Judge bans video and audio recording of upcoming homicide trial

Dane County Judge Ellen Berz
Dane County Judge Ellen Berz speaks during a court hearing April 7, 2022.

MADISON, Wis. — A Dane County judge has ruled that no audio or video recording will be allowed in the upcoming trial for a man accused of killing his girlfriend’s mother and father.

In an order signed by Judge Ellen Berz this week, the media will only be allowed to take still photographs during the trial of Khari Sanford, which is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Monday, May 16. Television media will be allowed to watch and listen to the trial in-person, but are banned from recording or showing any video or audio from any part of the trial.

Still photographs will only be allowed to be taken of uniformed law enforcement officers, the defendant, the attorneys, and court personnel, but photographing witnesses or exhibits presented in the case will also not be allowed. Any organization that violates the order would be held in contempt of court.

The order comes after News 3 Now and other Madison-based television stations worked together to challenge a previous order from Judge Berz that banned live-streaming of an April 7 hearing related to the Sanford trial and limited outlets to showing only 10 seconds of video from the proceedings, while also ordering news organizations to destroy any other recorded footage within 24 hours of the hearing.

The media coalition, which was also backed by the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association and the Radio Television Digital News Association, had made a motion asking for a hearing on the topic, but that motion was denied in the same order banning recording equipment from the courtroom.

Sanford is accused of two counts of first-degree intentional homicide as a party to the crime in the March 2020 deaths of Dr. Beth Potter and her husband, Robin Carre. Prosecutors allege Sanford and another man, Ali’jah Larrue, kidnapped the couple from their home before driving them to the Arboretum and shooting them. Their bodies were found by a jogger on the morning of March 31, 2020.