Is John Mark Karr Really JonBenet Ramsey’s Killer?


John Mark Karr’s confessed killing of JonBenet Ramsey has made for sensational headlines and reopened a case long thought unsolvable, but the main question yet to be fully explored is whether the JonBenet obsessed Karr actually had the means, motive, and opportunity to commit the crime. The evidence – as is stands now – is decidedly less definitive than Karr’s Thai jailhouse confession.

First, some of Karr’s claims (as reported) about the murder do not match even the most rudimentary facts known about the case. Karr claims that JonBenet was drugged, but no drugs were noted in any of the autopsy reports. Karr claims to have picked up (or kidnapped) JonBenet from school and taken her to the basement, but it’s inconceivable that JonBenet was in school on Christmas day – the day of the murder.

The most vexing question is whether Karr was in Boulder in 1996. John Mark Karr’s ex-wife says he was home in Alabama on December 25, 1996. Karr’s brother has said that Karr spent Christmas with the Ramsey’s in 1996, though none of the hundreds of sites dedicated to the case have any record of Karr’s presence. According to

9News legal analyst Scott Robinson sums it up nicely…

This is either the break that we have all been waiting for, or the biggest hoax that’s ever been perpetrated in the JonBenet Ramsey case, a case that has had its share of wacky people involved in it.”

Given the recent history of bungled investigations in high profile cases, and the legacy of ineptitude on the Ramsey case in particular, Karr’s confession should be viewed with heavy dose of skepticism until such time as he can actually be linked to the crime by something besides his own words.

Update: For background read Gaby Wood’s June 2006 look at the investigators on the JonBenet Ramsey case in The Observer; most of whom are directly tied to the sudden arrest of Karr, and pay close attention to CU Journalism professor Michael Tracey, whose e-mail exchanges with Karr lead to the arrest. Tracey has produced three documentaries on JonBenet’s murder and was scheduled to have finished a manuscript for a book entitled, “Shoes: The Killing of JonBenet Ramsey,” in early August 2006. That puts Tracey on course to be the first to market with the story of how the investigation turned toward Karr.


Getting away with murder – [Observer] (June 25, 2006)
Horrid Details Emerge In JonBenet Case – [CBS/AP]
Lacy: ‘Much more work to be done.’ – [Boulder DailyCamera]
Tracey to pen new JonBenet book – [The Campus Press]
JonBenet book says parents are innocent – [UPI] (May 15, 2006)
A Ramsey Case Primer – [Redd Herring]
JonBenet Ramsey Case Encyclopedia – [pbWiki]
The Daily Camera Ramsey Archive – [Boulder Daily Camera]

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