulder, Colorado there needs to be an extradition hearing for Mr. Karr to get from California to Colorado. But we are hearing from authorities in California that no such hearing has been scheduled, so it is a bit unclear what exactly is going to happen tomorrow and when Mr. Karr will, in fact, be transported to Colorado.

Again, this plane just arriving. CNN's Drew Griffin has actually been on this plane. He's been sitting in business class with Mr. Karr. He has phoned in some reports and told us that it's basically been a routine flight. He has told us that Mr. Karr has slept along the way, has done some reading and has made it clear to the officials sitting next to him that he does not want to talk about this case at all.

As the plane continues to make its way here into Los Angeles International Airport, the passengers are, once again, all of them, except Mr. Karr, will de-board the plane and then customs in a very unusual move are going to process him on board, Max?

FOSTER: A Thai airways flight that took off at 1300 GMT from Bangkok, as we understand. John Mark Karr on suspicion of first degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault. Those charges actually emanate from Boulder, Colorado. Obviously, the authorities there very, very keen to get him back. But, as of yet, we're not very clear on when he will be back if the process is quick, Dan, as you were saying, he could end up there this evening but he may, in theory, end up in L.A. for several weeks while the paperwork is done.

SIMON: That is a question and there's also been a lot of questions in terms of whether Mr. Karr in fact, committed this crime. Of course, he has confessed to it, but there have been a lot of suspicions raised in terms to whether or not he is credible.

One thing that is particularly interesting with this case is his ex-wife has told us through her attorney that they were not in Colorado when this crime occurred back in December of 1996. She says they lived in Alabama at the time and were actually celebrating the holidays in Alabama.

Her attorney has told her to basically go through the photo albums during that time and see if there might be some corroborated evidence like a photograph, for example, that might show that Mr. Karr wasn't involved. Some have speculated that Mr. Karr has made this confession to gain publicity and that he, in fact, was not involved in this murder. We're just going to have to wait and see. The Boulder detectives, obviously, are playing their cards very carefully here. They have not revealed to us in terms of what evidence they have implicating John Karr in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey, Max.

FOSTER: And Dan, as we see the plane coming down in the United States, just describe the sense of feeling in the United States because this has been a really high-profile case. Really struck a nerve with the American public. So to see the suspect coming to land in the United States is quite a moment.

SIMON: It is quite a moment and, you know, seldom do you see this many crews at an airport for an arrival. I looked around just a moment ago and I saw no less than 10 camera crews set up documenting this live arrival of John Karr.

Certainly a lot of security here at the airport. We have been told that security has been beefed up. We saw some police cars just a moment ago come up and, you know, the guarding, the media area, just to make sure nothing out of the ordinary occurs. But, certainly, nothing is ordinary here tonight at LAX as this plane makes its way to the gate. Max?

FOSTER: While he's been in the air, all sorts of speculation in the united states about whether or not he actually did carry out this crime. There's lots of doubts about his confession, isn't there?.

SIMON: There have been so many questions raised about his credibility. There have been so many conflicting things to come out of Thailand. One thing that was particularly interesting today is there was a report that Mr. Karr was actually in the process or had consulted a doctor about getting a sex change operation.

CNN has not been able to confirm that, but that is one of the more bizarre things we've seen associated with this case and associated with Mr. John Karr.

CNN's Drew Griffin, as we mentioned, has been on board this plane and it is going to be really interesting to talk to Drew in terms of what actually occurred on that flight. There were some reports that Mr. Karr had sort of, you know, spent his time sipping champagne and drinking wine.

But, you know, when you talk to Drew, when you talk to Drew, he says that it was a pretty ordinary flight. It was not sort of a lavish transcontinental flight to the United States. So, we're hoping to hear from Drew as soon as he clears customs, he will, basically, take the microphone where I am, Max, and we'll be able to hear from him directly.

FOSTER: Have you heard from Drew at all about the security measures in place? Are there any particular security measures in place for this prime suspect?

SIMON: Well, as I told you, security is beefed up here at the airport. We've seen a number of officers kind of walking around and then, as I mentioned earlier, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will actually take custody of Mr. Karr, they will transport him to a jail in downtown Los Angeles and then the question becomes, what happens tomorrow? Will there, in fact, be this extradition hearing in which Boulder detectives are insistent it will occur or will it be waived and Mr. Karr somehow make his way to Colorado with the various authorities and sort of a routine flight to Colorado.

We're not quite sure what is going to happen. There have been sort of some conflicting reports with respect to that process, Max.

FOSTER: OK, Dan, I'm just going -- if you can just stand by for a moment and I'm just going to describe the scene as we see it at the moment. This is a Thai Airways flight that is carrying John Mark Karr who was arrested in Bangkok on Wednesday and being brought back to the United States because he has in the United States been charged on suspicion of first degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault.

He is due to be processed by the authorities in Los Angeles, but the theory is that he will be passed on to the authorities in Boulder, Colorado, where this crime actually took place. The six-year-old when she died Christmas a decade ago it was in Colorado where this happened.

We're going to cross over to Drew Griffin who is actually on the flight as it taxies into the airport in L.A. Just describe the flight for us, Drew.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was a very smooth, but very long flight. No activities along the way. The center of attention was the man sitting in the last row of business, who every time got up to go to the washroom two officers got up with him and had to escort him to the bathroom. He was a bit of a celebrity onboard this flight, but he said nothing along the way. Just a little bit of chitchat with the officers next to him. But some people had been talking on this flight that they felt uncomfortable with him being here. They didn't expect any trouble given the size of the entourage taking him. But they just felt a little uncomfortable knowing this accused murderer was sharing the cabin with them.

But otherwise a smooth flight, we're now taxiing towards the terminal where Mr. Karr will be taken off, I believe, it will be first and placed into the custody of the Sheriff's Department here locally in Los Angeles.

FOSTER: Drew, any idea from the people that you're speaking to on the plane about what will happen in terms of transferring him to the authorities in Boulder, Colorado?

GRIFFIN: No, our information is coming from outside of this plane. The three people onboard this plane, two immigration agents, federal immigration agents and one investigator from the Boulder district attorney's office will not comment on any of their actions or what they're going to do with Mr. Karr once they get off this plane. But from our understanding, he will spend one night with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in a lockup.

FOSTER: And we can only -- we can't begin to imagine what is going through the mind of John Mark Karr at this time, but give us an impression about how he is at the moment, how he appears to be at least?

GRIFFIN: If you've been watching any coverage of this, you will see a man who seems to be a little bit dazed but also well composed and that is the same person we saw here. He insisted on changing his shirt before we landing, brushing his teeth and putting a tie on. He is very well composed. He spent a little bit of time brushing his hair and he wants to, apparently, make sure his appearances are up to snuff when he gets off this plane.

Nothing other than that. He's really a rather unimposing figure, as you've seen. Just has been sitting in his seat pressed against the window, reading a book, watching a movie. No actions that would cause any alarm other than when he does have to go to the washroom. The guards, as it were, have to escort him there, door open as they allowed him to use the washroom and then take him back to his seat.

FOSTER: But not handcuffed, I father. Seems quite low security levels for a prime suspect in a murder case.

GRIFFIN: Well, the guards are very large, he is very small and Thai Airways, apparently, has a policy that they will not allow him to wear handcuffs. That was Thai Airways call that no handcuffs on this flight, but again, he does not impose any kind of risk that I could see and I talked to the officers who were escorting him and they said they didn't anticipate any trouble and if there was trouble, they assured me they could handle that.

FOSTER: A huge amount of interest in the United States, of course, in this case. Any sense that he will be paraded in front of the cameras at any point when he does arrive at the airport terminal?

GRIFFIN: I'm just trying to check the gate right now and see where he will go, I doubt he will be paraded and I'm just taking a look right now to see if I see any officers who will whisk him away. But I don't see that right now. We'll know very shortly. We're waiting right now for the tow to pull us into the gate.

FOSTER: Just reminding viewers as we tune to Drew Griffin, he is onboard the flight. You can see here at the moment, these are live pictures of the airport in Los Angeles. John Mark Karr, the suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder trial of course. He's arriving in the United States. He was arrested in Thailand and he's wanted in the United States on suspicion of first good degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault.

Accused in the high profile case in the United States. People in the United States, of course, Drew, are very keen to hear his story because this has been going on for 10 years for them now.

GRIFFIN: It would be a tremendous break if this was the person. It was an investigation early on that was fraught with investigative difficulties. The mother of the child stood accused in public opinion for right up until the time of her death, really, just a couple of months ago.

So, this has been a tremendously watched case and here's a person from literally out of the blue and out of no where in Thailand, all but confessing to the crime after 10 years. It's just a stunning admission and a stunning breakthrough. If, indeed, John Mark Karr is the person who committed this murder.

FOSTER: Just take us through about exactly what he said to the Thai authorities and to the press, I gather, as well, in Thailand about what many people are seeing as an admission of guilt.

GRIFFIN: Really, the only thing we can say certainty is what he said in a bizarre news conference in Thailand where he was paraded out in front. He began to answer questions and he said things like, I was with JonBenet when she died. It was an accident. It wasn't supposed to happen. I love JonBenet.

He didn't necessarily describe how he killed her, if he did that. And he did say it was an accident, but he certainly involved himself in the crime enough to the point where the authorities in Boulder, Colorado sought to go there and pick him up and arrest him and bring him back on this plane.

FOSTER: Just to remind viewers, JonBenet was found on December 26, 1996, in the basement of her home in Boulder in Colorado. She had been strangled and her skull had been fractured. Drew, a lot of suspicion around the parents because there weren't any other suspects. This is the first break in this trial in many years.

GRIFFIN: The crime was Christmas night. The girl, I believe, was on the third floor, the family was home, nobody heard anything when it happened. There was this odd ransom note and all this traipsing around the house. And people refused to believe that this could have been kind of a stranger crime or somebody from outside who didn't know anything.

So, I think that is why the suspicion went almost immediately to it being an inside job. But if this is the case and we still don't know the relationship, although Mr. Ramsey has said he doesn't know Mr. Karr, we don't know if there has been a relationship between Mr. Karr or the Ramseys or that house or somebody who knew them. All these details yet to be ironed out and made public by a district attorney's office in Boulder, Colorado, that right now is saying very, very little.

FOSTER: And, as far as we know so far he hasn't appointed a lawyer, has he? Does that happen when he arrives in the United States?

GRIFFIN: I imagine he will get one almost immediately. And as we are pulling in I need to get off the line because they're going to whisk us off the plane almost immediately so we can get pictures of him arriving and setting foot in the United States. So I will call back as soon a I can.

FOSTER: Good stuff. Drew Griffin on that flight. He is on the flight with John Mark Karr, he's 41, it's a Thai Airways flight. It is just arriving at Los Angeles Airport, as you can see.

Drew Griffin on the flight with all sorts of other people. John Mark Karr apparently attended by two immigration officials. He is going to be taken through the processes there at Los Angeles Airport and Dan Simon, what do we know about those processes?

Dan Simon standing by at the airport there. He is outside the airplane, of course, while Drew is on the airplane. Dan, what can you tell us about what will happen when he actually gets into the terminal?

SIMON: Well, they're actually going to process him on the airplane. Customs is going to board the airplane, which I have never really quite heard that happening before. All the other passengers, I believe, are going to get off and customs will come on.

After that, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is expected to take him into custody. Presumably, they will slap the handcuffs on him and then drive him about 20 minutes away to what's called the Twin Towers Jail, which is in downtown Los Angeles. He will then spend at least one night there and then tomorrow, it is really up in the air in terms of what is going to happen in order for him to get to Boulder, Colorado, and possibly face these charges. Max?

FOSTER: Some suggestion of an extradition hearing. What's that about?

SIMON: An extradition hearing is the process from which someone goes from one state to another. Someone who is facing criminal charges. You're arrested in one particular state and you're facing charges in another, they have what's called these extradition hearings in the United States. It's a very common procedure, sometimes, however, they don't have to occur.

Different states have different policies and it just kind of depends on the particular case and the rules, if you will, for a particular state. We're not quite sure yet of what's going to happen here. Boulder detectives have told us that they expect some sort of extradition hearing, but when you talk to various officials here in Los Angeles, they have told us that they are unaware of any such plan. Max?

FOSTER: And, Dan, I suspect you're not the only journalist waiting at the airport there. How many people, how many members of the media are represented there, do you think?

SIMON: Well, it's quite astounding. I have counted at least 10 crews, 10 satellite and live trucks broadcasting these images live. There is a heavy, heavy police presence here. They're here with the media just to make sure that nobody kind of hassles us and nobody -- things don't get out of control inside of the terminal. As Drew Griffin noted, this is a case here in the United States that has generated so much media interest over the last 10 years. There hadn't been much coverage until very recently when John Karr made this confession to the Thai authorities.

FOSTER: And, Dan, why do you think this really hit a nerve with the American public, this particular murder case?

SIMON: It just has a lot of intrigue. Here you have a six-year- old girl who participated in these beauty pageants. Some people thought, some people think it's inappropriate for a young child to be subjected to those kinds of competitions.

And the fact that you had an unsolved murder. It just generated quite a bit of interest here in the United States. We live in a culture now with the Internet and, of course, 24-hour news channels where people follow these developments very closely and, once again, this case is back in the spotlight, Max.

FOSTER: And why have there been doubts cast over John Karr's confession?

SIMON: I didn't quite hear that, Max, one more time, please.

FOSTER: Well a doubt has been cast, hasn't it, on John Karr's confession. Why is that?

SIMON: In terms of the confession, first of all, there is his ex-wife. And I was actually in Northern California last week and pulled some court documents that involved John Karr's divorce from his wife, Lara Karr and they had a very messy divorce. And there's certainly no love lost there. We are told that she no longer cares for this man, however, she has said that they were together on the night in question, Christmas, December 1996.

She says there's no way that John Karr could have committed this murder because they were in Alabama celebrating the holidays. So, that was one reason why people really didn't give much merit to this confession.

However, we're still waiting to see what the Boulder detectives will come up with. Will they give us some sense in terms of what the evidence is implicating John Karr? The Boulder County district attorney held that news conference last week where she said that, look, we're not going to try this case in the media. We're not going to reveal the details. Let's let this case play out. In my view, John Ramsey, himself has essentially said the same thing.

FOSTER: Just to remind viewers, the airplane at the Los Angeles Airport. Onboard is John Mark Karr. He is accused of the murder of a young beauty queen in the United States. It happened 10 years ago and it was -- received huge amounts of media coverage in the United States and many Americans very keen to see him face the charges.

He's charged on suspicion of first degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual abuse. He returned voluntarily to the United States. He wasn't handcuffed in his business class seat on the plane. Apparently Thai authorities don't allow that to happen.

He's expected to be detained by Los Angeles authorities pending a hearing on extradition to Boulder, Colorado.

As Dan was saying, authorities have issued an arrest warrant for him in Colorado on those suspicions that we were talking about earlier.

And Drew Griffin was on the plane with him and, as we understand it, he's entering the terminal now. Drew, talk us through what you're seeing.

GRIFFIN: We pulled up to the gate and the door opened up and custom agents were there, several of them ready to greet Mr. Karr. So -- talking to us right now. I'm going to hang up right now because this guy is apparently miffed. I'll be right back.

FOSTER: OK, Drew, thanks very much. Dan Simon standing by the airport. Dan, you were saying that much of the processing of this case will take place on the plane, unusually, because it's a very unusual case.

SIMON: Right. Normally everybody, you know, de-boards the plane and you go into the custom's area and you're processed, but, in this particular case, given the high-profile nature of this case and John Karr, customs officials decided to take the unusual step of actually boarding this plane and processing him away from the other passengers.

And I think that served a couple of purposes. The main purpose, obviously, not to create a bit of a hubbub, if you will, in the customs area. They could do that privately and then whisk him away, put him, take him into custody and then haul him off to jail, which I said, is in downtown Los Angeles not too far away here from Los Angeles International Airport. Max?

FOSTER: Okay, Dan.

Just to remind the viewers, John Mark Karr is on this airplane that we're seeing here. These are live shots from the airport in Los Angeles. We're looking that steps there where he's due to walk out of the plane. He's being processed by the authorities in Los Angeles at the moment. He needs to go through that process.

He then needs to be taken to the authorities in Los Angeles who will process him further. The authorities in Boulder, Colorado, are the ones that ultimately want to speak to him on suspicion of first degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault.

Dan, do we know at all on how long -- we were talking about how he may have it go through an extradition process. If he does need to go through that, how long will that take?

SIMON: Usually extradition hearings take only a few minutes. They're not long procedures. The question is, will there, in fact, be an extradition hearing? We're not quite sure about that. Hopefully we'll get some clarity on that in the morning, Max.

FOSTER: Yes, going to be an interesting process, isn't it? I gather the authorities aren't clear on it themselves, really. They have to go through all the books and see all the details, the details, the laws between these two states.

We're going to take a break at this point but we have this airplane on live footage, as you can see and as soon as John Mark Karr leaves the airplane, down those steps, as we understand it, we'll be back with you.

You're watching CNN.


FOSTER: The America schoolteacher suspected of murder child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey has arrived. It's Sunday night in the United States. He is going to be facing questioning about the 1996 killing of JonBenet Ramsey. He arrived at the airport. These are live pictures. He's being processed on the airplane by the authorities in Los Angeles who will process his case before passing it on to the authorities in Boulder in Colorado.

The issue that is outstanding at the moment, we're not clear on, whether or not he will face an extradition hearing. That may have to be the case if he is going to be taken over to Colorado. But we're not clear on whether or not that process needs to take place, so, in theory, it could be quite quick. He could be in Colorado in the next few hours, but some speculation that if this process isn't as clear cut as that, it may take a days if, not weeks.

Those are the steps we're expecting him to walk down as he lands on American soil. Many Americans very keen to hear his story because this is a case which has really gripped the nation. There are, of course, many murder cases in the United States, but this is the one that really grabbed, grabbed the attention of the American people partly because it highlighted many kind of facets of American society. And those are the live pictures there in the United States.

We're going to come back to this story and, as soon as we see John Mark Karr travel down steps, we will be bringing you that story. We have correspondents both on the airplane and on the floor at the airport.

Other headlines, though, the second trial for Iraq's deposed leader, Saddam Hussein co-defendant Ali-Hassan al Majid are being accused of genocide against Kurds in 1998 in the so-called Operation Anfal campaign. Additionally all seven defendants face charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila will face former rebel leader Jean-Pierre Bemba in a runoff election. As the results became public on Sunday, security forces loyal to Kabila and Bemba fought gun battles that left one soldier down. International observers say Kabila took 44.8 percent of the vote in last month's election while Bemba trailed at 20 percen.

UN and Israeli officials meet today amid fears the Israeli Hezbollah ceasefire could unravel. Israel is rejecting the presence of peacekeepers from countries that don't recognize it. Meanwhile, Lebanon is expressing confidence Hezbollah will abide by the truce but warns of a harsh response to any group that breaks it.

Let's get more now on the arrival in the U.S. of murder suspect John Mark Karr. CNN's Dan Simon is among those at Los Angeles Airport awaiting the arrival of Karr's flight from Thailand. Dan, what can you tell us about what is happening there at the moment?

SIMON: Well, just to set the scene for you, within the past few minutes this Thai Airways flight has come to the gate. There is a jet way there and there are also some steps.

Typically, in high profile cases when you have a fugitive, they will go down the step rather than the jet way. That gives the authorities the ability to arrest these suspects and take them into custody right away and we are expecting John Karr to come down those steps in the next couple of minutes, Max.

FOSTER: And, remind us again about this confusion of the extradition hearing. Will he or will he not have to go through that process?

SIMON: We're not quite sure if there will be an extradition hearing. We're expected to hear that some time in the morning. What we do know is that John Karr will spend at least one night in the Los Angeles County Jail, which is located downtown. It's called the Twin Towers.

As I said earlier, that's a pretty famous place, if you will. Robert Blake and Robert Downey Jr., two famous American actors, spent some time there in the Twin towers. Now, in terms of what's going to make or break this case, as we've heard so much about over the last couple days, two things really. DNA. We understand the authorities in Thailand took a swab, took a cheek swab from John Karr in Thailand. In theory, that DNA will then be compared to the DNA taken from the crime scene. If, in fact, that DNA matches, you could certainly make an argument that John Karr was involved in that murder.

However, if the DNA doesn't match, you're kind of back to square one. You'll have to sort of go back to where you were over the last 10 years. That is, this crime will be unsolved and we don't know, we won't know who, in fact, committed -- John Karr. Of course, he is presumed innocent and detectives are going to be looking at all kind of evidence, including DNA and including handwriting samples.

The killer in this case left a ransom note and the detectives will be analyzing John Karr's handwriting to see if there's any kind of match there, Max.

FOSTER: Yes, a case which has gripped the nation, as I was saying earlier, take us through why that is.

SIMON: It's a little bit loud here, Max, as you can imagine, there are lots of helicopters. So, having a bit of a difficult time hearing you. If you wouldn't mind repeating that question, I would appreciate it.

FOSTER: Just looking at pictures of JonBenet Ramsey and these are pictures so familiar to the American public. Why did this case grab the nation's interest so much?

SIMON: You know, it's not a really easy question to answer. There are certain cases that capture the public's attention in this country. That was one of them back in December of 1996.

Some of it probably has to do with the fact that we had a little girl who was participating in beauty pageants, a very cute little girl and you had this very grisly murder in a small town, not accustomed to a lot of crime. And you had the parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, who, for a long time, were suspects in this case.

It just created a lot of intrigue and the American public was fascinated and of course they're paying close attention, once again.

FOSTER: Dan Simon is down there on the -- right by the airport and we also have got our correspondent Drew Griffin on the line and he was actually on the airplane and he is coming off the airplane with John Mark Karr. Where are you now, Drew? Drew Griffin, can you hear me okay?

GRIFFIN: This is Drew Griffin. Can you hear, this is Drew? I'll try to reach back and get a better call. Can you hear? Oh, you can hear, OK.

We were pulling up to the gate and when the door opened up there were about a half a dozen, I didn't get a quick count. But half a dozen customs agents there ready to greet the plane. They wanted to take John Karr off immediately. There was some attempt by the staff of the plane, the crew of the plane to have the media come out first, but that was changed immediately upon the door opening up and John Mark Karr was just whisked by us and taken into custody by custom enforcement and taken into the terminal and we have not seen him since.

We are now at the baggage area and we are told we shouldn't expect to see him any more. Wherever he may be.

FOSTER: Did immigration officials come on to the plane and deal with him to some extent there, as well?

GRIFFIN: Yes. Well, I assume that he is still in the custody of the immigration officers who transported him here from Bangkok, as well as the investigator from the district attorney's office from Boulder, Colorado.

But wherever they are, they're processing him in a private area. It's a big sea change from the handling in Thailand and at the Bangkok Airplane and Mr. Karr was basically just paraded right through the terminal to the gate and on to the plane. So things have changed upon entering the United States. A lot more secure and there's going it be plenty of distance, apparently, between the suspect and the public.

FOSTER: Huge amount of media attention in this, of course. When will you get access to the authorities to question them about what the process will be from here?

GRIFFIN: I really don't know at this time. We're being herded like a small group of cattle and we were told to get our bags and they want to basically and politely say they want to kick us out of this airport as soon as possible so we get out of hair. I'm not sure we will get a chance to interview anybody on the process from here on out.

FOSTER: OK. Drew Griffin, thank you very much for joining us from Los Angeles Airport where John Mark Karr has arrived, having been brought over from Bangkok. He is, of course, accused in the killing of the young beauty queen. A high-profile murder in the United States some ten years ago now. Huge amount of media interest in this story.

As we understand it, John Mark Karr will be processed by the Los Angeles authorities before being passed to the authorities in Boulder, Colorado where this horrific crime occurred some 10 years ago.

You're watching CNN, we'll be back in a moment with much more.


FOSTER: Back in America, the man accused of killing JonBenet Ramsey gets ready to face U.S. justice.

ISHA SESAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And passenger panic, two Asians are thrown off a flight to Manchester, though they didn't do anything wrong. Are terror fears out of control? These are our top stories. You're watching CNN TODAY.

FOSTER: It is Monday the 21st of August, I'm Max Foster.

SESAY: Also today it's got tongues wagging from London to Lahore, cricket chaos. Two words you don't often hear together. How allegations of cheating cause Pakistan to forfeit the four tests against England.

FOSTER: Kevin Kohl (ph), though, has the weather.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sweltering temperatures across southeastern Europe. How hot will it get and how long will it last? Those and other stories in just a few moments.

FOSTER: Thank you very much, Kevin. Now, we're going to go to the LAX Airport in Los Angeles in the United States, of course, where John Mark Karr has just landed. Drew Griffin was aboard the flight with this man who is suspected of first degree murder in the United States. Drew, talk us through the flight.

GRIFFIN: The flight was fairly uneventful. Mr. Karr just stayed in the corner of the business section surrounded by his two Immigration Custom Enforcement agents from the United States, along with one investigator from the district attorney's office of Boulder, Colorado. The only security you did notice on this flight is when Mr. Karr needed to use the restroom. He could not close the door. Two male agents stood on each side of the door and waited for him to be finish would his business.

Other than that, the only events took place when the plane landed and we pulled up to the gate and I was there when the door of the plane opened and Mr. Karr was met by about a half a dozen federal agents who immediately took him and whisked him down the jet way.

He was first off the plane, along with his escorts. We understand now he will be taken to the Los Angeles County Jail, where he will face an extradition hearing to Colorado and to face, eventually, the charges of murder in the case of JonBenet Ramsey.

FOSTER: And relatively low levels of security on the flight. How did he appear when he came over to L.A.?

GRIFFIN: He still had that same kind of blank look on his face. He would not answer any questions. And just walked out with a kind of a blank stare. He had on a tie and insisted on wearing a tie and he changed his shirt during the flight, but that was it. And now he seems to be facing the most serious charge of his life, that's for sure. But he showed no signs of that either during the flight or on the departing flight.

FOSTER: And any indication from you about what will now happen now that he's landed in L.A. Where will he go and what will be the process?

GRIFFIN: Producer Stan Wilson has been digging into this and he sent a note to me saying while he is in this enforcement area, of course, he will be in federal custody, but according to the producer, Stan Wilson, he will be sent to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, who will take charge place him in a jail in downtown Los Angeles until authorities in Boulder, Colorado, can go through the extradition procedure. That could take as little as a day or two. Or (inaudible)

SESAY: Okay, Drew ...

GRIFFIN: Mr. Karr would have to challenge that.

SESAY: OK, Drew Griffin, stand by there at the airport in Los Angeles. Let's bring in Dan Simon who is also there at the scene.

Dan, just give us a sense, if you would, of what it was that led authorities to go after John Mark Karr at this point in time because there was a press conference last week in which the U.S. district attorney, Mary Lacy, spoke. What did she say?

SIMON: You know, it is a bit hard for me to hear you -- but what I think you're asking me ...

SESAY: Why did they move John Mark Karr now?

SIMON: I'm sorry, Isha, I just can't hear you. We have several news helicopters hovering above, a lot of media vehicles generating a lot of noise. So it's difficult for me to hear you. But just to reiterate what Drew had to say. Mr. Karr is going to be taken into custody by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, not too far away from here is the downtown jail well Mr. Karr will spend at least one night there. The question drew talked about the extradition process.

We are told at least by the Boulder authorities, that there needs to be an extradition hearing to get him to Colorado. You know, we talked to a spokesperson for the L.A. County district attorney's office and they have told us they are unaware of any such hearing being scheduled.

And we also got the same thing from the U.S. attorney's office here in Los Angeles. So, we're a bit unclear in terms of how that process is going to work and how John Karr is going to ultimately go from California to Colorado.

SESAY: Okay, Dan Simon, continue to monitor events on the ground there at Los Angeles Airport. We will, of course, be checking in with you a little bit later.

Let's just remind our viewers who are also joining us from the united states of the scene. You're looking at live pictures from LAX airport in Los Angeles. That is the plane on the ground that brought the suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case, John Mark Karr, back to the United States. He is now on U.S. soil being processed by American immigration officials.

The process from this point on will remain somewhat unclear as to whether he will be immediately transferred to Boulder, Colorado, where the crime itself occurred.

Let's remind you of what we're talking about. We're talking about a 10-year-old murder case regarding JonBenet Ramsey, a six-year- old beauty queen that was killed the day after Christmas in 1996. A murder that has remained unsolved. A murder that has raised so many questions and in the aftermath of her death when she was discovered in the basement of her parent' home, many questions, many fingers pointing at her own parents, John and Pat Ramsey.

People suggesting that it was difficult to believe that their child could have been murdered in their own home without them knowing. However, they were never charged, a grand jury actually cleared them of any involvement in that case. So the questions lingered on and that case was never solved until John Mark Karr, the man who now arrived on U.S. soil in the last 40 minutes, I should say, confessed sensationally to Thai officials. Last week Thursday when he was taken into custody of murdering the six-year-old beauty queen.

That confession, as it were in itself, still has many questions being asked of it. What we can tell you for sure is John Mark Karr, the suspect in the murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey back in December 1996, is now on U.S. soil. He is being processed by U.S. officials. We await to see when he'll be taken to Boulder, Colorado, where he will, of course, be questioned by those officials there.

We will, of course, continue to monitor the situation on the ground. If we get any pictures of john Mark Karr actually coming off that plane, we will, of course, bring them to you, but for now we'll leave you the story and bring you other headlines making the news today.



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