U.S. federal agents, George W. Bush's federal agents, struggling to keep control over their prisoner, led an unhandcuffed John Karr through a frenzied mob of paparazzi at Bangkok's airport:
Ten years after JonBenet Ramsey’s murder captured the attention of the world, the man suspected of killing the little girl returned to the United States — in style.
Even while en route, more unusual clues to John Mark Karr’s life emerged as he sipped champagne and munched prawns in the business-class seat of his Thai Airways flight from Bangkok. The three American officials who accompanied Karr took no extraordinary security measures and Karr was not handcuffed.
Karr, 41, whose life has shaped up to be as bizarre as the mysterious murder and subsequent investigation of the 6-year-old girl, arrived in Los Angeles late Sunday.
In Bangkok, a doctor at a clinic that specializes in sex-change surgery confirmed that Karr was a patient there.
Thep Vechavisit of the Pratunam Polyclinic refused to provide further details. But another employee at the clinic, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that Karr had talked to the doctor about a sex-change operation. The clinic also performs cosmetic surgery, however, which might have been Karr’s aim.
Law enforcement officials in Thailand handed Karr over to U.S. officials on Sunday for a trip expected to end in Boulder, Colo., where the 1996 killing occurred.
But Karr will be held for several days in Los Angeles while officials process paperwork related to his deportation from Thailand and his extradition to Colorado. After arriving in Los Angeles, Karr was to be arrested by local officials on the warrant from Colorado and he would then get an extradition hearing before being moved to Boulder.
That would give Boulder officials more time to complete their investigation, including the pending results of a DNA test, and prepare their case against him, some legal observers said.
Karr submitted to a DNA test after his arrest Wednesday in Bangkok. That sample will be matched with evidence found at the murder scene.
“It’s hard to imagine the pressure (on Colorado prosecutors) increasing, but it will from the moment he arrives in Boulder,” said Craig Silverman, a Denver attorney and former prosecutor. “Certain deadlines will start to kick in.”
Karr also has been wanted in California since December 2001, when he failed to show up for a court hearing in relation to child pornography charges and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
As of Sunday, Karr had not been formally charged in the Boulder murder, which could explain why he was not handcuffed if officials traveling with him felt he did not pose a threat.
Nobody, not in the U.S. government agencies transporting Karr to Colorado or prosecutors in Colorado, believes that John Karr killed JonBenet Ramsey.
Week two of Karl Rove's 2006 Election Circus is about to begin.