Karr Faces Calif. Child Porn Charges

Booking photo John Karr
LA County Jail/CBS
John Mark Karr returned to California with considerably less fanfare than when he last arrived in the state as a one-time suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey slaying.

Karr, 41, who faces child pornography charges here, spent the night in a Santa Rosa jail after landing at Oakland International Airport late Tuesday.

Karr, who had been held in Colorado for several weeks, was released by Boulder County authorities earlier Tuesday. Despite his confessions, authorities found no connection to the JonBenet slaying.

Karr, a schoolteacher, was arrested in Thailand on Aug. 16 after he made phone calls and wrote e-mails in which he claimed to have killed the 6-year-old beauty queen in her Boulder home in December 1996.

But DNA tests failed to connect Karr to the crime, and investigators had no evidence he was even in Boulder at the time of the slaying.

L. Lin Wood, the attorney who has represented JonBenet's family for seven years, told CBS News' The Early Show Wednesday that, if any good came out of the Karr fiasco, it was to reinforce DNA as the key to eventually solving the case.

"I think the public was finally informed that this is a case that will be, in all probability, solved by DNA. There were a lot of misconceptions early in the Ramsey case that the DNA was not quality or somehow degraded or contaminated," Wood said.

Wood said he was confident JonBenet true killer would be brought to justice, eventually.

"The truth of the matter is quality DNA evidence was found on the child's body. In all probability it's the DNA of the killer, and I believe one day, maybe a year, maybe ten years, one day, DNA will solve the murder."

As far as Karr's unusual confession from Thailand is concerned, Wood told Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm that JonBenet's father was "cautiously optimistic" at first, but never got carried away with the "media frenzy" surrounding the story.

Wood said John Ramsey, "waited for the DNA results. So he was not surprised when Mr. Karr was not charged because the DNA did not match."

Five misdemeanor counts of child pornography possession have been pending against Karr in Sonoma County since April 2001, when authorities arrested him and seized his computer, alleging that the hard drive contained five sexually oriented images of children.

Karr pleaded not guilty to all counts and was jailed for six months, but he left the country before he could be tried. Prosecutors decided to pursue the charges after Karr surfaced last month as a suspect in the JonBenet killing.

During preliminary hearings in 2001, Karr's public defenders waived his right to a speedy trial as they tried to get a judge to invalidate the search warrant that allowed Sonoma sheriff's deputies to enter Karr's home and seize his computer.

If convicted of the Sonoma child pornography charges, Karr could get a year in prison on each count. Authorities have also said they want to re-examine Karr's computer for more illicit images.