By SUTIN WANNABOVORN, Associated Press Writer
23 minutes ago
BANGKOK, Thailand - The American suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case said publicly Thursday he was with the 6-year-old when she died and called her death "an accident," a stunning admission that will help answer 10 years of questions in the unsolved murder case.
"I was with JonBenet when she died," John Mark Karr told reporters in Bangkok, visibly nervous and stuttering as he spoke. "Her death was an accident."
Police said Karr, 41, admitted to the killing after he was arrested Wednesday at his downtown Bangkok apartment by Thai and American authorities.
Karr will be taken to Colorado within the next week where he will face charges of murder, kidnapping and child sexual assault, Ann Hurst, Department of Homeland Security attache at the American Embassy in Bangkok, said at a news conference in Bangkok.
Karr, speaking to reporters after the news conference, declined to say what his connection was to the Ramsey family or how long he had known JonBenet. Wearing a blue, short-sleeved shirt, he appeared ashen with an expressionless look on his face.
JonBenet was found beaten and strangled in the basement of the family's home in Boulder on Dec. 26, 1996.
The image of blonde-haired little JonBenet in a cowgirl costume and other beauty pageant outfits has haunted TV talk shows ever since, helping feed myriad theories about her killer, and the case became one of the most sensational unsolved murder cases in the nation.
Lt. Gen. Suwat Tumrongsiskul said U.S. authorities informed Thai police on Aug. 11 that an arrest warrant had been issued for Karr on charges of premeditated murder. The warrant was sent to Thai police on Wednesday.
At the press conference, Suwat said Karr insisted after his arrest that his crime was not first-degree murder. "He said it was second-degree murder. He said it was unintentional. He said he was in love with the child. She was a pageant queen," Suwat said.
The Thai officer quoted the suspect as saying he tried to kidnap JonBenet for a $118,000 ransom but that his plan went awry and he strangled her to death. Patsy Ramsey, JonBenet's mother, reported finding a ransom note in the house demanding $118,000 for her daughter.
Hurst said Karr has been "very cooperative" with authorities and that he's shown a "variety of emotions." She said he has been a suspect "for a while" but wouldn't specify how long.
Suwat said Karr arrived in Bangkok on June 6 from Malaysia to look for a teaching job. It was not clear whether he had gotten a job
, the police officer said.