Judge to consider dropping child pornography case against former suspect in JonBenet case

Wednesday, September 27th 2006, 6:11 am
By: News On 6

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) A lawyer for John Mark Karr, one-time suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case, is seeking the dismissal of child pornography charges against him after authorities admitted that they lost key evidence in the case.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Cerena Wong agreed earlier this week to consider tossing out the five misdemeanor charges Karr faces. She also criticized prosecutors for not telling her that the computer that allegedly held the pornographic images was lost even though they had known about it since August 30th.

Karr has rejected a plea deal in the case, and remains in Sonoma County jail on $200,000 bail.

The judge must rule on the request for dismissal and whether to unseal evidence in the case. She previously had issued the sealing orders based on statements Chief Deputy District Attorney Joann Risse made about continuing efforts to obtain more information from the computer.

The computer was seized from Karr's home when he was arrested in 2001, but he fled before his trial.

The sheriff's department said it copied the contents of the hard drive and printed out the five illicit photographs. The computer likely was lost when the department moved to a new building in 2002, officials said.

The 41 year old former schoolteacher was arrested in Thailand last month after suggesting he killed JonBenet, a 6 year old beauty queen, in her Boulder, Colorado, home in 1996. He was returned to the U.S., but the Ramsey case quickly collapsed after DNA failed to connect him to the crime.