- The Washington Times - Friday, August 18, 2006

5:04 p.m.

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Authorities asked Patsy Ramsey in late May — a month before she died of cancer — whether she would be willing to meet with the man who claims he killed her 6-year-old daughter, the Ramsey family’s attorney said today.

Mrs. Ramsey said she would meet with John Mark Karr if it would advance the investigation into JonBenet Ramsey’s Christmastime 1996 slaying, but the meeting never took place because authorities did not get back to her before she died in June, attorney Lin Wood said.

The attorney also said the written correspondence Mr. Karr sent to Patsy Ramsey either in the form of e-mails or letters was never received by her because it was routed to someone else. He said police or someone else set up an address for the correspondence to be sent to make it look like he was writing to Mrs. Ramsey. It was turned over to the police instead.

A spokesman for the Roswell, Ga., Police Department, which helped to identify and locate Mr. Karr, declined to say today whether his agency conducted the correspondence ruse.

“We’re not commenting on any part of the investigation,” Sgt. James McGee said.

Mr. Karr, 41, was arrested in Bangkok, Thailand, this week in a surprise twist in one of the nation’s most lurid unsolved slayings. The former teacher told the AP he “was with JonBenet when she died. Her death was an accident.”

Legal sources had questioned some of Mr. Karr’s claims — including whether he sexually assaulted the girl or was even in Colorado at the time of the slaying.

“It’s clear to me that he’s somewhat interested or maybe even obsessed by the case and the real question is whether he’s inserting himself into it for some obscure psychological reason,” said author Carlton Smith, who wrote 1997’s “Death of a Little Princess: The Tragic Story of the Murder of JonBenet Ramsey.”

District Attorney Mary Lacy refused to say whether authorities have evidence linking Mr. Karr to JonBenet’s death at her Boulder home on Dec. 26, 1996.

Mr. Karr’s ex-wife, Lara Knutson, told reporters she cannot defend him, then insisted he was with her in Alabama that Christmas.

“She cannot think of a Christmas while they were together when he was away from the family on Christmas day or immediately thereafter,” said her attorney, Michael Rains, though he added she could not specifically recall Christmas 1996.

Authorities have not said whether Mr. Karr could have written the ransom note demanding $118,000 found in the Ramsey home. And the professor who swapped four years’ worth of e-mails with Karr and brought him to the attention of prosecutors in May refused to characterize the suspect either as killer or kook.

“I don’t know that he’s guilty,” said Michael Tracey, who teaches journalism at the University of Colorado. “Obviously, I went to the district attorney for a reason, but let him have his day in court and let JonBenet have her day in court and let’s see how it plays out.”

In another e-mail, the Rocky Mountain News reported, Mr. Karr said he sympathized with Michael Jackson, who has been accused of molesting young boys.

“I will tell you that I can understand people like Michael Jackson and feel sympathy when he suffers as he has,” Mr. Karr wrote.

Legal specialists said DNA evidence will likely be key to the case: DNA was found beneath JonBenet’s fingernails and inside her underwear, and authorities have never said whether it matches anyone in an FBI database.

Mr. Karr was given a mouth-swab DNA test in Bangkok, according to a law-enforcement official.

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