When Paul Potter came to Utah looking for a place to stay, longtimefriend Linda J. McBride opened her home to him. It was an act of compassion.
Only Potter was looking for more than a place to sleep. Unknown to Linda McBride, Potter was obsessed with her; he was looking for a romantic relationship McBride was unwilling to engage in.After she rejected his repeated advances, Potter stabbed the mother of three to death.
"I just wanted to be with Linda," Potter, 49, quietly told the Board of Pardons Wednesday.
Potter, who is serving a 1-to-15 year sentence for manslaughter, made no plea for leniency, and the Board of Pardons offered none. "Your intense jealousy, the fact you couldn't let go, is a concern to the board," said board member Gary Webster.
The board ordered Potter, who has already served one year in prison, to serve four more years in prison before receiving another parole hearing. The board also suggested Potter "get some mental health therapy."
Webster and the other board members were particularly disturbed by a "senseless" killing perpetrated against someone who had extended only kindness and compassion to the man who killed her.
Potter had known the McBride family in Michigan for 10 years and had often stayed with the family on weekends. When Linda's marriage broke up, she moved to Utah with her children.
Potter emptied a savings account, cashed in his insurance policy and trailed her to Utah. When he showed up on her doorstep in the fall of 1986 looking for a place to live, she agreed.
But when it became clear he wanted more than she was willing to give, she ordered him out of the apartment. When she suspected he may have abused one of her daughters, she even obtained a court restraining order against Potter.
In February 1987, Potter returned to the residence one more time, pleading with McBride to let him move back in. Linda McBride, 36, refused once again. Potter stabbed her to death.
"I just wish I could bring her back," he said.