- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2006

BANGKOK — An unsmiling John Mark Karr, 41, appeared startled, pale and well-groomed in a blue polo shirt when Thai police brought him to face journalists at Bangkok’s Immigration Detention Center.

Lt. Gen. Suwat Tumrongsiskul, who heads Thailand’s immigration police, gave the only official account of Karr’s reaction upon his arrest in the 1996 killing of American child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.

“According to my colleagues, my officer in the detention center, he asked my officer, what [crime] he is charged with.

“My officer said that you are charged with first-degree murder. He said, ‘No. no. Not first degree. Second degree. … It was not supposed to be. … Not intentionally. ”

If she had survived the Dec. 26 assault in her Colorado home in 1996, JonBenet would be a 16-year-old high-school student.

Karr was not linked to any crime in Thailand, and officials appeared happy to send him to America. With his visa revoked, Karr lost legal protection in Thailand and authorities were free to hand him over to the United States.

A U.S. official said he would be extradited within a week.

Karr was living in a dormitory-style apartment on Si Bamphen Street, a popular location among budget travelers in a seedy area known for massage parlor bordellos and sex tourism.

Gen. Suwat said U.S. authorities informed Thai police on Aug. 11 that an arrest warrant had been issued for Karr on charges of premeditated murder. The warrant was sent to Thai police yesterday.

Gen. Suwat said Karr arrived in Bangkok on June 6 from Malaysia to look for a teaching job. Karr was arrested the day after he began working as a second-grade teacher at an international school in Bangkok.

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