Michael Burke and Samantha Perry are a couple who are from Lowell Massachusetts who have been charged in the missing person case of John Wayne Potter who was found dead in a freezer with his hands and feet bound with duct tape. According to police reports John Wayne Potter went missing and a week later his body was discovered in a basement freezer of the home he shared with Michael Burke and Samantha Perry. Michael Burke and Samantha Perry have been charged with kidnapping with other charges pending. Michael Burke and Samantha Perry are saying a third person actually killed John Wayne Potter
Michael Burke and Samantha Perry More News
A man and woman from Massachusetts accused of restraining and holding a man against his will after he was found dead inside their Lowell home appeared in court Monday.
Michael Burke and Samantha Perry, both 38 years old, were arraigned on kidnapping charges after a 37-year-old Lowell man was found dead during a well-being check at the pair’s residence on Coburn Street on Friday
Burke and Perry pleaded not guilty and were held pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for Dec. 14.
Although court paperwork does not identify the victim, it said the man — who struggled with opioid addiction — was reported missing by family because he had not been seen since before Thanksgiving and did not show up for dinner on the holiday.
The Middlesex District Attorney’s office said evidence found in the home indicated the man had been restrained inside the residence.
According to court documents, Perry and Burke — who are in a relationship — told investigators that on Nov. 23, they attacked the victim — with whom they lived — before binding him to a chair and duct-taping his mouth.
“(Perry and Burke) forced (the victim) into a wooden chair and then bound him, binding his arms, body and mouth with wire, a green rope, an orange tie down strap and gray duct tape,” a court document stated.
Perry and Burke told police a third person used the rope to strangle the victim, according to court documents.
“(The other person) attacked the bound (victim), wrapped the green rope around (his) neck and strangled him until he was apparently deceased,” Perry told investigators, according to court documents.
Perry and Burke then moved the victim’s body into a freezer in the basement, where it was found by police.
Perry and Burke told police they were forced to partake in the criminal activity by the third person, who was pointing a handgun at them, according to court documents.
“It’s the very beginning of what looks like a very complex situation that arose here in Lowell,” Stanley Norkunas, Burke’s defense attorney, told reporters outside the courthouse. “I don’t know much more than all of you would know at this point in time. We’re collecting a number of facts on that.”
Investigators believe the death is an isolated incident.
The Chief Medical Examiner will positively identify the man and determine the cause and manner of his death.
On Thursday, the Lowell Police Department issued a missing person alert for 36-year-old John Wayne Potter. Police have not said if this missing person case is connected to the body found in the Coburn Street home on Friday.