Thursday, August 17, 2006

JonBenet's killer? Maybe

The startling news that a former second-grade teacher/pedophile has confessed to the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey feels like a relief, but in these first 24 hours there are troublingly few details that convince me this fellow was actually inside the Ramseys' Boulder, Colo., home on the night after Christmas 10 years ago.

John Mark Karr, 41, has made several chilling statements about being with her when she died, but has deflected questions about details. Authorities say he gave certain details that only JonBenet's killer would know, but we must wait until Karr returns to American soil and begins his long journey through the justice system to find out more. A DNA match between the scrapings under JonBenet's fingernails and Karr hasn't been established. Despite Karr's "confession," I need just a little more proof that he's an insane, child-raping killer, and not just an insane, child-raping sicko with delusions of criminal grandeur.

Nobody has showed so far that Karr was even in Colorado, much less the Ramsey home that night. His ex-wife says she was with him in Alabama at the time of the murder, and his father -- who doesn't seem like the protective type -- says he didn't think his son was ever in Colorado. If John Mark Karr killed JonBenet, the twisted story of the crime promises to be sickening.

Karr is also reportedly unusually fascinated with both the JonBenet and Polly Klaas killings. He clearly didn't commit the Klaas murder, but is he seeking the notoriety that has obviously come with claiming to be JonBenet's killer? Could he be an extraordinarily well-versed but insane person who is guilty of many things but not JonBenet's killing?

In my heart, I hope he's JonBenet's killer and the whole sordid tale can be laid to rest. I hope the facts-to-come prove Karr is the monster he claims to be, for the sake of the family, the cops, Boulder and parents everywhere. I hope that the case ultimately proves that justice delayed is not always justice denied. And I hope if he did it, his journey to the death chamber is swift.

But more of this story remains to be told.


Democracy Lover said...

What disturbs me about this story is that the American public is going to be inundated non-stop with every detail, including hours of speculation and pontification on the cable news stations, while much more important stories will be relegated to the back pages, the news crawl, or simply ignored.

Certainly this is an interesting story and should get some attention, but not nearly as much as it will receive. I really don't care whether this guy is guilty or not. I assume the Colorado authorities and possibly a jury will determine guilt in time and their judgment is of no importance to me as a parent. If he is guilty of murder, killing him will not bring Jon Benet back, nor will it ease the pain her family feels, nor will it serve to prevent the next sick wacko from murdering a child.

This is one 10-year old murder. We have brave young American men and women and innocent men, women and children dying every day in Iraq - where are their stories? When will those who put them in harm's way illegally and without cause be brought to justice for their actions? These stories are buried. Jon Benet will dominate the front page for weeks.

Ron Franscell said...

Oh man, you ain't kidding. How long do you think Nancy Grace will milk this one?

jason said...

Democracy Lover said: "If he is guilty of murder, killing him will not bring Jon Benet back, nor will it ease the pain her family feels, nor will it serve to prevent the next sick wacko from murdering a child."

All true ... but putting him in jail will do none of those things either. In fact, charging him with a misdemeanor will do none of those things.

So are you arguing that society should not punish a killer (if convicted) simply because it won't bring back his victim, ease the family's pain or prevent further crimes?

We promised the death penalty to certain killers. There's something to be said for keeping promises as a society.

(But I agree with you, Ron, about this guy. Something just doesn't add up and I'll eagerly await more facts to emerge.)

Democracy Lover said...


The purpose of the criminal justice system is not to punish people or exact revenge for criminal acts, the purpose is to protect society. If Karr is a pathological child molester and killer and/or is responsible for Jon Benet's death, we should protect other children by locking him up for the rest of his natural life. Society's need for protection is no better served by capital punishment than by incarceration.

As for our "promise", we never issued a promise to use the death penalty, some states have issued a threat to use it in certain cases. As is rather evident, that threat has not done anything to deter crime and in fact has probably resulted in the murder of innocent people wrongly accused.

jason said...

I disagree, Democracy Lover. The criminal justice system was CERTAINLY intended to punish transgressors and exact a measure of revenge, as well as protect society. Our court system is given the task to administer the laws that reflect the will of the people. Americans expect the criminal justice system to punish the guilty, to right wrongs, to avenge transgressions and protect the innocent. If the courts/cops weren't supposed to punish but only served to protect society, why do we levy fines for jay-walking or double-parking? Is that not "punishment" for trangsressions that really aren't threatening society?

Thirty-seven states have death penalties, i.e. they promise that under certain heinous circumstances a killer will be executed. The difference between my "promise" and your "threat" is purely personal semantics. In any case, a killer knows in 37 of 50 US states that he could be executed for his act.

We obviously disagree about the death penalty, and we risk making this discussion about an argument neither of us will win, like abortion or the existence of God.

Jill said...

I saw this "killer" and something just doesnt seem right. For the family's sake I hope the crime is solved, but I feel a little unsure.

Chancelucky said...

What disturbs me is that people worry about calling Karr the murderer being "premature", yet if he was, what do you call what happened in the media to the Ramseys?

Maybe the guy had nothing to do with it, but what the heck did we put the Ramseys through and if there can be premature tabloid stories about the family, I'd love to see a premature apology somewhere.

sanders said...

The Ramseys went through hell, and that's a stain on our society. But it's helpful to look at that moment in our culture to get some idea of what was influencing the group-think. OJ Simpson and Susan Smith emerged unexpectedly as the killers of their own loved ones after being publicly appalled that they would ever be suspected; less than 4 years later, Andrea Yates drowned her own babies in a bathtub. The Boulder police suspected the Ramseys for a variety of reasons and rabid shock-jock talk-radio in the mid-1990s launched the craziness into the stratosphere ... everybody was an armchair detective. It's ironic that today we have a man who "confesses" but we don't beleive it; back then we had people denying it vigorously but we didn't believe them either.

I think Karr could be the killer, but the proof remains elusive publicly right now. Interesting that if he proves to be just looking for the spotlight, then the real killer remains out there.

Anonymous said...

whether he killed that girl or not, he needs to be taken out of society in prison, asylum or death row. I don't care. He's a freak.

Mary said...

People like the last "anonymous" comment on 8/20 are why we need a justice system. Thank goodness that all people who are judged "freaks" aren't in prison -- we'd be missing a lot of Van Goghs, Bill Gates, and others who perhaps didn't initially fall into the category of "normal" that Anonymous has created. I agree that John Karr seems a bit strange, but that doesn't mean he belongs in prison. Judge not, lest ye be judged!