Mother of Suspect in Murders of Wisc. Doc and Husband in College Arboretum: 'This is a Nightmare'

Alice Larrue can't believe her son is a suspect in the killings of Dr. Beth Potter and her husband, saying, 'She was a beautiful person'

beth potter and robin carre murder

Alice Larrue couldn’t help but grow emotional when she learned that her former physician, Dr. Beth Potter, and her husband, Robin Carre, had been found murdered on March 31.

“She was always very supportive,” Larrue, 40, tells PEOPLE. “She had good energy. She was always smiling. She was a beautiful person. I was really hurt about it.”

Larrue’s grief turned to horror when she learned her son, Ali’jah Larrue, 18, along with his friend Khari Sanford, also 18, had been named as suspects in the couple's slayings.

“This is a nightmare,” Larrue says in the new issue of PEOPLE.

On the frigid morning of March 31, joggers found the bodies of the couple in a ditch outside the in the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum.

Police believe they were shot in the back of the head at point-blank range after they were in the ditch.

Carre, 57, an educational consultant, was found in his underwear. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Potter, 52, a family medicine physician at the Wingra Family Medical Center (run by the UW-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health and Access Community Health Centers), was found in pajamas. She was still clinging to life.

She was rushed to the hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Sanford, who was dating the couple’s daughter, Miriam Potter-Carre, 18, was arrested on April 3, 2020.

Larrue was arrested two days later.

beth potter and robin carre murder suspects
Ali'jah Larrue, Khari Sanford. Dane County Sheriff's Office

Both teens are charged with two counts of first-degree intentional homicide. They have pleaded not guilty and are being held on $1 million bail in the Dane County Jail.

For more on the murders of Beth Potter and Robin Carre, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

Authorities allege that the pair sought to burglarize the couple before kidnapping them from their home and executing them in the arboretum, according to a criminal complaint obtained by PEOPLE.

During their investigation, authorities learned that in March, when school was still in session before being closed down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a witness allegedly overheard Miriam telling Sanford that her parents were "rich" and had "bands of money," according to the criminal complaint.

They discussed "the idea of how they could get money," the complaint says.

Sanford soon moved in with Miriam and her family, who were sheltering in place along with other Wisconsin residents.

But Potter grew concerned because the teens weren’t following social distancing guidelines, the complaint says.

Two weeks before the slayings, as tensions within the household were rising, Potter moved the teens into an apartment she’d found on Airbnb.

As she and Sanford were moving out, a friend of Potter's told police, the teen and Miriam had argued. “You don’t care about me,” Miriam allegedly told her mother.

Two weeks later, Potter and Carre were dead.

Alice Larrue says she believes her son was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“I know the type of kid he is,” she says. “People always say he is an old soul,” she says. “He loves his family. He loves his siblings. He is the joker of the family.”

She says she “freaked out” when she heard her son was allegedly involved in the double homicide.

“This is not his character. I know deep down my son wouldn’t do anything like that."

Larrue's lawyer, Michael Covey, tells PEOPLE, “Ali'Jah Larue did not have any kind of knowledge, in any way, shape or form, that there was going to be a shooting or a homicide. He was absolutely in the vicinity of the shooting when it occurred, but by that time he was not in control of what was going on.”

Sanford’s attorney Andrew Martinez, says, “The fact that the state charged a person with a crime or that a judge bound the case over for trial following a preliminary hearing doesn't mean that the case won't later be dismissed or that the defendant won't be acquitted at trial.

"I urge everyone to keep an open mind about the case.”

Updated by Harriet Sokmensuer
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