'She didn't make it, Larry': Video of Barrington man confessing to shooting wife showed in court

Barrington man accused of killing wife after dispute about coffee maker

  • Larry Lotz

    Larry Lotz

Updated 7/9/2019 7:24 PM

The Barrington man charged with fatally shooting his wife during an argument over a coffee maker told police in a recorded interview that he didn't know what made him angry enough to pull the trigger.

Portions of the 2½-hour video depicting Larry Lotz's Jan. 15, 2016, interview with Barrington police were shown in court Tuesday. Lotz, 69, is charged with first-degree murder and chose to have a bench trial, which is being presided over by Lake County Circuit Judge Daniel Shanes.


In the video, Lotz sat with two detectives and told them he and his wife, Karen Lotz, began arguing soon after she got home from work because he had left the coffee maker on. He retreated to a room in the garage that he called his man cave.

Lotz told the detectives he locked the door and went to his desk. When he heard his wife enter and resume yelling at him, he became so angry he pulled out a gun and attempted to shoot himself in the head, he told police.

"I cocked it, pulled the trigger, and nothing happened," Lotz told detectives in the video.

When the gun wouldn't fire, he was going to set it on his desk, Lotz told police. But as his wife continued yelling at him, he said, he pointed the gun at her and started firing.

"I don't know how you become enraged over a stupid coffee pot," Lotz told police.

After about 20 minutes of the interview had passed, Lotz asked Detective Kevin Croke if his wife was alive.

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"She didn't make it, Larry," Croke told Lotz on the video. Lotz put his head in his hands and wept.

Lotz was in the courtroom Tuesday while the video played. He mostly looked down at the table and occasionally wiped his eyes.

On the video, detectives asked Lotz several times why he shot his wife.

"That's what I can't tell you. I honestly don't know," he said. "I can't explain it. What explanation can you give for killing somebody?"

As the interview was ending, detectives asked Lotz if he had anything else important to tell them.

"Anything important to say? Well, I ruined my kid's life, I ruined my life, I ruined her family's life," Lotz said. As the detectives stood to leave, Lotz told them, "You do what you got to do."

Defense attorney Robert Hauser said several times in court Tuesday and during previous hearings that Lotz suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and he plans to use the condition as part of an insanity defense.


Later Tuesday, Hauser called Karen Lotz's older sister, Mary A. Kobinski, to testify as a character witness. Hauser asked Kobinski why she agreed to testify on behalf of the man who shot and killed her sister.

"We believe in our heart of hearts that Larry would not have done this if he was in the right frame of mind," she said.

Lotz is free on $3 million bail but has been on an electronic monitoring device since May 2016. Lotz, a Vietnam War veteran, was permitted to leave home confinement in February 2017 to be admitted into an in-house treatment facility for PTSD at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago.

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