Runners describe finding victims as Sanford trial begins

The trial of the man accused of killing a University of Wisconsin professor and her husband began Tuesday morning.
Published: May. 17, 2022 at 6:24 PM CDT|Updated: May. 18, 2022 at 10:34 AM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - The trial of the man accused of killing a University of Wisconsin professor and her husband began Tuesday morning with prosecutors describing the moments when Dr. Beth Potter and Robin Carre were found.

Following jury selection on Monday, the lawyers for the state and for the defendant, Khari Sanford, had the chance to make their opening arguments. Sanford has been charged with two counts each of first-degree intentional homicide and felony murder- kidnapping.

Khari Sanford Day 1 trial
Khari Sanford Day 1 trial(NBC15/Pool camera)

In their opening statements, prosecutors recounted the March 2020 day when joggers discovered Potter and Carre in the UW Arboretum. Carre, 57, was pronounced dead at the scene, while Potter, 52, was rushed to a local hospital where she later died.

For testimonies, prosecutors brought in witnesses including the victims’ coworkers, law enforcement officials, residents who live near the Arboretum and two joggers who described finding Potter and Carre alongside the trail.

After a witness described hearing gunfire around 11 p.m., one of the runners took the stand and described being just a few hundred yards from the Arboretum entrance around 6:20 a.m. on March 31 when she saw someone laying on the side of the road.

She told jurors she noticed the person did not have a shirt and kept running before it clicked what she just saw. In a shaky voice, the runner continued continued, saying she saw blood on the man, then noticed Potter who was still alive at the time. She recalled how Potter raised her arm slightly when the runner told her she was going for help.

Another runner was up next and echoed much of the previous account account, describing a similar scene, with Carre wearing only shorts and Potter in her pajamas. The runner said she carries her phone when she runs, so she was able to call 911 and guide an officer to the victims.

Beth Potter, MD, and Robin Carre, PhD
Beth Potter, MD, and Robin Carre, PhD(UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health)

The Madison Police Dept. officer who the second runner led to the crime scene, Ofc. Gregory Rossetti, testified that there was a large amount of blood covering Potter’s pajamas, her breath was faint, and her pulse fragile. He began CPR immediately and kept going until medical units arrived to take over. Rosetti told jurors by the time he arrived Carre’s body was already cold to the touch. Rosetti added that he noticed three or four shell casings nearby.

A UW Health doctor, who was working in the emergency room that day, continued court proceedings with her testimony. She said Potter was moving when she arrived at the hospital, but had been unresponsive.

In their opening argument earlier in the day, prosecutors detailed what jurors can expect to hear in the coming days. They described a troubled relationship between the couple and their daughter, Meriam. Prosecutors said Potter and Carre did not like Sanford, who was dating Meriam at the time, and the steps the victims took to help stop Meriam’s allegedly troubled behavior, including letting Sanford move in, and then getting them an AirBNB.

Prosecutors said they will also bring to the stand Alijah Larrue, the other man who was accused Carre and Potter’s killings. Prosecutors say Larrue will describe Sanford’s actions on the night before Potter and Carre were discovered, how he saw Sanford walk two people out of the victims’ house at gunpoint and how Sanford allegedly shot them at the Arboretum.

Khari Sanford Day 1 trial
Khari Sanford Day 1 trial(NBC15/Pool camera)

Court records indicate that Larrue pleaded guilty to the felony murder charges and had the two homicide charges against him dropped. While he was convicted almost exactly a year ago, Larrue has not yet been sentenced for his role in Potter and Carre’s deaths.

Finally, prosecutors listed some of the evidence jurors will see that was discovered after the shootings linking Sanford to the crimes.

Responding to the prosecutors, Sanford’s attorney argued that Sanford did not kill either Potter nor Carre and reminded them that the burden of proof is on the prosecutors. The defense said the state will not be able to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

The trial is expected to wrap up next week.

Khari Sanford Day 1 trial
Khari Sanford Day 1 trial(NBC15/Pool camera)

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