After several pretrial delays, former Emeryville Bohemian Blacksmith Studio operator and accused murderer Joseph Karr returned to a Travis County courthouse last Friday January 22nd. The 54-year-old Karr was brought into the courtroom in the standard grey Travis County jumpsuit approximately 9:30 a.m. in a brief hearing. Presiding Judge of the 147th District Court where Karr appeared was the Honorable Cliff Brown.
Karr is being charged with killing his 43-year-old girlfriend Kelly Turner and subsequent vehicle theft when he allegedly fled the scene. The Murder charge is a first degree felony punishable by five years to life in prison but is not a capital/death penalty offense.
Unlike the previous court appearance back on December 17th when Karr reportedly walked in with a swagger and smirked at those in attendance, Karr appeared “deflated” and gazed at the floor according to a source. During the December appearance, Karr had asked for a new attorney citing “a contentious relationship” with him in what might have been an attempt to delay the trial. Judge Brown firmly denied the request and established a tentative trial date of March 28th.
Judge Brown read the charges which include first degree murder and asked and confirmed with Karr that he understood. The prosecution then presented Karr an offer of a 60 year sentence to which Karr declined. “Do you understand if convicted your sentence will be anywhere between five & ninety-nine years?” Brown then asked Karr. Karr paused and then answered “yes”. Brown then asked how he pleaded to which Karr replied “not guilty.”
Karr is being defended by Criminal Attorney Keith T. Lauerman whom Karr was appointed to and is reported to be one of the better Defense Attorneys in Austin. Karr will make another court appearance on February 25th with the tentative jury trial set for the March 28th date pending completion of DNA evidence.
Karr has maintained his innocence through a series of communications through an anonymous “old friend” that reached out to The E’ville Eye. “I have spoken to Joe and he said he did not do this. He believes that the truth will come out.”
Feature Image: Joseph Frederick Karr’s mug shot after he was arrested on November 1st, 2014 showed self-inflicted wounds to his neck.