Expert: Million-to-One Chance Karr Didn't Write Ransom Note

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," August 22, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: Handwriting experts have been whipping out their microscopes to examine an old yearbook signed by Ramsey suspect John Mark Karr. Many have found similarities between the yearbook note and the ransom note left at the crime scene in Boulder.

My next guest is going to go out on a limb. He says the chances are "a million to one" that Karr didn't write the ransom message. Curt Baggett is a handwriting analyst and cofounder of the School of Forensic Document Examination in Texas.

So Mr. Baggett, there's three letters that you say are very important: the A's, the F's and the T's. And we're going to show them here on the screen. Why do you think that they indicate that this is Karr's — that the ransom note is Karr's handwriting?

CURT BAGGETT, HANDWRITING ANALYST: Well, they match. And they're very, very similar and there's probably a dozen of other traits in the handwriting that I look at to be almost in the exact match. You just can't have that many similar traits without the same person having written it.

I look at some really, really good forgeries sometimes and of course it would have been hard for someone to forge his handwriting. So when we're looking for similarities, we look at the different letters, the slant of the writings, the beginning strokes, ending strokes and all the little, particular things that you can't see unless you look under a microscope. And my examination reveals that the evidence says that the same author wrote JonBenet's ransom note and high school annual and also the application for the school job that John Karr did.

GIBSON: I believe you said 99.9 percent. That's awfully darn high. In fact, I guess you would say it's conclusive?

BAGGETT: Yes, it is to me. That's my professional expert opinion. I don't take the case unless I think that I can go to court and prove it. And so it's always 100 percent or nothing. If I can't — I think that this is overwhelming evidence because there are so many similarities that it has to be the same author.

GIBSON: Well let me look at these letters again, the A's, the F's and the T's, and I guess there's one other letter in the double box we have that shows the letters compared. I'm looking at the A and they look alike to me. But I'm not an expert.

What is it about them that's so distinctive that you say they absolutely match?

BAGGETT: Well, the A's have a little cover on them and they are the same size and shape and at the end on the bottom, many of them go out to the right. Which also is the same thing that happens to the L's, if you notice the double L's, they go down to the left and come back to the right, usually with a little hook on them. And the D's are very, very distinguishable. The D's have a little tear drop on the bottom, they go up towards the top and then usually lean to the left and then sometimes have a little hook on the top of it, too, to the left.

GIBSON: Mr. Baggett, I've got one quick question. What about the "SBTC," the "shall be the conqueror" in the school yearbook and then under the signature in the ransom note? Do you that that is a strong indicator it's the same person?

BAGGETT: Well, it appears to be. But that would be speculation because there's no evidence to that. But it seems very odd and coincidental if it's not.

GIBSON: Curt Baggett, thank you very much. A handwriting analyst that says 99.9 percent.

Curt, thank you.

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