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Karr Back in California to Face Child Porn Charges

September 13, 2006|From the Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — John Mark Karr, the fugitive teacher arrested and later cleared in the death of JonBenet Ramsey, arrived in California late Tuesday to face child pornography charges, weeks after DNA testing proved that he could not have killed the young beauty queen.

Karr, 41, arrived at Oakland International Airport with considerably less fanfare than when he wined and dined on a flight from Thailand and was greeted by a crowd of reporters in Los Angeles.

Witnesses said Karr quickly exited a commercial flight, walked down the tarmac and left the airport in a vehicle with tinted windows.

Karr is being held at Sonoma County Jail in Santa Rosa and is scheduled for arraignment at 8:30 a.m. today, jail officials said.

Karr, who was fascinated with 6-year-old JonBenet and 12-year-old Petaluma murder victim Polly Klaas, said after his arrest last month that he was with JonBenet at the time of her slaying, which he called an accident.

The admission sparked a media frenzy.

But DNA tests on blood in JonBenet's underwear failed to connect Karr to the crime, and investigators had no evidence that he was in Boulder at the time of the slaying.

Colorado prosecutors later said it was difficult to separate fact from fantasy in Karr's confessions.

Five misdemeanor counts of child pornography possession have been pending against Karr in Sonoma County since April 2001.

Authorities arrested him then and seized his computer, alleging that the hard drive contained five sexually oriented images of children.

Karr pleaded not guilty to all counts and was jailed for six months, but he left the country before he could be tried.

Prosecutors decided to pursue the charges after Karr surfaced last month as a suspect in the JonBenet killing.

During preliminary hearings in 2001, Karr's public defenders waived his right to a speedy trial as they tried to get a judge to invalidate the search warrant that allowed Sonoma County sheriff's deputies to enter Karr's home and seize his computer.

If convicted of the Sonoma County child pornography charges, Karr could get a year in prison on each count.

Authorities also have said that they want to reexamine Karr's computer for more illicit images.

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