Khari Sanford found guilty of murdering UW doctor and her husband

MADISON, Wis. – A jury found Khari Sanford guilty in the 2020 shooting death of his then-girlfriend’s parents in Madison.

UW Health’s Dr. Beth Potter and her husband, Robin Carre, were found shot and left for dead at the UW Arboretum in March 2020.

Sanford, 21, was charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide with part-at-a-crime modifiers in the deaths of Dr. Potter and Carré. Prosecutors agreed to drop use of a deadly weapon on both counts on Monday.

He showed little reaction when the jury read their verdict on Monday evening. The jurors – ten men and two women – deliberated for about three hours before reaching a verdict.

Sanford and his girlfriend – Potter and Carré’s daughter – were living in an Airbnb rented by Potter and Carré at the time of the murders after months of growing tension between the parents and the couple over issues including academics and house rules. home. The girl, who testified last week that Sanford never told her where he was going or what he would be doing on the night of the murders, is not involved in their deaths.

A sentencing date has not yet been set. Sanford faces a mandatory life sentence; Dane County Judge Ellen Berz is to decide at sentencing whether he can become eligible for parole at a later date.

Trial coverage, days 1-5

Sanford throughout the trial

Throughout the trial, Sanford appeared largely expressionless in button-down shirts and bow ties, but was occasionally seen smiling or interacting with his defense attorneys.

He chose not to testify in his own defense and defense attorneys did not call any other witnesses. Throughout the trial, his defense often asked no or very few questions of many prosecution witnesses during cross-examination.

On the final day of testimony, Judge Berz told the courtroom without the presence of the jury that he had “acted out” with violent behavior with deputies outside the courtroom. Any misconduct in court would not result in a mistrial, she said.

During the trial, the victims’ daughter testified after being granted immunity by state prosecutors, although no reason for the immunity was given. In her testimony, she talked about the use of marijuana.

She opened up about the stress between her and her parents over academics and mental health, as well as worries about her then-boyfriend Sanford. He was homeless when they started dating until his parents finally agreed to move him in, which led to increased tensions and the couple temporarily moving to an Airbnb.

Sanford’s alleged accomplice also testified in the case, telling the courtroom he didn’t know what was going to happen or where they were going when Sanford drove the couple’s parents out of their home that night of March 30 and told him to go to UW. Arboretum. There, Ali’jah Larrue testified that he saw Sanford shoot the couple in the head.

Jurors also saw cellphone and video surveillance evidence of Sanford’s whereabouts on the night of the murder and the next day, when witnesses said he tried to use the victims’ debit cards to withdraw cash at various ATMs in the Madison area.

Reaction to verdict

Outside the courtroom on Monday evening, family members of the victims shared hugs and tears following the verdict.

Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne said the verdict was fair and thanked the jurors for their service.

“I’m very proud of this community in that we have people who are willing to volunteer their time – especially in the midst of a pandemic – willing to come and sit up close and hear very difficult topics and take the time to really go through it and come up with a fair verdict,” he said.

UW-Madison Police Chief Kristen Roman said the jury returned the correct verdict in the case.

“Hopefully today’s verdict brings some closure,” she told reporters at a press conference on Monday evening. “It has been a very long and painful journey over the past two years, so I hope today’s verdict is the start of a healing process for the family.”

Homicide cases on the UW-Madison campus are not common, she added, praising officers who “sprung into action” to investigate after the bodies of Potter and Carré were found.

While Roman has worked in law enforcement for a long time in Madison, she said this case was one she would consider one of the toughest cases of her career.

Rebecca Blank, outgoing chancellor of UW-Madison also tweeted it thanks to the agents who worked on the case.

Media coverage of the case

Before the trial began, Berz banned any audio or visual recording of the proceedings except for still photographs of Sanford, Larrue and court officials. She authorized the videotaping of Monday evening’s verdict.

No trial, including the verdict, was allowed to be broadcast live.

RELATED: Judge bans video and audio recording of upcoming homicide trial

Speaking to reporters on Monday evening, Ozanne thanked local journalists for their “treatment of the victims in this case”.

“They are doing a very good job,” he said. “I believe we have had a number of cases, in particular a very recent and high profile one where the national media intervened and did not treat the victims with dignity and respect and I think that weighed in the decision of the judge (to restrict media coverage). ”

News 3 Now is part of a coalition of local media that have sought to challenge Berz’s media restrictions.

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