A criminal complaint in the murders of beloved University of Wisconsin doctor Beth Potter and her husband Robin Carre paints a gruesome narrative of an execution-style double homicide that authorities believe was carried out by their daughter’s boyfriend after the couple kicked him and the daughter out of the house for refusing to follow COVID-19 social distancing guidelines.
The complaint doesn’t explicitly say that the social distancing situation was the motive for the murder, and it also alleges that a witness overheard the daughter, Miriam Potter Carre, telling her boyfriend, Khari Sanford, that her parents were “rich” and had lots of money. However, the complaint does provide a timeline of the investigation, and it details the evidence and growing frustration that Potter, a respected physician, had communicated to others, including over what she allegedly felt was the too-blasé attitude of her daughter and Sanford toward coronavirus.
Sanford, 18, and Ali’jah Larrue, also 18, were both charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide as party to a crime. Both of the accused and Potter Carre attended Madison West High School. Potter Carre has not faced any charges in connection with the case.
The UW-Madison police chief previously called the victims “remarkable individuals who positively impacted the lives of so many.” Robin Carre was a fixture in the Madison, Wisconsin, soccer community. His wife was highly regarded for her compassion. You can read more about the lives of Carre and Potter here. Read more background on Sanford here.
“Words cannot express our grief,” said William Schwab, MD, professor and interim chair, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, in an earlier statement. “In addition to being a wonderful family physician and highly respected teacher, Beth was a dedicated leader at the Wingra clinic and in our health system. She was wise, warm, and always supportive. There are so many in our department whose lives have been touched by Beth; her loss will weigh heavily within us.” The couple was found near the University of Wisconsin Arboretum. Potter’s LinkedIn page says she was medical director of Employee Health & Wellness for UW Health since April 2016. Carre was also an independent educational consultant.
Be forewarned that the details in the criminal complaint are very disturbing.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Criminal Complaint Details Cell Phone Evidence & an Alleged Confession
The criminal complaint reports that two separate joggers called police and told them there were “two human bodies lying just off the shoulder of the roadway and were covered in blood.”
The female was “showing some signs of life” and was taken to the hospital. She was wearing pajamas and socks but no shoes. The temperature was 30 degrees.
A detective responded and found Carre lying facedown “with an obvious wound to his head,” wearing only underwear. There were several spent .357 SIG shell casings in the area “around the male victim and where the female victim had been located.” There was blood spatter and pooling “indicating a likelihood that the victims had been shot at that location.”
Authorities found a woman nearby who had heard two gunshots, a pause for five seconds and then four to five more gunshots coming from the direction of the Arboretum between 11:02 p.m. and 11:12 p.m. on March 30, 2020.
Carre died of a gunshot “into the left side of the head near the ear” that appeared to be fired from close range. Potter died of gunshot wounds to the back of the head and to the upper arm, the complaint says.
A detective spoke to a friend of Potter’s who advised that on March 30 they took a walk together and talked about Potter’s daughter “and her boyfriend Khari Sanford.”
Potter stated that “her and her husband (Robin Carre) had just moved them out of their house and into an AirBNB.” The reason? “They were not following Beth Potter’s and Robin Carre’s social distancing rules due to concerns on the Coronavirus.”
Instead, Potter’s daughter and her boyfriend were “going off on their own and not staying in the house.” Her daughter said things as they were moving out such as “you don’t care about me” and “you don’t talk to me,” Potter told her friend according to the complaint, adding Sanford was “quieter during the move.”
Potter told her friend that her daughter and Sanford “literally sat in her bedroom all the time and ordered food and didn’t really communicate with Beth Potter.” The friend “thought more bad stuff was going on but Beth Potter didn’t tell her” and Potter seemed frustrated, the complaint alleges.
The detective spoke with Potter’s supervisor at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. According to her supervisor, Potter had previously said her daughter and Sanford weren’t respectful to her.
The supervisor said that Potter’s medication put her at greater risk of infection and “she had a need for social distancing and that was why they moved (the daughter) and Khari to an Airbnb rather than letting them continue to reside in the family home.” She had expressed “bad feelings about Khari Sanford” and had been “acting stressed and not like herself,” the complaint alleged.
On March 31, detectives interviewed Potter Carre. According to the criminal complaint, Potter Carre said her adoptive parents had rented her an Airbnb unit in Madison for two and a half weeks while she looked for a permanent apartment. She told the detective “her parents did this because she did not want to self-quarantine due to the coronavirus outbreak.”
She reported her “father had been self quarantining himself for the past several weeks” and her mother was a doctor who worked at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics assisting with the coronavirus outbreak.
She said she and Sanford, her boyfriend, were living at her current temporary residence, and “he had also been staying at her parents’ residence for two weeks prior to her moving out.” She said “that she loved her boyfriend, and she was extremely loyal to him.”
She said her parents had allowed her to use their Volkswagen minivan for two weeks since she moved out of the home. She said she was with Sanford the entire night of March 30 through the morning of March 31 and neither of them had left the Airbnb after 10:15 p.m.
She said they watched the movie Hangover 2 before going to sleep together in the Airbnb.
However, authorities reviewed City of Madison traffic cameras and noted that in the evening on March 30 and early morning hours of March 31, a vehicle matching the description of the victims’ vehicle had been observed numerous times in the area of the victims’ residence and other areas.
The van had a unique combination of five bumper stickers on the rear hatch.
Authorities also did a forensic search of Potter Carre’s cellular telephone, and the data “contradicted Miriam’s statement that she was with Khari Sanford and in possession of the white van for the entire evening of March 30,” the complaint says.
Messages described in the complaint included:
A missed call from Miriam to contact Khari Sanford at 9:48 p.m.
A text to Sanford at 11:02 p.m.: “At least bring back the car and have someone get you here. I don’t feel safe here.”
At 11:13 p.m., a text to Sanford: “Why would you put me in this position.”
11:19 p.m., text to another person, “I hear him I think tho” and other comments.
11:22 p.m., a text to the other person, “His friend got into a situation” and at 11:26 p.m., “I wanna cry rn but I’m also in a apartment w them and it’s literally 2 and a half rooms so that is fun.”
On April 4, authorities interviewed a friend of Potter Carre and Sanford who was a classmate at Madison West High School. He said he overheard a discussion between Potter Carre and Sanford in a ceramics class at West shortly before school was canceled in March 2020, during which “Miriam discussed with Khari the idea of how they could get money.”
He reported hearing Potter Carre tell Sanford that her parents were rich and had “bands” of money, which he took to mean thousands of dollars in cash, the complaint says.
A search of Potter Carre’s cell phone revealed a photo on March 8 showing Sanford pointing what the authorities believe to be a Glock handgun.
The second suspect, Alijah Larrue, went by the name Huncho. The West student said Sanford told him Huncho was with him the night of March 30.
Authorities obtained Larrue’s phone and extracted GPS data from it. The phone data tracked multiple movements, including multiple points in the area of the Potter/Carre home on Rowley Avenue and multiple drive-bys at the residence, according to the complaint.
At 10:57 p.m., Larrue’s phone GPS plots near the intersection of North Wingra Drive and Vilas Park Drive near the entrance to the Arboretum, says the complaint, adding that police also obtained surveillance video from a church and spotted a white van consistent with the van registered to Carre traveling past the Potter/Carre residence multiple times that evening.
On April 4, a citizen witness told authorities that on March 31, Sanford stopped by his house and seemed somewhat “excited and frantic.”
He was pacing around the room and sweating and made a call to Larrue and said to Larrue that he “had heard on the social media that one of the victims in the Arboretum shooting was in the hospital and possibly alive,” the complaint alleges.
According to the complaint, the witness heard Sanford say, “I swear I hit them how did they survive” and was “excessively sweating.” He “made statements on the phone indicating he was scared that a victim could have survived that would implicate him in the homicide,” says the complaint.
He then got off the phone and told the witness he had shot the people in the Arboretum, shooting them in the “back of the head,” and Larrue was with him during the shooting, according to the criminal complaint.
At that time, it was not publicly known that the victims were shot in the head.
Another citizen witness who lives next to the Airbnb where Potter Carre and Sanford were staying stated that video may show the two suspects returning to the Airbnb after the murder. The van entered the neighborhood and the individuals threw items into the woods, the complaint says. It adds that authorities searched the woods near the Airbnb and found a crumpled up piece of mail addressed to Potter and a cell phone that appears to have been purposefully broken.”
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