Accused killer Joseph Karr enters plea in murder of girlfriend Kelly Turner. Trial Date set for March

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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.

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. Thank you Rob for continuing to follow this story. It is something that haunts the thoughts for those of us who knew persons involved, and hopefully justice will be fulfilled for Kelly’s sake.

    • You’re very welcome. The reaction of the initial story indicates it’s an important story for the community and one we hope to provide some measure of closure on by covering.

  2. Hi Rob,
    Thanks for your updates. I worked with Karr, when he didn’t flake on his appointments. My gut: guilty.

    • Hello Anonymous: Some people are willing to exist on a shoestring belonging to someone else, your one of those people. It is better for you to have Joe, ‘out of the picture’, I know it, you know it. I also know you were around to clean out Joe. Your lack of details reveal your true nature. You really are quite common, I am confident you will remain ANONYMOUS. Teresa Karr

      • Teresa, it is obvious from your comments that you are clearly uneducated. Joe often mentioned how much he hated you… maybe you should move on with your pathetic life.

  3. Rob thanks for updates Kelly is my aunt and this craziness of events will hopefully been over with soon and justiced served. Which there’s no justice two family’s are forever changed us the Turners and also Karrs but again thx for updates.

    • You’re very welcome and I’m extremely sorry for your loss. I’m glad the end of a long journey for the Turner family is nearing and pray justice will be served.

  4. I was around Joe on a number of occasions while he was showing two teenagers I knew some smithing techniques. The comment that something was “off ” rings true. He was constantly burning bridges and coming up short on his obligations. He was somewhere between arrested development and a sociopath. He had a hard time with being challenged and a lot of affirmation. I talked with one of the teens about this several times. It’s been a life lesson for him. My guess is that he was running out of options in life and unfortunately Kelly backed him to a corner that he couldn’t bear. The whole thing is a terrible tragedy all around! Obviously much more so for some more than others.
    My heart goes out to the Turner family.

    • Strange comment about your guess that “Kelly backed him into a corner…” Victim blaming has no place in this story. Guessing what SHE did that he couldn’t bear is such a ridiculous speculation. His testimony showed that he is completely bonkers; nothing more than an aging psychopath who depended on others for basic needs and was lucky to be interesting enough to find a few people in his life to provide them. Now his food, shelter, and companionship will be provided by prison.

  5. Joe was well know in San Diego as a boy who used his fists with women when he didn’t get his way. He was a spoiled child, he had numerous shortcomings. I am not a person who does not extend grace- I told Joe I would not date him, he cold cocked me while I was walking to work. Ran up behind me and hit me in the face, knocking me out. He was also really famous for spitting in a argument. A real charmer. I am not surprised a bit that he eventually got to this place. He was/is a Sociopath at the truest definition. Small, short, undisciplined, small minded, not educated, X-hairdresser and beater of women.

    I love it when Karma comes back around- I love knowing it has… My heart goes out to the family and I am grateful having dodged a bullet.

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