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Karr Lawyers: Never Used Computer in Cali

SANTA ROSA, Calif. – Attorneys for former JonBenet Ramsey murder suspect John Mark Karr opened a fresh attack on the child pornography case against him, saying the computer that held the alleged images was never used in California.

Defense attorney Robert Amparan said Wednesday that the printout made by sheriff’s deputies cataloging the contents of the hard drive on Karr’s computer showed the computer hasn’t been used in eight years.

“Nothing has been accessed on that computer since 1998, two years before the Karrs moved from Alabama to California,” Amparan said.

Divorce records indicate Karr, his former wife and their three children moved from Alabama to Petaluma in 2000.

Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau said Amparan’s arguments weren’t relevant to the motion to exclude the printout from the trial.

But at least one observer said if Karr obtained the images more than a year before charges were filed, a judge could dismiss the case because the deadline for bringing charges had expired.

“If they can show that computer wasn’t even accessed after 1998 and the last time it was accessed he was in another state, as well, then there’s some serious problems,” said Joseph L. Stogner, an attorney and professor at Empire Law School in Santa Rosa.

Last week, a different judge refused to toss out the case after the defense filed a dismissal motion based on authorities’ loss of Karr’s computer.

Investigators have acknowledged they lost the computer, but said they found a “mirror image” of its hard drive on a sheriff’s department computer.

On Thursday, Chouteau was expected to hear two more defense motions – one to exclude the evidence found on the hard drive, and another to invalidate the search warrant that led to the confiscation of the computer because investigators allegedly were relying on an informant who was mentally ill.

Karr, 41, was charged with possessing child pornography in 2001, but the former teacher fled before his trial later that year.

Karr was arrested in Thailand in August after suggesting he killed JonBenet, a 6-year-old beauty queen, in her Boulder, Colo., home in 1996. He was returned to the U.S., but the Ramsey case quickly collapsed after DNA failed to connect him to the crime.

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