JonBenet Suspect Back in U.S.

John Mark Karr
American John Mark Karr is led by Thai police to his plane for his departure to the United States. (Paula Bronstein - Getty Images)
By Jocelyn Gecker
Associated Press
Monday, August 21, 2006

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 20 -- John Mark Karr, the suspect in the killing of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, arrived late Sunday after a 15-hour flight from Thailand on which he sipped champagne, dined on fried king prawns and roast duck, and exchanged what he described as "small talk" with law enforcement escorts.

Agents wearing U.S. Customs shirts met him as he left the jet before other passengers. They then disappeared from the view of reporters on the flight.

As Karr's day of wining and dining in the sky ended, he was expected to spend the night in a single cell in Los Angeles County's high-security Twin Towers jail.

Karr, 41, voluntarily returned to the United States and was not handcuffed in his business class seat.

Authorities in Boulder said Karr would first have an extradition hearing in Los Angeles before being taken to Colorado. There he is expected to face charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault in connection with JonBenet's December 1996 killing.

A hearing is expected to take place in Los Angeles within a few days, said Carolyn French, spokeswoman for the Boulder County district attorney's office. If Karr agrees to waive extradition, he will be taken to Boulder County, she said.

"If he fights extradition, that is a much more lengthy process," French said.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office had not received word of an imminent hearing, spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.

"If that is going to happen, no one has notified our office," she said.

Just before Karr boarded the flight, another bombshell emerged: reports that he sought treatment at a Thai sex-change clinic.

Karr, dressed neatly in a red, short-sleeve, button-down shirt and black tie, was not handcuffed while being whisked through Don Muang International Airport in Bangkok. At a Thai Airways International departure gate, he talked amiably with fellow passengers.

Karr sat in a window seat next to Mark Spray, an investigator with the Boulder County district attorney's office. A U.S. Embassy official and an agent with "Homeland Security" on his T-shirt were also part of the escort party.

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