Emeryville Artist Joseph Karr Murder pretrial scheduled for Friday, June 5th

3 mins read

The high-profile and troubling case of 53-year-old former Bohemian-Blacksmith Studios artist Joseph Frederick Karr is slowly unfolding. Karr is accused of killing his 43-year-old girlfriend Kelly Turner, a flight attendant for Southwest Airlines who operated out of Oakland International. Turner had brought Karr to Austin to meet her family.

The Joseph Karr Murder pretrial is scheduled for Friday June 5th according to the latest Travis County Criminal Court Document. This is no guarantee that this will actually occur and Karr’s attorney has indicated that these dates are “settings” to keep his case on the radar and is part of the trial process. Karr is being held on $2 million bail in a Texas Travis County jail.

The Bohemian-Blacksmith Facebook page and website that had a collection of photos of Karr with various weaponry has been removed. Karr’s haunting Twitter feed sits eerily dormant with the last post listed as October 20th, 11 days before the incident that took Kelly Turner’s life.

More details of the case emerged shortly after the news broke including an affidavit from an Austin police detective that described the scene and attested that Karr stabbed Turner to death. Turner and Karr were staying in the living room of an apartment at the 5200 block of McCarty Lane rented by Turner’s friend Michael Hammond and his girlfriend. After spending Halloween at a local bar, the two couples returned home and Hammond and his girlfriend went upstairs to bed. About an hour later, Hammond awoke to the sound of a screaming woman. He immediately called 911 and grabbed a nearby handgun.

As Hammond descended the stairs, he allegedly saw Karr pacing back and forth in the living room area and mumbling to himself. Karr reportedly had blood on his shirt and began walking up the stairs toward Hammond carrying a knife, yelling “I can’t believe I (expletive) killed her.” Hammond then pointed his gun at Karr and commanded him to stop. Karr then reportedly fled the house and the scene in Hammond’s 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser. Karr was apprehended the next day in a field in northern Hays County and arrested. Karr had self-inflicted knife wounds according to police and was taken to University Medical Center Brackenridge.

Karr has yet to reach the courtroom, but a bit of a public trial has been unfolding about his history on this website. Karr was well-connected in the community and it’s no surprise that there’s heavy interest in the outcome of his trial. Quite a Soap Opera has unfolded in the comment section of our original post (75 comments and counting) that has everything from suggesting conspiracy that would vindicate him … to presumed guilt and suggestions that violent behavior and turbulent relationships were the norm for Karr. Friends, relatives & ex-girlfriends have all weighed in with their thoughts describing him as everything from “a kind, calm, positive person” to “there was something not quite right about him, but they never expected this.”



[UPDATE: The date of Karr’s pretrial has been postponed yet again to July 1st).

Karr is being charged with “Murder Intentionally Cause Death” and theft (for stealing Hammond’s vehicle after the killing). The Murder charge is a first degree felony punishable by five years to life in prison but is not a capital/death penalty offense according to a Travis County Clerk I spoke with. Karr is being defended by Criminal Attorney Keith T. Lauerman whom Karr was appointed to. According to Lauerman, “discovery” in the case is still incomplete and he is still gathering information from the police. No plea has been issued yet but this is expected to happen later in the fall with the trial by the end of the year. The average murder case in Texas can take 1-1/2 to 2 years.


Roughly 300 friends, family members and co-workers turned out to celebrate Turner’s life at the Spider House in Austin on November 13th. A memorial fund has been set up for her family and Safe Place Austin. The organization is dedicated to ending sexual and domestic violence.

Further Reading & Resources:

Police: East Bay artist fatally stabbed Alameda woman | InsideBayArea.com
Police find murder suspect in Southwest Austin woman’s death | Statesman.com
Hundreds celebrate life of domestic violence victim | KXAN.com
Kelly’s Memorial Site with Photo Gallery →

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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. I still search everyday for more info on this. I briefly dated Joe, and so saddend for the Turner family.
    He always seemed off to me, and now all the women coming forward who were abused by him ….


    Sometimes I find myself saying- I could have been me.


  2. thank you for following this. it appears to be the only information available on the web and is greatly appreciated.

  3. Any news of a trial yet? Word of this just hit Denver where a few of us had neighboring studios with him. There was a murder (stabbing) in our ally in 2008 that he had been questioned by police for.

    • The latest docket now says 9/25. This is an interesting connection. When You say ally, do you mean at Bohemian Blacksmith? Email me directly if you can with the “Send us a message” button.

  4. Today is 1 year for the loss of a beautiful friend. Anyone who thinks Joe Karr did not do this horrific crime is out of their mind! Kelly was the sweetest soul! The only mistake she made was trusting someone evil.

  5. Rob, Thank you for following this story. I met Kelly shortly after I started working for Southwest Airlines. She was beautiful inside and out, full of life and love. By coincidence, I was in Austin on the night she was murdered, and I was able to be there again for her memorial. I hope her killer is punished and removed from society so he can’t do this again.

    • Thank You Diane,
      It’s an important story for many reasons but most importantly to provide justice for Kelly. We’re thankful of the information and comments that are being provided that are helping us better understand those involved with this tragedy.

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