Dr. Beth Potter, a University of Wisconsin physician and associate professor, was so worried about the coronavirus surging across the United States last month she decided to move her daughter and her boyfriend into a rental house to properly quarantine.
Several days later, prosecutors believe the 18-year-old boyfriend, Khari Sanford, fatally shot Potter and her husband execution-style, before leaving them for dead in a ditch, in a botched robbery committed after he found out the couple were wealthy, according to a criminal complaint obtained by The Daily Beast.
Sanford and his alleged 18-year-old accomplice, Ali’jah Larrue, were charged last week with several crimes, including first-degree intentional homicide, for the March 31 deaths of the 52-year-old doctor and her husband, Robin Carre, 57. Authorities allege Sanford shot the pair in the back of the head after an apparent robbery attempt.
“This was a brutal execution,” Dane County Assistant District Attorney William Brown said in a Tuesday bail hearing, according to the Wisconsin State Journal of Madison.
According to the criminal complaint, Potter told a friend on March 30 that she’d moved her daughter, Miriam Potter Carre, and her boyfriend “out of their house and into an Airbnb” after the pair refused to follow “social distancing rules due to the concerns of the coronavirus.”
Potter, an associate professor at the UW’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, had an underlying health condition and was on medication that put her at greater risk of contracting the virus. She needed to be diligent about social distancing, her supervisor at the UW Hospital and Clinics told authorities.
According to the complaint, the supervisor said that Potter felt her daughter’s boyfriend was “not respectful to her” and had previously “expressed to her bad feelings about Khari Sanford.” In an interview with police, Potter Carre said that Sanford had been staying at her parents’ home for two weeks before they moved out because they didn’t want to “self-quarantine.”
Potter allegedly told her friend that her daughter lashed out as she was moving out, stating: “You don’t care about me” and “you don’t talk to me.”
The doctor and her husband were discovered “lying in a ditch” at 6:38 a.m. the next morning by a jogger who was passing the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, a 1,200-acre ecological research site with wetlands, forests, and prairies. Carre, who was only wearing underwear, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Potter, who was wearing pajamas and socks, died shortly after arriving at a local hospital, police said.
The Dane County Medical Examiner’s Office said the husband and wife died from “homicidal violence” and gunshot wounds to the head. Both victims appeared to have received the wounds “from close range.”
University of Wisconsin investigators also found several spent shell casings around the crime scene and “blood spatter and pooling indicating a likelihood that the victims had been shot at that location.”
Later that day, Sanford went to a friend’s house and “appeared somewhat excited and frantic,” the friend later told authorities, according to the complaint.
The friend said that Sanford was “pacing around the room and sweating” before he made a phone call to Larrue that was loud enough to be overheard. In the phone call, Sanford allegedly told Larrue that he had heard on social media that one of the victims in the arboretum shooting was in hospital and possibly alive.
“I swear I hit them, how did they survive,” Sanford allegedly said, before disclosing that he had shot the people at the arboretum “in the back of the head” with Larrue.
The teenage friend also told investigators that he overheard Sanford and his girlfriend last month discuss Potter and Carre’s wealth. Potter Carre stated that “her parents had ‘bands’ of money and that they were rich,” the classmate said, according to the complaint, adding that “bands” likely meant thousands of dollars in cash.
The complaint states that investigators also used surveillance video, cell phone activity, and GPS tracking from Larrue’s phone to track the movements of the two teenagers on the night of the grisly slayings. Authorities say surveillance video shows the white Volkswagen minivan that the couple lent Potter Carre traveling to campus around the same that Larrue’s cell phone GPS showed him in the area.
But when authorities interviewed Potter Carre, she insisted Sanford was with her the night of the murders and that neither of them had left their Airbnb. Text messages recovered from her phone, however, suggest that Sanford was not only missing for several hours that night but was not answering his girlfriend’s text messages or phone calls.
“Why would you put me in this position,” Potter Carre allegedly sent to Sanford at 11:02 p.m., the exact time Larrue’s phone pinged from the entrance to the university’s arboretum. The day her parents were found murdered, Potter Carre stressed to authorities “that she loved her boyfriend, and she was extremely loyal to him.”
Sanford’s attorney, assistant public defender Diana Van Rybroek, did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.