The case against John M. Karr in the 1996 killing of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in Colorado collapsed Monday when DNA tests refuted Mr. Karr’s claims that he had committed the crime.
The announcement by the Boulder County district attorney, Mary T. Lacy, incited a storm of questions about why Mr. Karr, 41, had been believed in his admissions and how he could have led prosecutors into what became an elaborate global farce. Hordes of reporters had tracked Mr. Karr’s journey, from his apprehension in Thailand nearly two weeks ago to his return to the United States.
“No evidence has developed, other than his own repeated admissions, to place Mr. Karr at the scene of the crime,” she wrote. “Mr. Karr was not the source of the DNA found in the underwear of JonBenet Ramsey.”
The resulting anger, in a case that has produced numerous investigative blunders over the years, was immediate.
“They took this man and dragged him here from Bangkok, Thailand, with no forensic evidence confirming the allegations against him and no independent factors leading to a presumption that he did anything wrong,” Mr. Karr’s lawyer, Seth Temin, said outside the Boulder County Jail, where Mr. Karr was still being held Monday afternoon. “We’re deeply distressed.”
Gov. Bill Owens of Colorado also criticized the district attorney’s handling of the case.