The house on Honeycomb Way in Duluth where it’s believed Ed Kramer will be serving his 34-month sentence on house arrest. (Staff Photo: Tyler Estep)
Ed Kramer is not in the Gwinnett County jail today, or in any state prison. He’s not in the hospital.
Thirteen years after his original arrest and less than nine hours after entering a guilty plea to three counts of child molestation, it’s believed that the co-founder of sci-fi convention Dragon Con was headed for Duluth. He’ll serve his 34-month sentence under house arrest — and just half a mile from an elementary school.
Nancy Collins, a horror writer and former friend of Kramer’s, said it all may be asking for trouble.
“He can’t stay away from children. He thinks he’s entitled,” Collins said Tuesday. “He thinks he’s smarter than everybody else in the room, even when he’s not the only person in it. And basically he’s just evil. He’s compulsive. He can’t not do it.”
On Monday, the day when jury selection should’ve begun for his long-delayed trial, 52-year-old Kramer instead agreed to a plea deal. Judge Karen Beyers agreed to the recommended sentence of 20 years to serve five, and with 26 months credited for previous time served, Kramer was left with 34 months.
Thanks in large part to a number of alleged medical issues, District Attorney Danny Porter agreed to let that be served under house arrest. The remaining 15 years of probation will be “intensive,” Porter said.
Gwinnett County jail records showed Kramer was released at about 8:30 p.m. Monday. It has not been confirmed, but it’s believed he will spend his sentence in a gray stucco home on Duluth’s Honeycomb Way, which tax records show he purchased in 1996.
The residence is off Old Norcross Road near Steve Reynolds Boulevard, about half a mile from Chesney Elementary School and less than two miles from Shorty Howell Park. It is the only property Kramer owns in Gwinnett County, where his plea mandates that he live.
It was dark Tuesday afternoon.
The state laws mandating where sex offenders can and cannot live have changed many times and are ripe with gray area, but Kramer likely does not fall under current restrictions because his crimes occurred prior to 2003.
Porter cited saving taxpayers as part of the incentive for reaching a deal without traditional incarceration, estimating that Kramer had created somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000 in costs since arriving at the Gwinnett County jail on Jan. 19. Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Dep. Shannon Volkodav said that, during the 10.5-month span, Kramer made a total of 505 filings — 228 requests, 114 “pre-grievances,” 75 grievances, 22 open records requests, etc.
Even including weekends, that amounts to about three filings every two days. Long-time Sheriff Butch Conway once called Kramer “the highest maintenance inmate” he could remember.
All that said, Kramer is still considered a danger.
“I expect a miraculous recovery,” Porter said, referencing Kramer’s medical issues, which he believes are greatly exaggerated. “So yes, I think he’s still a threat.”
Under the agreement reached Monday, Kramer is prohibited from leaving his home except for specifically approved events like grocery shopping, religious services and medical appointments. He’s not permitted to leave the county without supervision and approval of the court, and is banned from coming into contact with anyone 16 years old or younger.
Kramer, who will be under 24-hour, real-time GPS monitoring, is required to register as a sex offender within 72 hours of his release. He’d yet to do so as of Tuesday afternoon, Volkodav said.
Collins, who led the anti-Kramer charge during much of his prosecution, said she later realized that the sci-fi celebrity only befriended her because of a 7-year-old stepson and two nephews of similar age. She called his sentence “rich man’s justice” and, like Porter, said it might not be long before he acted again.
“Hopefully they will be able to watch him and keep him under a far heavier thumb than they could before,” Collins said. ” … He’ll eventually end up in prison for the rest of his life.”
Kramer was originally arrested in 2000 after two young half-brothers — whose mother Kramer was dating — came forward claiming he had touched them inappropriately. A third victim came forward three years later.
After an unprecedented number of delays, the case against Kramer was in a holding pattern until 2011, when he was allegedly found in a Connecticut hotel room with an unsupervised 14-year-old boy.
A trial was finally scheduled to begin this week before Kramer’s plea, discussed between attorneys over the Thanksgiving weekend, was agreed upon. In the plea, Kramer was also ordered to pay each victim $100,000 restitution.