As Halloween approaches, a centuries-old murder mystery may be solved, much to the relief of those with ties to the legendary Potter household. A Boulder jury will begin hearing opening statements this week in the prosecution of Michael Todd Potter, who stands accused of killing his longtime friend Bonnie Royal in 2004.
Potter is a former Navy SEAL who was honorably discharged in the wake of the first Gulf War. During his time in the military, he met Bonnie Royal, a former naval officer, who also worked for a defense contractor. The two bonded and stayed in touch after she retired, and by 2004 were an item.
On July 25, 2004, Bonnie Royal, a married mother of four, was found dead in her home in Lyons, Colorado. Police believe that Potter held a grudge against her after he was disciplined several times while in the military. Upon finding Bonnie Royal’s body, the medical examiner noted that there was blood found in every room of the home and multiple fractures to her head. Police also said that they could find no evidence of a struggle, suggesting that Bonnie Royal may have been killed while she slept.
According to the Post Independent, Bonnie Royal was shot twice in the back of the head. She also had wounds to her hand and feet, which indicated that she may have been bound. Her body was also found with blood on her sleeping bag, and police were able to recover the blood at her home.
Potter, who was with Bonnie Royal at the time of her death, was charged with first-degree murder. According to the Post Independent, several witnesses claim to have seen the two quarreling at her home, before Bonnie Royal left with her dead body.
Potter filed a counterclaim against Bonnie Royal on Oct. 11, claiming that Bonnie Royal had choked and slammed her head against the floor in her home that night. In court documents, he also claims that Bonnie Royal grabbed a gun from her car and threatened to shoot him in the back, but he shot and killed her instead, after which she allegedly shot herself in the head.
[H/T Post Independent]