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Santa Rosa Marine to stand trial for murder

Kevin Coset

Bill Wechter/ U-T San Diego
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 9:19 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 5:14 p.m.

The diary of a Santa Rosa Marine corporal charged with murdering an Army reservist near San Diego contains an admission to the slaying and alludes to a shadowy organization that was plotting to ruin his life.

The writings of Kevin Albert Richard Coset, 23, were read Monday during a preliminary hearing for the Montgomery High School graduate accused of killing Army Reserve Lt. Alvin Bulaoro, 24.

A Naval investigator read an excerpt from the journal in which Coset wrote, "Tonight I had to kill for the third time," and calls it a "him or me" situation, according to TV news reports.

The diary also refers to the "evil Musgrove organization," which Coset writes has been plotting against him for years, entering his mind and "stealing my intelligence."

At the end of the daylong hearing, Judge Aaron Katz found there was sufficient evidence to try Coset for murder with the special circumstance of lying in wait, which can be punishable by death. He also found evidence for enhancements for using a gun and a knife.

Coset has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors believe Coset killed Bulaoro on Dec. 21 after the two met up at a Fallbrook hotel. He's then believed to have loaded the body into the back of Bulaoro's Toyota 4Runner and parked it outside a grocery store, where it remained until it was found Jan. 3.

Detectives testified Monday the two exchanged text messages and at least one phone call Dec. 20 and Dec. 21. TV news accounts said they texted each other 29 times.

Coset and Bulaoro then checked into the hotel, where detectives testified Coset slashed Bulaoro's throat and shot him in the head twice, prosecutor Stephen Marquardt said Tuesday.

An autopsy showed Bulaoro's body had 44 stab wounds, reported NBC7 TV news.

Coset was arrested last month at Camp Pendleton after detectives found one of the last calls on Bulaoro's phone was made to him, according to news reports.

Marquardt said surveillance video from the store helped pinpoint the timing of Coset's return to the grocery store parking lot, where the two are suspected of initially meeting.

The next hearing is April 9.

Court watchers speculated that Coset's bizarre diary entries could be the basis of a future insanity plea.

Santa Rosa defense attorney Chris Andrian said Coset seemed to believe that he was a victim who had no choice but to kill.

If he can prove that he suffered a mental lapse in which he couldn't distinguish between right and wrong, Coset could claim that he wasn't responsible for the death, Andrian said.

"It sounds pretty paranoid to me," Andrian said. "Sounds like someone not in touch with reality."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.

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