San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan said today that one man has been arrested in connection with the 1990 murder of Larry Joe Breen, 32 in Point Loma. San Diego police and the FBI took Brian Scott Koehl, 51, into custody in Knoxville, TN on July 13, 2022 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. Koehl will be extradited to San Diego where he has been charged with murder. His first hearing in Knox County Superior Court will be held tomorrow, July 14.
“It is a tribute to the commitment and dedication of investigators and prosecutors in our Cold Case Homicide Unit working closely with local and federal law enforcement that we continue to solve decades old crimes, hold murderers accountable and ultimately deliver justice to victims’ loved ones,” said DA Stephan. “Thanks to their hard work and the work our law enforcement partners in the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Knox County Sheriff’s Department and the Knox County District Attorney, we will, at long last, be able to seek justice and accountability for the killing of Larry Breen.”
The victim, a petty officer and cook in the US Navy stationed aboard the USS Fox CG-33, was found on May 25, 1990 in the backyard of a home at the corner of Nimitz Boulevard and Locust Street. The victim had recently rented the home and was preparing to move in. He was slumped against a fence in the backyard and had been stabbed several times in the neck. 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 at the time, the murder went unsolved.
Recently, these agencies reexamined the case, and, with the assistance of the District Attorney’s Office Cold Homicide and Research Genealogy Effort (CHARGE), an investigative lead was developed which led to the current criminal charge against Koehl and his arrest.
CHARGE, which is funded by a three- year grant from the US Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice assistance, is an innovation project by the District Attorney’s office to solve cold case homicides using investigative genetic genealogy, the same research technique that identified the Golden State Killer. The CHARGE team, which includes deputy district attorneys, investigators, and a research genealogist, has been successfully in identifying the suspects in several cold case homicides including the current prosecution of Carlin Cornett for the 1971 murder of 7-Eleven clerk Christy Bryant and this 1990 murder of Larry Breen. Deputy District Attorney Lisa Fox is the lead prosecutor on this case.