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Colorado is next stop for JonBenet suspect

Karr blurts out details of events before girl's death, source says

From Drew Griffin and Dan Simon
CNN

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John Mark Karr agreed to waive extraditon during a hearing Tuesday in Los Angeles.

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LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Schoolteacher John Mark Karr waived extradition Tuesday, speeding his journey to Colorado to face charges in the 1996 slaying of child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.

Karr, 41, waived his right to contest extradition during a brief hearing in Los Angeles.

His only words during the hearing were "Yes, your honor," when the judge asked him procedural questions.

A warrant issued by authorities in Boulder, Colorado, called for Karr's arrest on suspicion of first-degree murder, kidnapping and sexual assault on a child. The warrant alleged a total of five counts. (Watch Karr in court-- 2:22)

Karr was taken into custody last week in Bangkok, Thailand, but has not been formally charged with a crime. He was flown over the weekend from Bangkok to Los Angeles.

While being transported to the Los Angeles County Jail, Karr made additional statements about JonBenet's death in the presence of officers, according to a source involved with Karr's transfer.

Karr began talking calmly to himself while looking out the window, the source said.

"Everybody says I couldn't know my way around the house, but I got in the house around 5 o'clock ... and I stayed there all night," Karr said, according to the source.

Karr also said "they," meaning the Ramseys, did not come back until about 10 p.m. He also repeated what he earlier told reporters: that JonBenet's death was an accident and that he was with her when she died.

Attorney Patience van Zandt, who met with Karr on Monday, said incriminating statements he made to reporters and Thai authorities last week don't amount to a confession.

"No. Absolutely not," said van Zandt, who represented Karr as a public defender in a 2001 child pornography case in Sonoma County, California.

Ribs bruised

"I think that the man that we just heard was an exhausted, overwhelmed person who was under an extraordinary amount of pressure," van Zandt told CNN. "I do not think that amounts to a confession."

Karr was briefly placed under a suicide watch at the Los Angeles jail, van Zandt said, because he was "terrified, exhausted and confused."

Van Zandt's law partner, Jamie Harmon, told reporters after the hearing that the media has portrayed Karr as someone who is "mentally unstable, attention-seeking, unwell, mentally unwell, and he is none of those things.

Last week's media crush in Thailand left Karr bruised ribs and other visible bruises on his body, Harmon said.

'I loved JonBenet'

Commenting to reporters in Bangkok, Karr admitted being involved in the 6-year-old pageant competitor's death. "I loved JonBenet, and she died accidentally," he said. Asked if he was an innocent man, Karr replied, "No."

The child's body was found in the basement of her family's Colorado home the day after Christmas in 1996.

Questions continue about whether Karr might be a compulsive confessor, or simply a crackpot.

Authorities in Boulder are not commenting on details of their investigation and have urged the public not to rush to judgment.

It is not known how Karr might have gotten into the Ramsey house, and if he did, how he might have been able to lure the child to the basement without awakening other family members.

Still, a U.S. law enforcement source told CNN that Karr provided investigators with gruesome details about the condition of the girl's body -- details that had not been publicly disclosed.

Ex-wife's alibi

Karr's ex-wife, Lara Knutson, has cast doubt on his admission, saying he was with her and their children in Alabama that entire Christmas season.

She filed for a protective order in October 2001 to keep Karr away from her and their three sons, citing his child pornography arrest that April.

Karr was fascinated by Ramsey case and the 1993 slaying of 12-year-old Polly Klaas in Petaluma, California. He and his family lived in Petaluma in 2000, Knutson said.

"Lara has not located a photograph which places Mr. Karr either at their home in Hamilton, Alabama, or in any other location on or about Christmas Day 1996," said her attorney, Michael Rains.

"Despite this, Lara continues to believe that during the course of her marriage to Mr. Karr he never absented himself from her or their three children for a period of time long enough to travel to Colorado on or around any Christmas."

Knutson has turned over documents to Boulder County prosecutors, Rains said Tuesday, and continues to search for other materials that may be relevant.

Karr's family doubts story

Karr's immediate family strongly believes he had no involvement in the young girl's murder, family spokesman and attorney Gary Harris said in Clayton, Georgia.

Harris told CNN the family has no recollection of Karr not being present at any Christmas gathering prior to his 2001 estrangement from them.

Family members said they would have remembered if Karr was not with them or his wife and children at Christmas, Harris said. Karr was not well-off financially, the family would have remembered if he had taken a plane trip somewhere.

Harris said he will give Boulder investigators a photograph taken at Christmas of 1996, showing Karr's three sons and another child. Karr is not seen in the photograph. The attorney said family members asserted that if Karr's three children were there, then Karr was as well.

Lara Karr, the suspect's second former wife, told a San Francisco television station last week that he was with her and the children in Alabama during the entire 1996 Christmas season.

When asked why Karr would make up a story about being involved in the Ramsey murder if he was actually in Alabama at the time, Harris said there may be a "problem with his emotional condition."

Wanted sex change?

New details emerged Monday about the enigmatic Karr.

He was undergoing treatment at a clinic in Thailand for removal of facial hair. Dr. Setthakarn Attakonpan of the Siam Swan Cosmetic Clinic in Thailand told CNN Karr was undergoing hair removal because he wanted a sex-change operation.

Just two days before his arrest, Karr had taken a job as a teacher in an international school in Thailand. CNN has learned that in 2004, a school in Honduras took him on as a volunteer teacher, but he lasted only three weeks.

"He was very difficult," said Caridad Pineda, the school's director. "He didn't like the school rules. He was a problem, and that's why we decided to fire him."

Karr then went on to work teaching second-grade at another school but left after eight months. It was unclear why he left Honduras.

CNN's Susan Candiotti and Stan Wilson and Deanna Proeller contributed to this report.

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