December 6, 2023
Homicide sufferer Larry Joe Breen. Courtesy San Diego Police

A person accused of fatally stabbing a Navy sailor on the sufferer’s Level Loma residence greater than three many years in the past was tied to the crime by means of DNA proof, a prosecutor informed jurors Monday, however the defendant’s lawyer mentioned the killing was an act of self-defense.

Brian Koehl, 52, is charged within the killing of 31-year-old Larry Joe Breen, whose physique was found on Could 25, 1990.

Breen, a petty officer and cook dinner stationed aboard the USS Fox CG-33 who was slated to be then-President George Bush’s chef at Camp David, was stabbed twice within the neck and located slumped towards a fence within the yard of his Locust Avenue dwelling. The sufferer was nude, coated in blood, and positioned close to a broken-out window.

Although the case went chilly, Deputy District Lawyer Lisa Fox mentioned Koehl, who was additionally within the Navy on the time, was tied to the scene through DNA initially present in a blood stain and on a beer bottle inside the house.

The prosecutor mentioned that in 2019, “an investigative lead” led police to determine Koehl as a suspect and his DNA was matched to the blood stain, beer bottle, and quite a few different gadgets all through the house. Monday’s opening statements and testimony didn’t reveal what that lead was.

Koehl’s lawyer, Alicia Freeze, mentioned her shopper was sexually assaulted by Breen and acted in self-defense.

Freeze, who described Koehl as a “naive,” 19-year-old “small city boy from Ohio” on the time, mentioned that from the second they met, Breen “preyed on the vulnerability of this younger sailor.”

Freeze requested jurors to contemplate why Breen was nude and alleged Breen had penchant for grooming younger males and considered Koehl as a “conquest.”

“Brian Koehl was sexually violated and in defending himself, a life was misplaced,” Freeze mentioned.

Koehl was arrested final 12 months in Knoxville, Tennessee, and admitted to police that he was on the dwelling on the evening earlier than Breen was discovered useless.

Fox mentioned Koehl informed investigators that he was mates with Breen and had been consuming on the dwelling with the sufferer and 4 different folks. He left the house that evening and borrowed Breen’s automobile. When he returned the subsequent day to provide Breen’s automobile again, he stumbled on the grisly homicide scene.

He admitted to getting blood on his ft and washing them off within the bathe. He additionally informed police he lower his arm whereas searching of the damaged window, Fox mentioned.

He left the house in Breen’s car, which was discovered deserted greater than a mile away from the crime scene. Fox mentioned that in accordance with Koehl, he ditched the car after realizing he couldn’t be seen in a useless man’s automobile.

Whereas it took greater than three many years to arrest a suspect, the prosecutor mentioned Koehl informed a buddy of his in 1992 that he’d killed somebody.

Koehl informed the buddy “a man got here onto him” and he stabbed him, then tried to wash up his prints from the house.

Koehl’s buddy didn’t instantly inform police, however informed his spouse years later, who insisted they report it, in accordance with Fox. Nevertheless, Koehl’s buddy didn’t recall the proper metropolis the place the homicide occurred, and the case remained unsolved.

Metropolis Information Service contributed to this text.