Jurors Close Cold Case, Convict Former Sailor in Fatal Stabbing of Point Loma Petty Officer

Larry Joe Breen
Larry Joe Breen. Courtesy San Diego police

A man charged with stabbing a petty officer at the victim’s Point Loma residence more than three decades ago was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder.

A San Diego jury found Brian Scott Koehl, 52, guilty in the killing of Larry Joe Breen, 32, whose body was discovered on May 25, 1990.

Breen, a cook stationed aboard USS Fox CG-33 who was slated to be then-President George Bush’s chef at Camp David, was stabbed twice in the neck and found slumped against a fence in the backyard of his Locust Street home.

The victim was found nude, covered in blood, near a broken-out window.

Though the case went cold, Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox said Koehl, who was also in the Navy at the time, was tied to the scene via DNA initially found in a blood stain and on a beer bottle inside the home.

The prosecutor said that in 2019, “an investigative lead” led police to identify Koehl as a suspect as his DNA was not only matched to the blood stain and beer bottle, but numerous other items throughout the home.

Koehl was arrested last year in Knoxville, Tenn.

While it took more than three decades to arrest a suspect, the prosecutor said Koehl told a friend of his in 1992 that he’d killed someone.

Koehl told the friend “a guy came onto him” and he stabbed him, then tried to clean up his prints from the home.

The friend did not immediately tell police, but told his wife years later, who insisted they report it, according to Fox. However, Koehl’s friend did not recall the correct city where the murder occurred, and the case remained unsolved.

Koehl was out of custody on $500,000 bail through the trial, but was booked into county jail following Thursday’s verdict. He faces 16 years to life in state prison at sentencing, which is scheduled for next month.

– City News Service