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San Diego County District Attorney’s Office’s COLD funding leads to conviction of suspect in a 34-year-old cold case homicide

The San Diego Union-Tribune | Nov 17, 2023

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, alongside the San Diego Police Department, convicted the killer of Larry Breen whose murder occurred on May 24, 1990. Mr. Breen was a petty officer and cook in the U.S. Navy stationed aboard the USS Fox CG-33. At the time of his death, he had been selected as the President’s chef at Camp David. Mr. Breen’s body was found at his home, slumped against a fence in the backyard. He had been stabbed several times. His car was missing and was later found abandoned over a mile from the crime scene. Despite a thorough investigation by both the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and the San Diego Police Department, the murder went unsolved. This 34-year-old cold case homicide was reviewed with funding provided by the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Prosecuting Cold Cases Using DNA (COLD) Program and investigated using Forensic Genetic Genealogy (FGG) and the expertise of the San Diego District Attorney’s Cold Homicide and Research Genealogy Effort (CHARGE) team. A beer bottle with the suspect’s DNA was left at the crime scene. Using FGG, the CHARGE team generated an investigative lead regarding the suspect’s identity. The suspect also cut himself during the attack. Further STR DNA testing of both the bottle and blood confirmed the identity of the suspect, Brian Koehl, leading to his arrest and prosecution. Brian Koehl was sentenced to 16 years to life for the murder of Mr. Breen on November 17, 2023.