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Defense says Karr won't be charged in Ramsey case

By Jon Sarche
The Associated Press

BOULDER - Prosecutors have decided not to charge John Mark Karr in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, his lawyers said Monday after reports that the schoolteacher's DNA failed to match genetic material on the 6-year-old girl's body.

"The warrant on Mr. Karr has been dropped by the district attorney," public defender Seth Temin said outside the jail. "They are not proceeding with the case."

Boulder County District Attorney Mary Lacy's office did not return repeated calls from The Associated Press.

"We're deeply distressed by the fact that they took this man and dragged him here from Bangkok, Thailand, with no forensic evidence confirming the allegations against him and no independent factors leading to a presumption he did anything wrong," Temin said.

A few hours earlier, Denver's KUSA-TV, citing two sources close to the investigation, said hair and saliva taken from Karr in Boulder after his arrival last week were tested over the weekend at the Denver police crime lab and that he was ruled out as the source of the DNA taken from the crime scene.

Denver police declined comment. Ramsey family attorney Lin Wood had no immediate comment.

The schoolteacher's arrest in Thailand a week and a half ago was seen a surprise break in the decade-old murder mystery that had cast suspicion over JonBenet's parents and led to myriad theories about the killer. But inconsistencies in Karr's account immediately raised suspicions that he might be an obsessed follower of the case who confessed to a crime he didn't commit.

Among other things, Karr's relatives insisted that he was with them, celebrating Christmas in Georgia and Alabama, around the time the child beauty queen was found strangled and beaten at her Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996. They said that if Karr had not been with his family at Christmas, they would have certainly remembered it.

In an interview with the media in Thailand, Karr said that he was with JonBenet when she died and that her death was an accident. Asked if he was innocent, he said no.

In an interview Monday with MSNBC, Gary Harris, who had been spokesman for the Karr family, did not directly confirm the KUSA report. But he said: "I knew it wouldn't match."

Karr has been "obsessed with this case for a long time. He may have some personality problems, but he's not a killer," Harris said. "He obsesses. He wanted to be a rock star one time. ... He's a dreamer. He's the kind of guy who wants to be famous.