The murder of a sailor 32 years ago after his nude body was found in Point Loma appears to have been solved with the arrest of a Tennessee man on July 13, according to District Attorney Summer Stephan.
Larry Joe Breen, 32, was found without clothing in the backyard of a home at the corner of Nimitz Boulevard and Locust Street on May 25, 1990, where he had recently rented. He was found slumped against a fence and had been stabbed several times in the neck, said Stephan.
Brian Scott Koehl, now 51, was either 19 or 20 years old when he allegedly killed Breen. Extradition proceedings have started in Tennessee, and he has made one court appearance there.
An arrest warrant affidavit was sealed by a San Diego Superior Court judge, so details of the case have not yet been made public.
Stephan announced the case was investigated by the Cold Homicide and Research Genealogy Effort (CHARGE), which is the research technique that identified the Golden State Killer via DNA.
In homicides involving knife wounds, attackers often cut themselves accidently and leave their own blood behind as evidence, which is collected and saved by investigators. It is possible that happened in this case.
Breen was a petty officer and cook and was stationed abord the USS Fox CG-33 at the time.
Praising all the agencies that worked to make the arrest, Stephan said, “We will at long last be able to seek justice and accountability for the killing of Larry Breen.”
Those agencies include San Diego Police, FBI, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Knox County Sheriff’s office in Tennessee, and the Knox County District Attorney’s office, she said.
The San Diego Union-Tribune posted their 1990 story about the homicide online with the story about Koehl’s arrest. In 1990, a couple looking at rental property found Breen’s body and called police.
Breen’s car was found abandoned a mile away.
Police said at the time there was more blood inside the house and there was a broken window as if Breen went through it to leave the house.