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John Mark Karr: Obsession of a Murder Suspect; Is Karr Really JonBenet's Murderer?; Hezbollah Paying Families With Bombed Homes

Aired August 18, 2006 - 22:00   ET


RICK SANCHEZ, "ANDERSON COOPER 360" HOST: And here we go. Tonight investigators are digging for clues to confirm or refute what John Karr says about his role in the murder of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey. It's what my colleague, Tom Foreman, has spent much of the day looking into.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Rick. And here in Boulder, at the justice center behind me, they're focusing on this bizarre string of e-mails from John Karr in which he talks about JonBenet, his sexuality and so very much more. We'll be talking about that ourselves tonight.

SANCHEZ: Tom, as you know, it's part of a mountain of really new information that authorities are trying to make sense out of. The evidence leading in all sorts of directions, including down some very dark alleys. But we start off with the big picture and CNN's David Mattingly.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mild manner and polite tone of a restrained John Mark Karr could be a deceptive cover. A U.S. law enforcement official tells CNN that Karr provided in graphic detail gruesome physical facts about the condition of JonBenet's body that only the coroner, the investigators, and the killer could have known. Details so closely guarded they have been a virtual secret for 10 years.

During his exchange with reporters in Bangkok, we can hear in this audio how Karr seemed frustrated he could not say what he knew in short sound bites.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What happened in the basement?

JOHN MARK KARR, SUSPECTED MURDERER: It would take several hours to describe that, to describe that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you could be brief.

KARR: There's no way I could be brief about -- there's no way I could be brief about it.

MATTINGLY: Since the murder of JonBenet, authorities have long been puzzled by the cryptic letters "SBTC," the signature at the end of a long ransom note found in the Ramsey home. Now the inscription from a high school yearbook written by Karr in 1982 and obtained by CNN shows in capital block letters the words "I shall be the conqueror, SBTC."

The owner turned the yearbook over to authorities, curious to know if the phrase could be linked to the ransom note. Leaving old classmates in Karr's former hometown of Hamilton, Alabama to wonder what happened to the bright, talkative, skinny teenager they used to know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The way he talks and the way he acts on TV is nothing like what he was in high school, nothing.

MATTINGLY: The "Associated Press" reports anonymous sources say Thai authorities swabbed Karr's mouth retrieve cell samples for DNA testing and that more tests will be done when he returns to the U.S.

In California, prison officials search the cell of Richard Alan Davis, the killer of 12-year-old Polly Klaas. Karr was reportedly obsessed with the child's murder and might have exchanged e-mails with her killer. But no evidence of any contact was found.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Investigators did, in fact, speak with Richard Alan Davis and it was shared with me that they concluded from that discussion that there was no direct contact with John Karr and Richard Alan Davis.


MATTINGLY (on-camera): Karr, however, was sending e-mail messages to Patsy Ramsey shortly before she died this year or so he thought. A family attorney for the Ramseys says that authorities were taking those e-mails and rerouting them. They with were not going directly to Patsy Ramsey.


SANCHEZ: I'm wondering, Dave, what happens in a place like Hamilton, Alabama, when they suddenly find themselves living there and suddenly in the middle of this huge case.

MATTINGLY: They're on an emotional pendulum right now. They knew this boy pretty well when he was a teenager, but they're looking at that man that they see in Thailand and they don't see someone they recognize any longer.

So as this case goes along, they try to think that he didn't do it. Then they see reason to think, well, maybe he did and it's just going back and forth and it's something that they're going to have to live with for quite some time.

SANCHEZ: David Mattingly bringing us that story from Hamilton, Alabama. We thank you, David.

Now, more messages, other messages. Tonight we reveal the e- mails that John Karr apparently wrote to professor Michael Tracey at the University of Colorado. To a psychiatrist, they are the mother lode. So what about a criminologist or a police detective?

For more on these remarkably creepy messages, we head back to Boulder, Colorado, and my colleague, Tom Foreman. Tom?

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rick, for those of us who have been covering this case since day one, for 10 years now, it is an extraordinary experience to read all of these notes. The detail in them, the thought in them, it is fascinating to think that these are the thoughts of the man who killed JonBenet. Just as fascinating to think that these might be the thoughts of a man who had nothing to do with her murder.


FOREMAN: The e-mails paint a disturbing picture of John Karr after California police charged him with possessing child pornography. The "Rocky Mountain News" obtained the notes. One apparently written by Karr says, "Some of my closest little girls were questioned by authorities, which broke my heart into pieces."

In another e-mail, "Sometimes little girls are closer to me than with their parents or any other person in their lives. When I refer to myself as JonBenet's closest, maybe now you understand."

MICHAEL TRACEY, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO: There are issues raised by this case which go way beyond the terrible fact of JonBenet's death.

FOREMAN: Michael Tracey, a University of Colorado professor, says he maintained a long correspondence with Karr. Yet, at one point in the notes published by the paper, Karr gets angry when Tracey asks about his sexual preferences. "On the other hand, if you with like to learn something about my sexuality on an intellectual, nonjudgmental, nontraditional and nonpsychological way, I would love to share. It would help you understand a lot about my connection with JonBenet and possibly about the case."

It is not clear yet if the notes can truly connect John Karr to JonBenet. But they suggest he believed he had a relationship with her, at least a spiritual one. Jack Levin is a professor at Criminology at Northeastern University.

JACK LEVIN, NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY: The first thing you see is a rich fantasy life on the part of this suspect. He was intensely involved with JonBenet over a long period of time.

FOREMAN: The e-mails sympathize with pop star Michael Jackson, who was also accused of improper relations with children. And he cast himself as a protector of little girls. "I will tell you that I can understand people like Michael Jackson and feel sympathy when he suffers as he has. I do think he is sexually attracted to certain children, but could never divulge this. His comments might have had nothing to do with having the type of sex one might equate with the sense of the term, sex."

LEVIN: There are pedophiles who believe sincerely that their relationship with children is extremely healthy, not only for them, but for the children. They almost feel as though they're doing a favor to children by having a sexual relationship. FOREMAN: There is no doubt the notes express intense feelings, whether they were borne of fact or fiction. "JonBenet, my love, my life," written apparently by Karr in a sort of poem, "I love you and shall forever love you. I pray that you can hear my voice calling out to you from my darkness -- this darkness that now separates us."


FOREMAN (on-camera): All day long people here have been debating what this means, whether it is real. They've been arguing about it. They've been discussing it. That's what we get to do, just kick it around.

The people behind me in this building have to do much more. If they want to charge John Karr with this, they have to find out if these words really mean something and will stand up in court.


SANCHEZ: Hey, Tom, what do you make of Professor Tracey? And why he is holding everything so close to the vest? After all, most of the information is already out there, isn't it?

FOREMAN: Well, I think Professor Tracey has access to one thing that none of us have, which is the great vast bulk of these e-mails, apparently hundreds of them over several years. He has been playing it very cagey around here, saying that he doesn't want to impugn Mr. Karr's credentials here, make him look bad, make him look like he's guilty, saying he doesn't want to pass judgment.

On the other hand, you need to bear this in mind about this professor. He has said publicly many times he believes the Ramseys are innocent and some folks here have already raised to him the notion of saying, "Look if you think they're innocent, then might you not be trying to point the direction -- point the finger of accusation somewhere else?" He says he's not, but we'll have to see, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Good question. Tom, thank you. Fair to say people have been electrified by this story. Also fair to say it is turning us into a nation of armchair detectives and amateur profilers.

There is talk about what John Karr said in the e-mails to the professor that Tom and I were just talking about and especially those cryptic letters, "SBTC," that you heard in David Mattingly's report.

One man who knows the case from the inside out is Dr. Steven Pitt. Why? Well, he's a forensic psychiatrist who worked with authorities on this case for nearly five years. I talked to him earlier about today's developments.


SANCHEZ: People have wanted to know what it is that he meant when he signed his ransom note, whoever the person was who wrote this ransom note, or female it could be, "SBTC." We're putting it up right now so our viewers can see it, as well. In 1982, John Karr wrote on the back of a yearbook, to a friend in school, the following words, "shall be the conqueror." The entire line is, "Though deep in the future, maybe I shall be the conqueror and live in multiple peace."

Is that a coincidence or is that something that would make police officers and people like yourself raise an eyebrow or two?

DR. STEVEN PITT, FORENSIC PSYCHIATRIST: Well, it's a piece of data., that's all it is. This person is not going to be convicted on the basis of something he wrote some 14 years prior to the commission of the offense. It's a piece of information. It's interesting data.

But, again, physical evidence is what is going rule the day. Physical evidence is what's going to close this case. And absent any physical evidence tying this man to this scene and to this offense, the case remains wide open.

SANCHEZ: Take a look at this e-mail that he wrote. He's had these series of e-mail conversations with his professor at the University of Colorado. He writes in one, "Sometimes little girls are closer to me than with their parents or any other person in their lives. When I refer to myself as JonBenet's closest, maybe now you understand."

What do you make of that, this relationship or this -- some would use the word "obsession" that he seemed to have with little girls.

PITT: Well, there's lots of people that have obsessions with little girls and they're disturbed people. I don't think there is any question that this individual is disturbed.

What I'm more disturbed about is why this man has been e-mailing with the journalism professor from the University of Colorado for as long as he has. That, to me, is something that is problematic and needs to be explored and understood.

SANCHEZ: Why is it problematic?

PITT: What's the inside story on that? What is going on here? Why are these two people communicating and for what purpose and to what end? The journalism professor is someone who, as I understand it, has done, I think, three documentaries on this case, all of which argue that an intruder committed this offense.

I think we'll let the public figure it out and let the investigation take us where it takes us.

SANCHEZ: There is a report today that says that he has inside information that the public wouldn't know about, specifics about the case. How would you react to that?

PITT: I don't buy that because the fact of the matter is that over time in this case, virtually every piece of information about the case has been disseminated either through the Internet, tabloids, popular press, books or television.

SANCHEZ: Are you impressed at all with John Karr as a suspect?

PITT: I'm not overly impressed. The fact of the matter is that in high profile cases of this kind, it's not unusual or atypical for people to interject themselves and make confessions, when, in fact, they may have had nothing to do with the case at all.

SANCHEZ: Dr. Steven Pitt, thanks so much for talking to us. Interesting discussion.

PITT: It's my pleasure. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: And this we know, few crime cases in recent memory have been covered like this one has. So here's the raw data. On, we found at least 17 books on the Ramsey murder and investigation. There have been three television movies about the killing.

And to give you an idea of how fascinated people are with the mystery, a Google search came up with nearly 18 million hits, 18 million on JonBenet Ramsey.

The people who met him in Thailand describe John Karr as paranoid and unstable. But what was he even doing in Bangkok to begin with? We're going to put a few more pieces of this puzzle together and the power of an obsession, how some high profile people have suffered from unwanted attention.

This when "360" continues.


FOREMAN: That's John Karr's first wife, who he married in Alabama when she was just 14 years old. We have heard all about the unanswered questions here in Boulder, but there are also a lot of loose ends over in Bangkok.

CNN's Drew Griffin ties together some of the loose ends of the disturbing story of John Karr in Thailand.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They tell the story of a loner, a man who lived in a room here at Bloom' guest house since December. No visitors, no friends. And according to his neighbor, a teacher himself, John Mark Karr's mood in the last few weeks had changed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he was very paranoid. I think he was -- he looked like he had something on his conscience, guilty about something and would never talk to anyone.

GRIFFIN: More details are emerging about the 41-year-old's life in Bangkok, looking to be a teacher. One school showed CNN this job application from Karr. A school official said Karr seemed overly eager to be working with children, especially young girls, and Karr wanted to work alone without an assistant.

At one point the school says messages sent from Karr's e-mails contained pornography. This school actually hired Karr as a teacher, but he was let go after two weeks because administrators say he was simply too strict.

Bryce Smedley, a teacher who knows Karr, calls him strange.

BRYCE SMEDLEY, TEACHER: I'm not a doctor or anything, but Ii think he is someone who is a little mentally unstable, to be honest with you.

KARR: Her death was an accident.

GRIFFIN: It was this admission from Karr two days ago that bordered on the bizarre. After almost 10 years, this loner in Thailand says he was with 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey when she died Christmas night 1996 in Boulder, Colorado.

The statement raised suspicions Karr was just perhaps looking for attention. According to this Thai police official, Karr has insisted he was involved.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hear from my people that he said that he have sex with her.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about drugging her?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No drugging her. And my officer asked, "How come you have sex with a girl six years old?" He said at that time, just blah blah.

GRIFFIN: The big question now, when Karr will return to Colorado and face charges. Homeland security official Ann Hurst met with Karr today and said details are being worked out.

ANN HURST, HOMELAND SECURITY: He's been treated well and, yeah, he's fine. This takes time to make the necessary arrangements.


GRIFFIN (on-camera): And were learning about a bit of intrigue surrounding the arrest of John Karr. He was actually lured into a trap. According to "ABC News," John Karr was lured to a post office box by the very professor who was e-mailing him. Professor Michael Tracey, along with authorities, set up a package to be delivered to a post office box here in Thailand.

The authorities staked it out for about a week and when John Karr came to pick up that package on his bicycle, according to "ABC News," he was arrested.

Right now, Tom, we're waiting on apparently logistics and not legal procedures to get him out of this central detention center and send him back to Colorado, although we have no idea when that is going to take place. Tom?

FOREMAN: Drew, it seems like there has been so much secrecy around this trial for so long. Very briefly here, do you have any sense that arranging a trip doesn't seem that complex? Do you have any sense that authorities there are worried about security for this man or what?

GRIFFIN: I honestly, Tom, haven't been involved with some of these types of movements before. I think it is just merely a matter of logistics. They've got to find at least three seats on commercial planes.

They've got to make sure there's not going to be any direct flights from here to Denver. So they've got to make sure, wherever there is going to be a stopover, there is also a place where they can securely detain this person on the trip.

There's no doubt that Thailand wants to get rid of this guy. I think right now it's the matter of buying airline tickets and logistically and diplomatically perhaps and bureaucratically getting this guy out of here and through to the United States.

FOREMAN: Thanks so much, Drew, we appreciate your work. Prison officers have now searched the jail cell of another child offender. Coming up, I'll talk to the father of Polly Klaas about her killer's suspected connection to John Karr.

And crossing the line, when an obsession ends in a violent crime. This is "360."



PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JONBENET RAMSEY: At 2:00 in the morning, I wake up and I think of JonBenet and I think that someone was in my home in the middle of the night. Why didn't I hear something? Who did this? How could this have happened in my home?


SANCHEZ: Mark Klaas knows what the Ramsey family has been through. His daughter, Polly, was kidnapped and murdered in 1992. So he started a foundation to stop crimes against kids.

Here's where his story and the story of JonBenet Ramsey come to a bizarre meeting point. John Karr was also said to be obsessed with Polly Klaas and there are reports, in fact, that he may have been in contact with the man who killed her.

Officials at California's San Quentin prison searched that murder's cell, but they found no evidence, they say, linking him to Karr.

Mark Klaas is good enough to join us from San Francisco. Even though they didn't find anything in the cell, the fact he may be obsessed with your daughter, Polly, has got to gnaw at you. Does it?

MARK KLAAS, FATHER OF POLLY KLAAS: Oh, it's absolutely horrible. I mean, how would you like thoughts and memory of your daughter to be rowing around in the sick and twisted fantasies of a creature like this character, Karr? It just is extremely disturbing and I just actually think Polly deserves some peace and she can't have that as long as there's creatures like this out there, I guess.

SANCHEZ: Had you ever heard of him before? Had you ever gotten any indication that he was out there or had anything to do with either this case or your daughter?

KLAAS: No, no. The first my family became aware of this individual was two days ago with the rest of the world.

SANCHEZ: Law enforcement are telling CNN that Karr has shared graphic details about JonBenet's body that were never publicly released. How did he have that information? How do you think he would know that?

KLAAS: Well, I think that the key to this thing is this journalism professor. I mean, he's been corresponding with this guy for the last four years. One might even suggest that he's been grooming him for this moment for the last four years. He is privy to detailed information on this case and he very well may have been feeding it to him only to have it all regurgitated at this point.

And all of a sudden he seems like he's in the middle of this whole thing with this wealth of information and desire to make another documentary about this thing.

SANCHEZ: So while others may think that perhaps this leads to his credibility as a viable suspect, you don't?

KLAAS: Not particularly. I've been suspicious of this guy from the beginning. Listen, we have to deal with all of those issues in the case themselves. The evidence at the crime scene, the behavior afterwards, none of these things have been adequately explained.

And, certainly, you know, the fact that although they say this has been a well thought out investigation, I mean, they didn't even go -- they didn't even contact this guy's ex-wife to see if she might have been with him on the night that JonBenet Ramsey was kidnapped.

SANCHEZ: OK, understood, you don't think that that perhaps gives him credibility as a suspect. How about this? Ransom note is signed "SBTC," right? You know that.

KLAAS: Right.

SANCHEZ: We have found at CNN that there is a yearbook signed in 1982. He signed it off with this phrase, "Shall be the conqueror, SBTC." Possibility? What do you make of that?

KLAAS: I think it could be a possibility. I think what would be much more relevant would be doing a handwriting analysis and comparison between his handwriting in that yearbook and the handwriting in the confession note or in the ransom note.

SANCHEZ: Given what you're saying, do you think the focus of the investigation should in some way continue to be on the Ramseys?

KLAAS: I believe that they have to follow this thread to its conclusion, whatever that is. All I'm saying is that there are questions that have never been answered and I think one of the reasons those questions have never been answered was because of the Ramsey's reluctance to fully cooperate with law enforcement, something that is absolutely necessary to get the focus of the investigation off of themselves and on to other possibilities.

It's something we dealt with very, very painfully, but we dealt with it forthright and ensured that they had no doubts about us whatsoever, so that they could move forward. That wasn't accomplished in this case.

SANCHEZ: Tough words. Mark Klaas, we thank you for joining us, sir.

KLAAS: Sure, thank you.

SANCHEZ: We appreciate it. You know, not all obsessions lead to murder, of course, but some do. Coming up, crossing the line between love and murder. What made them do it and where are they now?

Also, if John Karr didn't murder the object of his obsession, JonBenet Ramsey, why on earth would he say he did? Well, guess what? There's a lot of people that make false confessions. We're going to look into why they lie when this special edition of "360" continues.


FOREMAN: Welcome back to Boulder, Colorado, just outside the Justice Center here in the county. One of the first things we learned about John Karr was that he was obsessed with JonBenet, the little girl who lived only a short walk away from where I'm standing right now.

But over the past 48 hours we've been learning a lot more about how obsessed he was.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's got to stop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not going to stop.

FOREMAN (voice-over): It's a classic case of obsession: "Fatal Attraction", a fixation on another person that runs deep, very deep.

Some psychologists say you can see the signs of obsession in e- mails obtained by the "Rocky Mountain News" and believed to be written by John Mark Karr about little JonBenet Ramsey, written nine years after her murder. "JonBenet, my love, my life," he writes, "I love you and shall forever love you. I pray that you can hear my voice calling out to you from my darkness, this darkness that now separates us."

Karr has said he was involved in the murder of JonBenet Ramsey. If he killed her, it wouldn't be first obsessed fan to cross the line between love and murder.

JIM COHEN, PROFESSOR, FORDHAM LAW SCHOOL: When you're an adult, chronologically, he's 41 years of age, I believe, his early 40s, and he's writing about his love for a dead child, who has no relationship to him at all, that's obsession.

MARK DAVID CHAPMAN, JOHN LENNON'S KILLER: On December 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman was a very confused person.

FOREMAN: He says now that he was confused. But that night, Mark David Chapman, who called himself a Beatles fan, was a man on a mission, a mission to kill John Lennon.

CHAPMAN: Then he was an album cover to me. He didn't exist. I just saw him as a -- as a two-dimensional celebrity.


FOREMAN: He shot Lennon five times. Chapman is serving 20 years to life in Attica.

John Hinckley Jr. was obsessed, too, with the actress Jodie Foster. When Hinckley crossed the line, he didn't try to kilt object of his obsession; he tried to kill to impress her.

On March 30, 1981, he waited outside a Washington hotel for President Ronald Reagan. When Reagan walked out, Hinckley opened fire, wounding the president and three others.

ROBERT DE NIRO, ACTOR: You talking to me?

FOREMAN: Hinckley was a fan of the film "Taxi Driver" and decided he'd have to do something big to get the attention of the film's young star, Jodie Foster. And he did.

JODIE FOSTER, ACTRESS: I've never met, spoken to or any way associated with one John W. Hinckley. Last fall I received several pieces of unsolicited correspondence signed John W. Hinckley or JWH, and I threw them all away.

FOREMAN: Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and is confined to a Washington, D.C., mental institution.

REBECCA SCHAEFFER, ACTRESS: I'm really blown out about that C in Spanish. I went out with my towel off (ph)!

FOREMAN: Then there was the death of the young television star Rebecca Schaeffer at the hands of her obsessed fan. Robert John Barto stalked Schaeffer for years, and on July 18, 1989, he showed up at her front door and shot her to death. She was just 21 years old.

Barto is now serving life without parole in a California prison.

John Mark Karr apparently also wrote that he is "trapped in a world that does not understand." It's a world of obsession, and its victims are often loved to death.


FOREMAN: As we've said, not all obsessions lead to murder. But could an obsession convince someone to confess to something or say they did something that they did not do?

Well, in that report you heard from Fordham Law School professor Jim Cohen. He teaches a class called Psychology in the Law. He also defends mentally ill clients from time to time. We heard in that report, but I also talked to him at length earlier today.


FOREMAN: When people think about their love this way, do they think it is love?

COHEN: That's really an excellent question. The answer is yes. But I don't know that their thinking of it as love would in any way resemble what you or I or what most others would describe or could describe as love.

FOREMAN: Is it common for this sort of obsession to last beyond death for people? Or even to develop after death?

COHEN: This sort of obsession is uncommon. In general if you talk about a category of obsessions this is uncommon, I think, largely because it is rooted, or I think it's rooted, in some sort of sexual connection, that it serves some sort of unusual fondness for young girls.

And that's why I think it -- it stays. It is more intense and it stays for a longer period of time, probably forever, in part because it's rooted in that.

FOREMAN: Given that this sort of thing is unusual to begin with, when people fixate on these high profile crime cases, it seems to me that it's not that uncommon that ultimately part of this is some sort of a false confession. They start saying, "I'm connected to it." Is that fairly common in this illusional world?

COHEN: Yes, once you narrow the universe to the universe of that which we're speaking, I think that's exactly right. He became fixated. He continued to be fixated. He continued to be immersed in this. And he began -- and I think still does arguably, although we certainly don't know everything yet -- to lose the connection between reality and fantasy. And he's been operating in a fantasy world, apparently, for some time.

FOREMAN: Now he offered a lot of details about this, at least according to sources in law enforcement, that presumably nobody would know outside of the investigation.

COHEN: Details only the killer would know?

FOREMAN: I can't help but be skeptical of that.

COHEN: Right.

FOREMAN: Well, theoretically only the killer would know. I can't help but be a little skeptical of that, because I'm guessing people who behave in these obsessive ways study an awful lot of what other people have done in cases like this.

COHEN: I think that's why -- the Internet makes all sorts of information available. Much -- some of the information that he's provided, some of the statements he provided are inconsistent with what we know about this crime.

I know that we talk about details about the autopsy report that only the killer would know. That's -- it's not clear to me at all. I share your skepticism. It seems to me there's lots of ways to figure out what a 6-year-old who had her skull crushed and was garroted and bruised would look like.

I don't think you need to have been there, killed her or done the autopsy or read the autopsy report to be able to figure out some of these things.

FOREMAN: What do you make of the language he used?

COHEN: Well, the language I think is a tip-off. He stated early on that he was with her when she died. Now, you could interpret that as he was present when he had died. You could interpret it as he killed her. But I think, given what we know now, and I thought even then the use of the word "with" was odd. I think it's more of a spiritual "with." And that's really a tip-off that there's something very seriously going on here in his mind.


FOREMAN: Fordham Law School professor Jim Cohen. Interesting man, Rick.

SANCHEZ: Good stuff, Tom. You really know this case.

But here's what makes the case thus far so complicated. People do confess to crimes that they didn't commit. It happens, in fact, more often than you might think. Coming up, why innocent people take the blame for horrible acts of violence.

Also, what happens if your client, the one you're defending, gives a false concession? What's your best defense? What do you do? We're going to talk to a leading criminal defense lawyer when this special edition of 360 continues.



PATSY RAMSEY, MOTHER OF JONBENET RAMSEY: We would like to think we don't know anyone that we have ever met in our lives who could do such a thing to a child. But they talked with us and said please tell us names of people, you know, who may have been in your home at any time. You know, just -- we just outpoured information.


SANCHEZ: That's John and Patsy Ramsey.

Here's a program note. Their attorney, Lin Wood, is going to be a guest on "LARRY KING LIVE" Monday night at 9 Eastern Time. Now, we don't know yet, nor does anybody else, seemingly, if John Karr is lying or telling the truth.

If he didn't kill JonBenet Ramsey, then why take the blame, you ask? Well, odds face (ph) confessing to a crime that you didn't commit, any crime, let alone murder, doesn't seem to make much sense.

But as you watch this report, you're going to get a sense that false confessions are, in fact, more common than you might think.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): The BTK killer, otherwise, known as Dennis Rader, pleaded guilty to murdering 10 people.


SANCHEZ: Robert Chambers, convicted of killing a woman he picked up at a bar. Gary Ridgeway confessed to murdering 48 women in a killing spree in the 1980s.

GARY RIDGEWAY, CONVICTED MURDERER: Then I got behind her and I killed her.

SANCHEZ: These are the chilling words of men who became famous for their confessions. All of their confessions feeding a media circus, making them twisted rock stars of murder.

But not every confession carries the truth. Some just want the fame. In the 1930s, when Charles Lindbergh's baby was infamously kidnapped, hundreds of fake confessors lined up at police departments to take the credit.

SAUL KASSIN, PROFESSOR, WILLIAMS COLLEGE: There are voluntary false confessions where people often have a pathological need for attention or recognition or fame. These are people who walk into a police station and volunteer a confession.

SANCHEZ: For that reason, convicted criminals such as Texas drifter Henry Lee Lucas originally claimed to murder 350 people.

HENRY LEE LUCAS, CONFESSED TO 350 MURDERS: It didn't matter. I mean, I didn't have no feelings about killing them. SANCHEZ: But instead of going down in history as a prolific serial killer, as he bragged, he instead went down as a prolific serial confessor, ultimately found guilty of 13 murders.

But false concessions don't always come from those seeking fame. Sometimes they come from hours spent on interrogation room, where suspects are made to feel like a confession is the easy way out.

KASSIN: It is OK for an interrogator to say to a suspect that they have evidence, when in fact that's not true. And once you've got that suspect feeling trapped, then the interrogator is likely to shift gears to make confession sound as if it is not going to have such devastating consequences.

SANCHEZ: In 1989, the Central Park jogger rape case had already become a media circus. And in a turn that stunned New Yorkers, suspect Kharey Wise made this famous confession after he'd been interrogated for hours.

KHAREY WISE, FORMER RAPE SUSPECT: This is my first rape.

SANCHEZ: He spent years in jail until the real killer confessed, backed by DNA evidence.

In fact, according to the Innocence Project, more than a quarter of all the cases later exonerated by DNA were originally convicted after a false confession.

KASSIN: And so it's important, I think, for people to understand they can't always tell a false confession when they see one. And therefore, an in depth analysis is necessary.

SANCHEZ: So are John Mark Karr's words to the media an effort to become another rock star of murder? Or is he a real murderer?


SANCHEZ: And of course, that's the million dollar question. And joining me now is criminal defense attorney Larry Pozner.

Larry, you and I talked yesterday. You've heard today what he has said about it being an accident, about being in the basement when it happened. Is that, in your estimation, a confession?

LARRY POZNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: You know, those are such -- such easy facts to roll off the tongue. Today has gotten very confusing. And commentators try to analyze the evidence and enlighten.

But what are we to say when the confession we were told yesterday had holes in it, and today the Thai police say no, those really weren't part of his confession. Where are we today? What has he said? But saying, "I was there," that won't do it.

SANCHEZ: So as a defense attorney you really don't trust any information until you sit down and talk to your client. And even then, do you feel like you've gotten enough?

POZNER: No. We don't -- we don't believe the word of anyone. We look at facts. Facts will tell you the truth.

I can-- I can say, you know, defending the rights of the criminally accused is a privilege, and it's always difficult. Defending somebody you believe to be innocent who's trying to plead guilty to a crime they didn't do, that's a nightmare of a whole different order. We need to know, is this guy sick and a murderer, or just sick?

SANCHEZ: Well, how do you convince a jury of that? Mean, if a jury is listening to the man's own words saying he did something, that's got to be tough for an attorney to try and turn that around in their heads, isn't it?

POZNER: It is. But jurors obey the oath. What we do when we have false confession cases, is we take the confession apart a sentence at a time, a fact at a time. And then we show a jury, you know, he says this. But it didn't happen.

And he says this, but there's no proof of it. If you are making up your confession, if you're lying about doing a crime, you'll never be able to keep it together. There will be a thousand holes in this story.

SANCHEZ: Let's try to figure out what Karr is. Because we've talked. There are two types of people who confess. One is looking for fame. The other is perhaps coerced or led into the confession. How do you distinguish between the two? And which one do you think Karr falls into?

POZNER: Well, the people who are led into the confession or pushed into it will often tell you. You know, after -- "day after day I said I didn't do it, I didn't do it, I didn't do it. And finally, I said I did do it."

How did he confess here? Where does this confession begin? I'm wondering if he isn't spiritually saying, "I'd like to take credit or blame for the death of this child," whatever it is in his mind. We can tell this: he is an obsessive personality. Has he just gone over the edge and inserted his image into a violent crime that he studied endlessly?

SANCHEZ: An dif you had to go one way or the other right now, you would go in the direction that he is, what, not a real suspect, a guy who's just obsessed with a case and wants to be a part of it?

POZNER: No, I'd make him a suspect. He deserves to be a suspect. But he's a long way from being the guy.

If he killed this child, he should be able to give us chapter and verse of how he first learned of her, how he got to Boulder, how he got in the house. He should be able to tell us hundreds of things that only he knows. And we haven't heard that yet.

What little we've heard is -- you know, it doesn't fit very well yet.

SANCHEZ: Criminal defense attorney Larry Pozner. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to us tonight.

POZNER: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: We're following several other stories tonight, including a huge payout in American dollars by Hezbollah for the homeless in Lebanon.

First, a 360 bulletin.

It's an Egypt-bound flight, made an emergency landing in Italy after a bomb threat was found on an air sick bag. The airliner had taken off from London's Gatwick Airport. It landed safely at Brindisi after a military escort.

British police say they have served 50 search warrants in connection with last week's alleged plot to blow several airliners out of the sky, as well. Twenty-three suspects in all are in custody while police search for evidence to them and their alleged plot.

Ford is going to temporarily stop making vehicles at 10 of its plants between now and the end of the year. This to trim costs, they say. The company blames high gas prices, which it says are turning customers away from pickups and SUVs, as well. Ford is losing market share to mostly Asian car companies that offer vehicles with better fuel economy.

The Associated Press is reporting that Marion Jones failed a doping test at the U.S. Track and Field Championships in June where she won the 100 meters. The Associated Press says the five-time Olympic gold medalist tested positive for an endurance enhancing drug on the first round. Second round of tests have not yet been completed.

How much money should you get after the Israeli military has bombed your house? Hezbollah can put a figure on them, an exact figure. It's payday in Southern Beirut. Where did the money come from?

And also, from a terrorist mastermind to a man who allegedly killed his entire family, the hunt for those on the FBI's ten most wanted. A special edition of 360 is coming up.


SANCHEZ: Welcome back.

The race is now on to try and get 3.5 thousand United Nations peace keeping troops into Southern Lebanon in the next couple of weeks. Not just boots on the ground but the right type of boots.

As Lebanese forces move into place, the U.N. wants more European nations to step forward. It says peacekeepers need to reflect the balance between western and Muslim nations. Meanwhile, it's payday for those in Southern Beirut whose homes were bombed by the Israeli military.

Here's CNN's Jim Clancy.


JIM CLANCY, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Counting it out, 120, not exactly crisp, $100 bills. That's $12,000 being handed out by Hezbollah to every household in Beirut's southern suburbs whose home was destroyed in the war of Israel. And yes, Hezbollah prefers working in U.S. dollars.

"I registered one day, and two days later they he called in to come and get paid," said a smiling resident, adding, "This is something really nice. God bless them and long live Sayed Hassan (ph) and the guys," referring to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and his followers.

If the damage was widespread and devastating, Hezbollah's grass roots organization is damage control with uncommon efficiency everywhere. Aid groups report that when they reached stranded villagers in Southern Lebanon for the first time this week, they found Hezbollah had already been there. Residents were happy to take more handouts but flatly said Hezbollah had already met their needs.

As Lebanese sign up for the $12,000 payout, nobody asks, "Where is the money coming from?" Political sources here tell CNN Iran furnished between $600 million and $700 million for Hezbollah's immediate use. Some see the avalanche of cash as evidence Iran and Hezbollah are going overboard to erase the bad memories of a conflict they ignited.

In Lebanon, $12,000 is a huge sum, more than most workers even make in a year and far beyond the actual cost of rent and furniture.

Hezbollah's opponents also complain that the handouts further undermine the elected government, more than humanitarian aid, its political subterfuge.

"I don't believe that, if the money went to Lebanese government, the suburb would be rebuilt," this man said. There's more confidence in the Hezbollah than in the government.

Another told us, "The money might be coming from other countries, but as long as Hezbollah aims to help people, there's nothing wrong with that, nothing at all."

That may be fodder for debate, but Hezbollah is pulling the carpet out from under its critics, not with promises, but with cold cash.

(on camera) Where is the United States in all of this? Humanitarian aid groups tell CNN they cannot give away money that is coming from Washington. Local NGOs in South Lebanon will not accept it. Their logic: you can't pay for the bombs that fell on us with one hand and pay to help repair the damage with the other.

Jim Clancy, CNN, Beirut.


SANCHEZ: And on behalf of Tom Foreman in Boulder, Colorado, we thank you for being with us on this night. Anderson is going to be back in the next hour with a 360 special. Polygamist fugitive Warren Jeffs, Osama bin Laden, as well. Tracking the FBI's most wanted. That is next.




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