Grim details emerge from killing of homeless man in Grand Junction

Brian Cohee II, 19, of Grand Junction
Brian Cohee II, 19, of Grand Junction(Grand Junction Police Department)
Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 12:58 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Over the weekend, further details emerged in the troubling killing of a 69-year-old homeless man. A 19-year-old local Grand Junction resident is facing charges in the case.

According to the arrest affidavit for Brain Cohee II, the 19-year-old had a troubled past, suffered from mental disorders, and was interested in “death and morbidity.” While being interviewed by investigators, Cohee reportedly admitted to killing and decapitating a homeless man. The Mesa County Coroner’s office identified the victim earlier this month as 69-year-old Warren Barnes.

During the interview, Cohee reportedly said he killed Barnes with a large kitchen knife. According to arrest papers, Cohee stated that while out on the night of Feb. 27, he saw Barnes sleeping under a canvas near the Grand Ave. footbridge near Crosby Ave. Arrest papers show Cohee II then stabbed Barnes and decapitated him, placing some of the remains in a large plastic bag. The arrest affidavit says that Barnes had no apparent connection to Cohee.

Cohee reportedly stated to investigators that he had been thinking of killing a person for a while, and routinely drove around at night watching homeless camps. He told investigators that he had been planning to kill a homeless person or a prostitute because doing so wouldn’t draw much attention.

After the killing, Cohee, who was wearing a blue jumpsuit with a mask and gloves, drove some of the remains of Barnes back to his home and stashed the body parts in his bedroom closet. After doing so, he allegedly traveled back to the crime scene, and loaded up other remains into the trunk of his car, and then went to dispose of those parts in the river at a local boat ramp.

Court papers show while he was unloading the remains at the boat ramp, Cohee’s car became stuck and partially submerged in the river. After calls to acquaintances, Cohee’s car had to be towed out.

Then, on March 1, local authorities received a call from a reporting party that possible human remains had been found in Cohee’s closet. Upon arrival, Mesa County Sheriff Deputies confirmed that they were in fact human remains, and while on scene, deputies say that Cohee admitted that he killed a man.

Cohee was then brought to the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, where he told his story to investigators. Cohee told investigators that he had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. Investigators say that during the interview that Cohee answered questions clearly and logically.

Cohee is facing first-degree murder charges, along with tampering with a deceased human body and tampering with evidence.

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