Prosecutors: Lotz murdered his wife as part of a 'tantrum' over a coffee pot

  • Larry Lotz

    Larry Lotz

Updated 8/21/2019 4:38 PM

Larry Lotz murdered his wife as part of a "tantrum" over a coffee pot, prosecutors argued during closing arguments Wednesday, while defense attorneys said the 2016 killing was brought on by a dissociative episode.

Lotz, a 69-year-old Barrington man, is charged with murder in his wife Karen Lotz's shooting death in January of 2016.


Lake County Judge Daniel Shanes said he will rule on the case Wednesday, Aug. 28. Lotz opted for a bench trial and chose not to take the stand.

His attorney, Richard Houser, argued Wednesday, as he has throughout, that Lotz qualifies for the insanity defense because he was experiencing a dissociative episode, in part triggered by post-traumatic stress disorder, when he fired four shots at his wife.

The couple began arguing after Karen noticed that a coffee pot had been left on for hours and confronted her husband about it. Lotz went to the pot, took it behind the house and smashed it on the ground before retreating to a second-floor room in the couple's garage which he called his "man cave."

Prosecutor Scott Hoffert said when Lotz heard his wife coming up the stairs into the room he "emptied a revolver into her."

Hoffert said Larry Lotz had to pull the hammer back on his gun between each shot and still was able to get off four shots before she hit the ground. Karen Lotz was struck in the head, chest and arm. One of the bullets in the gun misfired.

"It is remarkable accuracy under the conditions," Hoffert argued.

In his closing arguments, Houser described the gunshot wounds on Karen's body as being far apart. Expert witnesses called by Houser have testified that the defendant, a Vietnam War veteran, meets the criteria for an insanity defense.

"It is clear he was not aiming," Houser said. "This a marksman."

Lotz is free on $3 million bail but has been on electronic monitoring since May 2016.

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