Joseph Karr convicted, sentenced to life in prison for 2014 murder of Oakland resident Kelly Turner

1 min read

Friends and relatives of Kelly Turner were provided a bit of closure on Monday as Joseph Karr was sentenced to life in prison for her 2014 murder. Karr, an Emeryville-based metalwork artisan, was found guilty last week of fatally stabbing Turner to death in what prosecutors framed as “a fit of rage”. Turner worked as a Southwest flight attendant based out of Oakland International since 2001.

Karr took the stand and reportedly tried to argue that Turner’s killing was an act of self-defense and that he “did what he had to do”. Turner was reportedly stabbed 37 times. Karr was convicted after less than an hour of deliberations at the 147th Travis County District Court. The 55-year-old Karr could be eligible for parole in 30 years.

“Kelly was a beautiful, vivacious, lover of life and adventurous soul.” noted one anonymous commenter. “Having majored in Psychology, her only fault was wanting to see and believe the best in people, and she had unyielding empathy. Joe wasn’t the first wounded bird she dated, but she was clearly in over her head with him and ignored the red flags and lost her life as a result.”

The drama that unfolded in the comment thread of this news site is unprecedented (131 comments and counting) and could serve as fodder for an episode of ABC’s Nightline. Friends, former coworkers, relatives and ex-girlfriends all weighed in on Karr’s character with many noting sociopathic behavior consistent with the alleged crime.

One curious detail about the story was an anonymous commenter that noted a connection with Karr and an unsolved 2008 murder in Denver. “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.” During the trial, a courtroom observer noted that Karr was also “being investigated for the Denver murder of someone he shared an art space with.” (Did The E’ville Eye just help solve a cold case?).

Man sentenced to life in prison for killing girlfriend


The Southwest Austin home where Karr killed Turner (Chris Sadeghi/KXAN)

A California man will spend the rest of his life in prison for stabbing and killing his Austin girlfriend in 2014.


Last week, a jury found Joseph Karr, 55, guilty of killing 43-year-old Kelly Turner.

Read More on KXAN.com →

Joseph Karr sentenced to life in prison for stabbing of Kelly Turner

By Alejandro Martínez-Cabrera
A California man who was found guilty last week of stabbing and killing his girlfriend in Southwest Austin has been sentenced to life in prison.

Prosecutors said Joseph Frederic Karr, 55, stabbed 43-year-old Kelly Turner at her best friend’s house on Nov. 1, 2014. A witness said he woke up in the middle of the night when he heard Turner screaming and later found Karr pacing back and forth with blood on his shirt, mumbling while holding a knife.

Read more on Statesman.com →

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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 cannot express how relieved I am that he will be locked up for life. After dating him, I lived in fear of ever seeing him again. My heart goes out to Kelly and her family. May his karma be swift.

      • Holy shit! I worked with him in Boulder and Denver. I TOLD everyone he was CRAZY. Last I saw him was about 2005. He was mumbling to himself in a bar. I saw him on the periphery a few times as I am a Blacksmith. I’m sorry for your loss.

  2. According to online inmate search, it looks like Karr was moved from high security prison in Beeville to a low security county jail in the Austin area, where many of Kelly’s friends live. Hopefully that move was temporary

  3. According to my research, he’s now back in the William G. McConnell Unit near Beeville, in southern Texas. You can search for him yourself.



    I think part of what makes Joe Karr’s case so interesting is that he had so many of us charmed (and even still, apparently, has several people charmed). I get it: I worked closely with him on several projects, and had some fun times with Joe, and so I can see why he has a few friends and family members who would (and still do) come to his defense.

    However, I also experienced what it was like when you tried to hold Joe responsible for something that went wrong that was in his charge—and that’s when dealing with Joe could get very ugly: downright scary.

    Apparently, some of the people Joe knew for years never saw this dark side of Joe. But many of his former partners saw it. Once I saw it, I realized that I needed to get as far away from him as possible. I can imagine that, had I not hired him for a job that he royally botched and had I not insisted that he repair the damage to my property that he caused, I would keep my image of him as a “nice guy” who is “incapable of murdering anyone.” But when he threatened me, it was time to drop it, pack up, and move on. I guess I was starting to get onto his game.

    I guess I keep returning to his case because I am genuinely terrified by Joe and the thought what he might do to my family (and others) if he ever got out of his Texas prison.

    Rob, have you heard any word on whether the Denver murder was ever conclusively linked to Joe?

  4. His family are all lunatics, run don’t walk away from ALL of them , especially his sister Jeannie , she also has a few aliases???

  5. I was friends with Joe. I used to hang out with him at his blacksmith studio and at Burning Man. He had a Neal Cassady vibe. Never saw this coming. Terrible!

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