LOS ANGELES – John Mark Karr's relatives offered the movie and book rights to the family's story Wednesday in hopes of hiring a high-level attorney to defend the schoolteacher against charges he killed 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.
Karr's father and brother hired actor, author and producer Larry Garrison to represent them in any media deals and to help them find a top attorney to represent Karr, who is in a Los Angeles jail awaiting transfer to Colorado to face allegations he killed the girl in 1996.
Garrison told AP that while the family's film and book rights are secured, no money has changed hands yet. He said he promised the Karrs a portion of any money made by the effort.
"They're not looking for money for themselves," Garrison said. "They're looking to support John's boys' college education and to make sure all legal fees are covered."
Karr's brother, Nate Karr, confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday that Garrison now represents the Karr family.
Garrison has written and produced several news films and had minor acting roles. He said that the family will be looking for a well-known attorney to represent Karr.
"Right now he's got a public defender to represent him," Garrison said. "It's their desire to get someone high-level."
Garrison declined to say if the family has been in touch with Karr in jail.
Karr told reporters in Thailand on Sunday that he was present when JonBenet died and that her death was an accident. He did not specifically say he killed her.
Boulder prosecutors have not disclosed their evidence against Karr. His family has insisted he was in Georgia at the time of the slaying.
Georgia attorney Gary Harris, who had represented Wexford and Nate Karr in recent days, had said that the family found a photo from Christmas 1996 that indicates Karr was in Atlanta, not Colorado at the time of Ramsey's death.
Harris no longer represents the Karr family, Garrison said, but a family photo has been turned over to Boulder authorities. He could not say what the photo shows.
"I can tell you they proclaim his innocence," Garrison said. "They feel he was not there at the time, that some of the statements made by the press are absurd."
He said the family is not looking to get rich off the story.
"These people are spiritually coming from the right place," Garrison said. "They're really good people. They're family oriented. They're not greedy. They're looking for the spin to stop."
Karr agreed Tuesday to go to Colorado without a fight about extradition. In a two-minute court appearance he was impassive and his expression changed only once when he slowly closed his eyes as the judge recited the count of first-degree murder that Boulder prosecutors included in an arrest warrant.
Karr "has been portrayed by the media as of late as being mentally unstable, attention-seeking, unwell, mentally unwell. And he is none of those things," said attorney Jamie Harmon, who attended Tuesday's hearing and whose partner, Patience Van Zandt, represented Karr when he was charged in 2001 with possessing child pornography in Northern California.
Karr "is anxious to have an opportunity to address the allegations against him, to be portrayed in a more accurate and complete way," Harmon said.
The attorney, who said she and Van Zandt, would be advising Karr in some capacity, said Karr was "not subject to ready categorization or easy answers."
She described him as intelligent and unusual.
"He is a different sort of person than most of us walking around on the face of the planet, and that differentness has been construed in the media as wrong or somehow unbalanced," she said. "And I don't find that to be true at all."
With the order from Superior Court Judge Luis Lavin, Karr was available to be picked up by Boulder authorities at any time.
Karr, who had been photographed in Thailand and on his trip to the United States wearing civilian clothes, appeared in court wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, his hands cuffed to a chain around his waist.
His attorney for the hearing, Deputy Public Defender Haydeh Takasugi, said Karr was concerned about appearing in jail attire rather than civilian clothes.
"It's going to taint any potential jury pool out there," Takasugi said. "He was upset at that."
On Wednesday, Quientana Ray, who married Karr when she was 13, told ABC's "Good Morning America" in a pre-recorded interview that Karr was controlling and used to tell her about fantasies he had about little girls.
"I was drugged and things were done to me without me having any idea," said Ray, who is now married with a 4-month old child.
Her parents, Melissa and Larry Shotts of Hamilton, Ala., said they also discovered letters Karr wrote to their daughter that were signed "S.B.T.C." — the same initials found on a ransom note left in the Ramseys' home. They did not show the letters during the interview and it wasn't clear if they still had them.
In addition to first-degree murder, the counts against Karr in a sealed probable-cause arrest warrant include felony murder, first-degree kidnapping, second-degree kidnapping and sexual assault on a child.