The Brian Cohee trial continues

The second week of the Brian Cohee II murder trial started with emotional and graphic testimony.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 5:44 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Accused killer Brian Cohee II returned to court today, entering day five of a grim trial that first shocked the Grand Valley over two years ago.

21-year-old Cohee previously pled not guilty by reason of insanity of murdering and dismembering Warren Barnes, a well-known Grand Junction homeless man, during a previous court appearance. Barnes was killed in February of 2020.

Today, prosecutors showed jurors’ evidence gruesome enough to make some cry and look away. Graphic images of the murder victim were shown in court, and several jurors appeared uneasy.

One defense attorney objected to what she called “A juror’s mental state.” After one juror started to cry and couldn’t look at crime scene photos, the defense requested them dismissed. Judge Richard Gurly overruled the objection, saying that it made sense to look away and cry due to the graphic nature of the photos.

Investigators say he first planned to first kill a prostitute, but instead chose Barnes. According to Cohee, the killing was “Just to see what it felt like.”

At the heart of this case, the prosecution must prove whether Cohee knew what he was doing, and if he knew it was wrong. Upon first interrogation within police custody, Cohee admitted to the murder.

Trent Rundquist, civilian manager at the tech/crime lab at GJPD said officials, “Searched the Colorado river from The Blue Heron boat ramp, westward in search of Barne’s remains.

In order to persuade the jury that Cohee was insane, his team must show Cohee was so diseased or defective in his mind that he couldn’t separate right from wrong at the time of the offense.

Or, that his mental disease made it impossible for him to be culpable of the crime. That means that a mental illness makes it impossible to blame Cohee for the killing.

Barnes’ decapitated head and severed hands and arms are all the remains’ searchers have found.