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8/17/2006

Prosecutor says ‘much more work’ to be done in JonBenet Ramsey case

By Catherine Tsai
The Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — The district attorney in the JonBenet Ramsey slaying said Thursday there is “much more work” to be done in the case against the suspect, and she warned the public not to “jump to conclusions.”

Mary Lacy, who has spearheaded the investigation for Boulder County, did not immediately disclose any details about evidence against John Mark Karr, 41, who was arrested on Wednesday, a day after he began teaching second grade in Bangkok, Thailand. In an interview with the Associated Press, Karr said he killed the girl by accident.

Lacy suggested that the arrest may have been forced by other circumstances, including the need for public safety and fear the suspect might flee.

“There are circumstances that exist in any case that mandate an arrest before an investigation is complete,” Lacy said.

She refused to say whether authorities were worried Karr was lying about killing the little girl. Lacy said Karr has not been formally charged, and declined to speculate what counts he might face.

“I’m asking you this morning, let us do our job thoroughly and carefully. The analysis of the evidence in this case continues on a day-by-day, on an hour-by-hour basis as we speak,” she said, adding that “there is much more work to be done now that the suspect is in custody.”

“We should all heed the poignant advice of John Ramsey yesterday,” she said, referring to JonBenet’s father. “He said do not jump to conclusions, do not rush to judgment, do not speculate, let the justice system take its course.”

Lacy said Colorado investigators were in Thailand, but refused to provide a timeline of when Karr might be returned to the United States. She said he just started work as a second-grade teacher in a Bangkok international school on Tuesday and had traveled extensively since leaving the U.S. several years ago.

Karr told The Associated Press he was with JonBenet when she died.

“I am so very sorry for what happened to JonBenet,” he told the AP in Bangkok. “Her death was an accident.” Asked if he was innocent, Karr said: “No.”

A senior Thai police officer said Karr also told investigators he drugged and had sex with the 6-year-old beauty queen before accidentally killing her.

JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her family’s home in Boulder, Colo., on Dec. 26, 1996.

An autopsy done a day after her body was found showed no drugs or alcohol in her system but said she had vaginal abrasions.

Karr was given a mouth-swab DNA test in Bangkok, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. The results of that test were not immediately known.

Karr will be given another DNA test when he returns to the United States, the official said.

A California woman who said she was Karr’s ex-wife told San Francisco television station KGO that she was with him in Alabama at the time of the homicide. She said she does not believe her former husband was involved in JonBenet’s killing.