SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) – A judge refused Wednesday to grant a second request by the defense to dismiss the child pornography case against the one-time suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey murder case.

John Mark Karr’s lawyers had argued that prosecutors deliberately withheld information they learned from Karr’s ex-wife. Lara Knutson had said she wasn’t sure that the computer on which the suspected illegal images were found was working when investigators seized it.

A prosecutor said she hadn’t deliberately withheld anything, and Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau agreed, saying Karr “should have had knowledge of the state of the computers,” making the defense’s reliance on Knutson unnecessary.

Last week, a different judge refused to toss out the misdemeanor case after the defense sought dismissal based on a loss of evidence.

Investigators have acknowledged they lost Karr’s computer but said they found a “mirror image” of Karr’s hard drive on a sheriff’s department computer. Defense lawyers have since moved to exclude that evidence, but a judge has not heard arguments on that request.

Defense lawyers also want the judge to exclude a computer printout cataloging the evidence found on Karr’s hard drive and to invalidate the search warrant that led to the confiscation of the computer, saying investigators were relying on information from a confidential informant who was mentally ill and unreliable.

Chouteau is expected to hear arguments Thursday on those motions.

Defense lawyer Robert Amparan revealed Wednesday that the printout showed the computer not been used since 1998, three years before Karr was charged in the pornography case. Divorce records indicate Karr, his former wife and their three children moved from Alabama to Petaluma in 2000.

Chouteau cut Amparan’s argument short, saying it wasn’t relevant to the motion to exclude the printout.

But at least one observer said a judge could throw out 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.

Karr, 41, fled Sonoma County before his trial in 2001. He was arrested in Thailand in August after suggesting he killed JonBenet, a 6-year-old beauty queen, in her Colorado 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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