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Cops: Suspect in 5 deaths sorry

The Associated Press

By BETH DEFALCO

The Associated Press

MESA – A man arrested in the shooting deaths of his wife and four members of her family told detectives he was sorry, according to a court document released yesterday.

Kemp Horton, 43, who was initially identified by authorities as Kemp Crowley, was booked Tuesday on five counts of first-degree murder after the victims were found in his Mesa home.

Sheriff’s deputies said yesterday that the Crowley name is an alias, one of several. Court documents identify him as Horton.

Horton was arrested after statements he made when deputies first arrived didn’t match the evidence investigators found in the house, said Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Horton, who had a cut on his head, initially told authorities he was assaulted and that his brother-in-law, who was among the victims, was responsible for the killings, Arpaio said.

Later Tuesday, he didn’t give an account of what happened but voluntarily apologized, records show.

“Kemp was later questioned by detectives in which

he spontaneously uttered that he was sorry,” according to what de-

tectives wrote in the court papers.

The victims were identified as Horton’s wife, Tammi Meininger; her son, Austin Potter; her brother, Mark Potter; her sister, Terri Borden of Aztec, N.M.; and her mother, Joyce Levi.

Horton and Meininger were remarried six months ago, family members say. Horton, Meininger, her son and Potter lived in the home. Levi and Borden were visiting, authorities said.

Court documents and family members say Horton and his wife had a history of domestic turmoil. Records show a pattern of breakups and reconciliation dating back to the early 1990s.

The couple tried to paint each other as unfit, unstable and dangerous in a bitter custody battle for their 11-year-old daughter.

Meininger had accused Horton of taking their daughter against their custodial agreement. He was sentenced to 36 months probation for violating the custody terms.

Margaret Tinsley, a court appointed attorney for the girl, in a 1994 memo to the court, wrote: “If ever there were two parents who should not have had a child together, it is these two parents. My concerns about the custody of the child stem primarily from the inability of the parents to get along and to agree on a way to share the life of their daughter.”

Meininger alleged that Horton stalked her at home and work, records show.

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