In any crisis, a strange array of crimes emerge that are shaped by the crisis. We have already discussed a variety of pandemic crimes from assaults over social distancing rules to coughing on vegetables to attempts to surpass purchasing rules. There have also been murder-suicides with people who feared that they had the virus. With business burglaries up 75 percent in New York, some crimes are merely opportunistic and predictable while others add a level of depravity that is especially shocking. Wisconsin now has a particularly sad and bizarre murder to add to this list. A doctor and her husband were apparently dragged from their home and executed in March. One of the two suspects is the boyfriend of their daughter. Dr. Beth Potter, 52, and husband Robin Carre, 57, had paid for their daughter, Miriam (“Mimi’) Carre, and her reported boyfriend to Khari Sanford, 18, (left) to live in a separate apartment to protect against the spread of coronavirus (due to an underlying health condition). Potter was a professor at the University of Wisconsin and her death has shocked the academic community as well as the community at large. Sanford and his friend, Ali’jah Larrue, 18, (right) are now charged in the murder and police say that the daughter’s account stands contradicted on Sanford’s whereabouts at the time of the crime. ABC News has reported that bail is set at $1 million.
One report says that the couple moved the daughter and Sanford to an apartment because they refused to do social distancing despite the risk to the older couple.
The two victims were found in a ditch. The motive appears to be a burglary but they were then kidnapped and taken to the University of Wisconsin Arboretum, near the Madison campus. Each was shot in the back of the head. Potter was wearing pajamas and socks while Carre was wearing only underwear.
Police have a witness in a high school friend of Sanford who said that he came to his house and called Larrue to say that he heard one of them survived and might implicate them. In reality, Potter died at the hospital. The witness said Sanford exclaimed “I swear I hit them, how did they survive.” He also alleged told the witness that he shot them both in the back of the head.
What is unclear is the role of the daughter. Police say that she told them that Sanford was with her the night of murder but, according to the State Journal, investigators say that her story was contradicted by text messages. Police are also looking at GPS and phone data. Police stated that Mimi remained extremely loyal to Sanford in their interviews.
Sanford has an arrest history. He previously lived with foster parents but was charged with felony auto theft last year Middleton near Madison. According to the criminal complaint, his foster parents went to Africa and disabled the home’s security camera and stole their car. He was later found sleeping in the car. He was allowed to enter the deferred prosecution program but later posted a picture on Facebook brandishing a gun.
Some of Sanford’s social postings could raise legal issues. In one posting, he wrote “we gon change this world, cause it’s time to let our diversity and youth shine over all oppressive systems and rebuild our democracy.” In yet another post, he wrote “Used to be a wild child I had to calm down…came from nothin.” Those postings are likely to cause a pre-trial fight over admissibility, if there is a trial as opposed to a plea. The first one is clearly immaterial to a trial in my view while the second one may be too prejudicial to pass pre-trial review.
Surveillance video showed a minivan similar to one owned by Carre with confirming GPS movements. That makes for a pretty devastating case. The question over the daughter’s possible culpability remains. If the police are correct, Mimi Carre could be charged as a co-conspirator or an accessory after the fact. It is also a crime to knowingly make false statements to police investigators or committing acts which impede a criminal investigation.
Potter worked at the Wingra Family Medical Center, run by the UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and Access Community Health Centers. She also was medical director of UW Health’s Employee Health Services. Carre was a consultant who was also the head of a Madison youth soccer club. They have three children in their teens and twenties. They were pillars of their community and both worked diligently on the improvement of youth health and wellbeing.