Prosecutor: Barrington man killed wife after dispute over coffee maker

  • Larry Lotz, 65, of Barrington is charged with first-degree murder.

    Larry Lotz, 65, of Barrington is charged with first-degree murder. courtesy of Barrington Police Department

  • Karen Lotz died after being shot three times early Friday morning.

    Karen Lotz died after being shot three times early Friday morning.

Updated 1/15/2016 6:44 PM

Lake County prosecutors say a Barrington woman was shot to death by her husband early Friday after the two got in an argument about the coffee maker.

Circuit Judge George Strickland set bail at $3 million for Larry Lotz, 65, at a hearing Friday afternoon in Lake County circuit court. Lotz is being held in Lake County jail on a charge of first-degree murder after the death of his wife, Karen Lotz.


Stephen Scheller, chief of felony review for the Lake County state's attorney's office, said Larry Lotz in a videotaped interview with Barrington police provided his version of the chain of events and admitted shooting his wife.

"She got upset and began to nag him about leaving the coffee maker on," said Scheller, who read from police documents. "He got angry with her. He went in the kitchen and unplugged the coffee maker and went to his office above the garage."

Larry Lotz said he attempted to avoid her by retreating to the office and locking the door, prosecutors said.

Karen Lotz used a key to enter the office and Larry Lotz fired four rounds from a .45-caliber pistol, striking her three times, including once in the head, according to prosecutors.

"He called his son first," Scheller said, "saying he had shot his mom. His son said, 'Call 911.' When he called 911, he stated, in his words, quote, 'I just shot my wife. I just shot my wife. Please, send an ambulance.'"

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Barrington police arrived at the home before 1 a.m. Friday and found Karen Lotz with "serious injuries." She was taken to Advocate Good Shepard Hospital in Barrington where she later died.

Larry Lotz was also taken to the hospital because of anxiety but refused treatment, officials said.

Lotz did not have a defense attorney Friday afternoon, so Assistant Public Defender Katherine Hatch was appointed by Strickland to represent him. A preliminary hearing has been set with Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes on Feb. 8.

Karen Lotz, 59, was an admissions supervisor at Harper College in Palatine where she had worked for nearly 20 years, spokeswoman Kim Pohl said.

Sue Skora, registrar at Harper and Lotz's supervisor, said Karen Lotz began her career at Harper College as a student aide in the admissions office in the 1990s while working toward completing her GED.

She earned an associate degree from Harper while continuing to work, then earned a bachelor's degree from Northeastern Illinois University. Skora said Lotz was pursuing a master's degree in higher education administration.


She most recently served at the college as the manager of admissions processing.

On Lotz's LinkedIn profile, she listed interests in education, animal welfare and economic empowerment.

"Karen enjoyed working with students and took a personal and professional interest in her staff and her colleagues," Skora said. "She was just as passionate about helping others advance and develop as she was interested in furthering her own education."

Larry and Karen Lotz had adult twin sons, friends said.

Neighbor Stephen Freed said their street near downtown Barrington had been bustling with emergency vehicles all day. He said his family wasn't close with the Lotz family, but both had lived on the street for at least 15 years and their children went to high school around the same time.

"It's really, really tragic," Freed said. "I feel terrible for the kids, for her and even for him. It's just so sad for all of them."

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