Leftovers Part 2: Revisiting the Year's Big Stories

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Over the summer, a school teacher named John Mark Karr went from obscurity to notoriety for falsely confessing to the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey. Also, Floyd Landis had his Tour de France title stripped after tests revealed elevated testosterone levels in his system. An update on these newsmakers.

(Soundbite of music)

ALEX CHADWICK, host:

This is DAY TO DAY from NPR News. I'm Alex Chadwick.

Lucky DAY TO DAY listeners today are here for the debut of our new seasonal holiday feature, Leftovers. We go back and revisit news stories that once dominated the news and now have kind of been forgotten. Here with us, NPR's Luke Burbank again. Luke welcome back.

LUKE BURBANK: Thanks Alex.

CHADWICK: John Mark Karr, he's the 41-year-old, sometimes school teacher who authorities arrested in Thailand in August in connection with the killing of the six-year-old child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. Here's a clip of John Mark Karr admitting to the murder. This interview took place in Bangkok.

Mr. JOHN MARK KARR (Murder suspect): I loved JonBenet and she died accidentally.

Unidentified Woman: (Speaking foreign language)

Mr. KARR: No.

CHADWICK: Are you an innocent man, the reporter said. No, said John Mark Karr. Luke, it turns out he actually was innocent - at least of that.

BURBANK: Yeah, Alex. That interview in that airport was one of the many bizarre, bizarre elements to this story - not the least of which was John Mark Karr himself. When he actually got to Colorado they ran a DNA test and it turned out that his DNA did not match the scene of the crime. Then he was sent off to California where he was wanted on outstanding charges of possession of child pornography. When he got there, it turns out that police had actually lost the computer that had the evidence on it so he was cleared of those charges.

He then landed in Atlanta with his father where he was living in a residential neighborhood, not far from a school, actually. And the hue and cry from the locals was so much - and in fact, he got death threats - that he was shipped off to Alabama where he is apparently living with family there, trying to kind of keep out of the spotlight.

Although he did tell a TV station in Atlanta that he was interested in getting back into teaching, seems pretty unlikely. And one of the things, Alex, I was researching John Mark Karr, ended up on a Wikipedia, the open source encyclopedia. John Mark Karr's photo on Wikipedia is maybe one of the eeriest things I've ever scene, just FYI.

CHADWICK: All right, Luke. We'll look for that. One other person in the news now that we want to catch up with - Floyd Landis, America's favorite Mennonite bicyclist. Last year, he overcame a broken hip and he won this year's Tour de France bicycle race, but then there are charges of drug use, testosterone maybe. Here he is, Floyd Landis pleading with the public after these charges came out.

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Mr. FLOYD LANDIS (Winner, Tour de France 2006): I would like to be assumed innocent until proven guilty, since that's the way we do things in America.

CHADWICK: You know, I've lost track of this. What's been proven? What's not been proven?

BURBANK: Well, it still being hashed out in a couple of different venues, Alex. Actually, the International Cycling Union is looking at the matter, but they're waiting for report back from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. All the while, Floyd Landis is strongly maintaining his innocence. He's got his whole case laid out in painstaking detail. I can tell you this because I looked at it last night on his Web site floydlandis.com. He actually got a little bit of good news this month - as the lab in France that has tested him positive for his elevated levels of testosterone, had some security problems and also admitted they mislabeled one of the samples. And, Alex, he even made an appearance earlier this month, not racing, but just as an official invited guest at the Tour de Tucson, which I'll tell you is the actual name of the race, not just my lame attempt at French.

CHADWICK: NPR's Luke Burbank debuting the DAY TO DAY seasonal feature Leftovers. Luke, thank you again.

BURBANL: Alex, I need to get some real leftovers now. Thank you.

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