Andrew Murr

Evidence of Obsession

Wendy Hutchens may be the first person to have suspected that the thin, intense man she met in 2001 was JonBenet Ramsey's killer. John Mark Karr had contacted her for help with a book he said he was writing about another infamous murder, that of Polly Klaas in 1993 (Hutchens grew up in the same northern California town as Klaas's killer).

False Confessions

Trip DeMuth was extremely concerned. When the former Boulder, Colo. prosecutor who investigated the 1996 JonBenet Ramsey murder case learned last week that suspect John Mark Karr had been arrested only five days after investigators learned his name, DeMuth was afraid the whole case was based on Karr's own confession.

'Solved' or 'Suckered'?

John Mark Karr seemed oddly eager to implicate himself. Led on a perp walk in Bangkok after his arrest this week for the 1996 murder of JonBenet Ramsey, the 41-year-old American dressed primly in a neat blue polo shirt, buttoned all the way up in the Thai heat, was quiet and earnest. "I loved JonBenet very much," he said.

A Winning Equation

Los Angeles entrepreneurs Stewart and Lynda Resnick know how to make money buying things, from oranges to fire alarms to the Franklin Mint. But they were stymied by what to do with a 100-acre pomegranate grove that came along with farmland property they bought in 1987.

A Gang War With a Twist

Kenneth wilson was murdered looking for a parkingspot in Latino gang territory. Driving in the working-class Los Angeles neighborhood of Highland Park in 1999, the African-American man passed a stolen van filled with members of the feared Avenues street gang.

Polygamist on the Lam

Warren Jeffs is a prophet without honor in the eyes of the Feds: leader of a polygamist offshoot of Mormonism (the church banned polygamy in 1890), he has now made the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.

Battling a Black Epidemic

It's a warm spring morning, and two dozen African-American women are gathered around a conference table at the Women's Collective in Washington, D.C. Easter is just a few days away, but nobody is thinking about painted eggs and bunny rabbits.

A Desert Sandstorm

When 100,000 protesters nearly shut down Phoenix last week, Jim Pederson headed for the border. A Democrat running for the Senate in Arizona, he wanted to highlight laxity on the U.S.-Mexican line--and blame it on his opponent, the Republican incumbent, Jon Kyl.

Los Angeles: Bratton's Setback

Los Angeles police Chief Bill Bratton has long said cleaning up L.A.'s skid row would be tough. Last Friday, the job got tougher. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with an ACLU suit that a city ordinance punishing a person for lying or sitting on a sidewalk violated Eighth Amendment protections against cruel and unusual punishment.

Paul Volpe: 'What Did They Sew You Up With?'

Marine Pvt. Paul Volpe was "bleeding out," the combat term for bleeding to death. Hit three times--in the arm, calf and thigh--with AK-47 rounds in an ambush, he was barely conscious as a corpsman pumped him with morphine to kill the pain. (Volpe had heard stories that wounded men didn't feel the pain at first, but "when people tell you it doesn't hurt, it hurts," he recalled.) The morphine made him drowsier still.

Monster vs. Red Bull

How does a booming company spark new growth the year after its sales nearly double and its stock skyrockets 333 percent? If you're Hansen Natural, maker of Monster Energy drinks, you start by signing a two-year endorsement deal with Ricky Carmichael, the Michael Jordan of motocross and supercross racing.

Hollywood: Pellicano: Still Circling the Big Fish

The 110-count federal indictment against L.A. detective-to-the-stars Anthony Pellicano was unsealed last week, and you could hear Hollywood's relief: Pellicano's most famous employers weren't named in the indictment, which accuses the private eye and six others of illegal wiretaps and searches of police databases to dredge up embarrassing material on his clients' enemies.

Hot Issue: Shadow Workers

Until now, there were few hard facts about immigrant day labor. But this week urban planners from UCLA and the University of Illinois at Chicago will release the first national study of the shadowy labor pool, "On the Corner: Day Labor in the United States," a survey of 2,660 randomly selected day laborers in 20 states and Washington, D.C. The surprises?

NO MORE ELECTRIC BILLS

Nicholas and Loan Gatai used to cringe when they received power bills that routinely topped $200. Last September the Sacramento, Calif., couple moved into a new, 1,500-square-foot home in Premier Gardens, a subdivision of 95 "zero-energy homes" just outside town.

KING TUT-A-COMIN'

MUSEUMSKING TUT-A-COMIN'OLD BLACK EYES IS BACK, AND HIS NEW TOUR IS GENERATING TICKET SALES--AND CONTROVERSY.King Tut has been kicking up dust ever since British archeologist Howard Carter discovered his treasure-filled, 3,000-year-old tomb in 1922.

THE SURVIVOR'S STORY

Bridging communities "is what my whole life has been about," says Los Angeles Mayor-Elect Antonio Villaraigosa. But few of those hailing the victory of the first Latino elected to lead the City of Angels since frontier days know just how big a gulf he's had to span.Antonio Villar, as he was born in 1953, grew up a poor Chicano kid from East L.A., raised by a single mom who worked as a part-time secretary in a state office.

'A Pure Love for Children'

Michael Jackson's lawyers wasted no time in attacking the heart of the prosecutor's case. The first two defense witnesses this week were young men who both swore the singer never touched them inappropriately--even though they had each spent many nights sleeping in the pop star's bed during childhood visits.Wade Robson, 22, a dancer and film director, and Brett Barnes, 23, a casino dealer who flew to California from Melbourne, Australia, to testify, were among five boys whom state prosecutors...

Reversal of Fortune

Eager prosecutors thought Michael Jackson's ex-wife would make an explosive closing witness. As the state wrapped up its case in Jackson's child-molestation trial, Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon put Debbie Rowe on the stand to nail down the charge that Jackson conspired with aides to keep the alleged victim and his family in custody.

Jackson's 'Mini Trials'

The story was graphic and lurid. Staring through a window in a bathroom area at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch one night in late 1992 or 1993, security man Ralph Chacon said he saw the singer and a young boy "standing in the nude facing each other." Jackson and the boy had just taken a Jacuzzi and a long shower, Chacun said, explaining that he continued to watch because he thought "it wasn't right" that "a grown man was in the shower with a young boy."Matters quickly escalated, according to...

Turning Point?

In a dramatic ruling that shifts the balance of the Michael Jackson molestation trial, Santa Barbara Superior Court Judge Rodney Melville ruled Monday that he will allow jurors to hear evidence of past allegations that the pop star committed sexual improprieties with five young boys. "I am going to permit the testimony with regard to the sexual offenses and the alleged grooming," Melville ruled, referring to the alleged behavior that paves the way for molestation.

Sex, Smut and Fingerprints

Prosecutors in Michael Jackson's molestation trial this week presented jurors with a jarring mix of hot magazines and cold technology. The jury got a crash course in sexually explicit magazine content, as prosecutors spent hours projecting blown-up images of more than 80 photographs of nude women on the courtroom wall.

WON'T GET FOOLED AGAIN

Antonio Villaraigosa has been in this boxing ring before. Heading out of a victory in the L.A. mayoral primary four years ago, the former California Assembly speaker with the thousand-watt smile seemed to think he'd easily knock out his bland runoff opponent, City Attorney James Hahn.

Will Other Accusers Testify?

Former Neverland maid Kiki Fournier told jurors that she sometimes saw Michael Jackson entertaining young boys who were "intoxicated." Her testimony Thursday afternoon helped lend credence to Jackson's 15-year-old accuser's testimony that the pop star routinely got him drunk.

IN THE JURY BOX: PLAYING THE CLASS CARD

We all know that the American justice system entitles the accused to a jury of his peers. But, as Beverly Hills jury consultant Marshall Hennington says, "What does a group of Michael Jackson's peers look like?" Not much like the one seated last week in Santa Maria, Calif.--and that may be good news or bad news.

BACK ON THE MEAN STREETS

It started as a straight drunk-driving stop. LAPD Officer Steve Garcia and his partner were patrolling South Los Angeles at 3:49 last Sunday morning when they spotted a maroon 1990 Toyota driving erratically.

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