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JonBenet Suspect Behind Bars In L.A.

This photo provided by the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department shows murder suspect John Mark Karr Sunday, Aug. 20, 2006, in Los Angeles. Karr faces charges in JonBenet Ramsey's murder. (AP Photo/Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department)
AP Photo/L.A. County Sheriffs Dept.
John Mark Karr, the man who claims he was with JonBenet Ramsey when the 6-year-old was murdered, is in solitary in a high-security Los Angeles jail tonight as he awaits an extradition hearing tomorrow.

Karr's return to the U.S. took him from clinking his champagne glass during a 15-hour flight over the Pacific to a high-security jail where he was awaiting a transfer to face charges in JonBenet Ramsey's murder. Once Karr arrives in Boulder, the district attorney has 72 hours to file charges, CBS News correspondent Kelly Cobiella reports.

Los Angeles police detained Karr on a warrant from Boulder County, Colorado, after he arrived in California from Bangkok, Thailand, and turned him over to the county Sheriff's Department late Sunday, said sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore.

A helicopter brought him from the airport to the sheriff's Twin Towers jail shortly before midnight in a sobering end to a day that began in Bangkok and included champagne and fine dining aboard a Thai Airways flight.

"He is going to be housed here in the men's jail, kept in isolation in a 6-by-9-foot room with a bed, a toilet no windows and no phones," Whitmore said. "He'll get regular food. He'll get jail chow, he won't get king crab, I'll tell you that."

Karr was to be held in a "high power" cell for noteworthy inmates, checked by guards every 15 minutes, and separated from other inmates who often target suspected child molesters, sheriff's officials said.

Even before the trip began, another strange detail emerged of Karr's life in Bangkok. According to published reports, the schoolteacher visited a clinic that specialized in sex change operations.

His sexuality was the subject of a testy exchange with journalism professor Michael Tracey, reports Cobiella. In an e-mail, Tracey writes, "You told me once your mother tended to raise you as a girl." Karr writes back, "Michael, I will not discuss my sexuality as if it is a psychological disorder."

Boulder County authorities said Karr was expected to have an extradition hearing in Los Angeles within days, and would be taken to Colorado if he waived extradition. No hearing date was immediately set.

Karr, who last week suddenly emerged as a suspect in a case long believed to have gone cold, told reporters in Thailand that he was with 6-year-old JonBenet when she died in the basement of her home on Dec. 26, 1996, but that her death was an accident.

Cobiella reports that sources said Karr knows too much about the Ramsey house to be lying, details the public couldn't know.

Freelance journalist Mike Sandrock met him, by chance, in Paris four years ago, told Cobiella that Karr knew more about the case than reporters at the hometown paper in Boulder.

"I had an inkling that somehow he was involved in the case and it was just too much. And, like I said, i don't know if he did it, but there's definitely some kind of connection there."

U.S. officials have been silent about what Karr told them during interrogations.

The 41-year-old school teacher's return to the United States was voluntary, and he was not handcuffed before or during the 15-hour flight.

"He wasn't extradited, he was deported and they escorted him to the plane and he's not under arrest," former Boulder district attorney Trip Demuth said on CBS News' The Early Show. "That's why he doesn't have cuffs on. He's free to drink alcohol until he gets to the United States."

Some legal observers say his royal treatment on the plane may be part of a strategy to get him to open up more to investigators.

"It is speculation but it has happened before," Demuth said, "and useful information has come out and it could have occurred."