Man Gets Life in Missing Atheist Case

ByABC News
August 17, 2000, 7:39 PM

A U S T I N, Texas, Aug. 17 -- Lifelong criminal Gary Paul Karr was sentenced tolife in prison today for extorting money from missing atheistMadalyn Murray OHair and her family, and his role in whatprosecutors called an elaborate robbery and murder scheme.

Karr, 52, was convicted in June of extorting more than $600,000from OHair, her son Jon Garth Murray and granddaughter RobinMurray OHair. The trio have been missing since 1995.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks sentenced Karr to a mandatorylife sentence under the federal three strikes law, whichpenalizes repeat violent offenders.

It appears Mr. Karr has struck out, said federal prosecutorGerald Carruth after sentencing.

Bodies Still MissingKarrs criminal history dates to 1966 with convictions for armedrobbery, aggravated kidnapping and indecent liberties with a child.He had been released from a 20-year prison term just a few monthsbefore the OHair family disappeared.

Investigators say the missing atheist family was kidnapped,killed and dismembered. Their remains have never been found.

Although investigators have identified other suspects and saythe case remains open, Karr was the only person charged.

Sparks gave Karr another life sentence for traveling acrossstate lines to commit a violent act. Karr also received two 10-yearterms for committing a criminal act to gain financially andinterstate transportation of stolen property. All of the sentenceswill be served concurrently.

Sparks ordered Karr to pay $543,665 to the missing atheistsestates and United Secularist of America, one of OHairs atheistgroups, as restitution.

The Roots of AppealKarrs attorneys Tom Mills and Christie Williams of Dallas, saidthey will appeal Karrs conviction and sentence. Karr did notaddress the court, letting Mills speak for him instead.

He has expressed his opinion that the prosecutors viewed hisrole incorrectly, Mills told Sparks.