Brian Cohee’s closest former friend takes the witness stand

Cohee's friend described their relationship as being each other's closest friends.
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:52 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - In the first week of the trial, we heard Cohee’s father and mother describe him as “emotionless and cold,” but details learned Tuesday tell a different story. The verdict will come down to whether or not Cohee was clinically insane at the time he killed and dismembered 69-year-old Warren Barnes in February of 2021.

The prosecution has not rested their case yet.

Attorneys painted a picture of who Barnes was through the testimony of a gas station worker, who claims to have closely known Barnes.

The gas station worker testified that she started working at the Shell gas station on 1st Street and Grand Avenue in early 2020. That’s when she said she noticed Barnes sticking around before her shifts began at 5:30 a.m. She testified that, at first, she just wanted to stay cautious and aware that he was around, but she added he became such a regular part of her morning. Regular enough that she eventually would let Barnes in the store before opening doors to customers.

“Barnes would get himself a coffee each morning, use the restroom, and sometimes grab himself a doughnut,” she said.

She went on to say that she felt safer having Barnes around in the early morning, and recounted how the only day he didn’t show up at his regular time was the day he’d was killed.

Prosecutors later called a close former friend of Cohee’s to the stand. Cohee was at her house just before his mother called 911, following the gruesome discovery of Barnes’ severed head.

She said that Cohee seemed normal that day. When asked by prosecutors how she would classify their relationship she said they were each other’s closest friends. She testified that they chatted online almost daily, and hung out in person frequently. She also told the jury that they had several conversations about mental health.

She said she could tell when Cohee expressed sadness, but defense attorneys asked the witness if Cohee was “Loosey Goosey about his emotions.”

The witness explained that it was common for Cohee to vent or express his thoughts and emotions. She added to her testimony that the two discussed true crime and serial killers prior to the murder. Defense attorneys objected to that, but it was overruled.

The witness’s mother called Cohee “Polite,” when asked how the accused acted when she was around.

Police say Cohee stated that he killed Barnes because he wanted to know what murder felt like as he confessed. Detectives told the jury that Cohee cut off his victim’s head and hands to keep, then dumped his body in the Colorado river.

We will keep you updated with the latest news, as this trial continues.