Man suspected in 1990 Point Loma slaying of sailor is arrested in Tennessee

Scales of justice

A man suspected of killing a Navy sailor in Point Loma more than three decades ago has been arrested in Tennessee and is expected to face a murder charge in San Diego, the San Diego County district attorney’s office said.

Brian Scott Koehl, 51, was arrested by San Diego police and the FBI on July 13 in Knoxville, Tenn., in connection with the 1990 killing of Larry Joe Breen, 32, who prosecutors say was stabbed in the neck multiple times.

Breen, a petty officer and cook stationed aboard the USS Fox CG-33, was preparing to move into a home near the intersection of Nimitz Boulevard and Locust Street in Point Loma around the time of his death, the DA’s office said.

Breen’s body was found May 25, 1990, slumped against a fence in the home’s backyard. His car was found abandoned more than a mile away, according to the DA’s office.

The case went cold, but a re-examination of the evidence led to an “investigative lead” that prompted Koehl’s arrest. Prosecutors said the re-examination was conducted with the assistance of the DA’s Cold Homicide and Research Genealogy Effort, which uses investigative genetic genealogy to try to identify suspects by matching DNA left at crime scenes with those of relatives found on ancestry databases.

The method was used to identify the Golden State Killer, while locally, investigators are using genetic genealogy more and more to identify suspects in murder investigations that have long gone dormant.

Koehl is scheduled to appear in a Knox County courtroom July 14. Officials have not disclosed a possible motive for the killing, nor the relationship, if any, between Koehl and Breen.


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