Karl Kohler was found murdered at suspect’s campsite
August 1, 2012
The body of Karl Kohler, who was killed near Breckenridge in May, was discovered at the campsite of Gregory Scott Gavin, the man arrested for the murder, according to recently released police reports.
Kohler’s body and a bloody baseball bat were discovered near the Burro Trail Trailhead on Peak 9, the affidavit for Gavin’s arrest stated. He died from blunt force trauma to the head.
Gavin, 50, of no fixed address, was arrested June 8 and charged with second-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence. He is still in custody at the Summit County Jail.
“Based on physical evidence and confirmation from DNA lab analysis, we feel confident we have put together a solid case,” undersheriff Derek Woodman said following the arrest.
Both the victim, Kohler, and the suspect, Gavin, reportedly made their permanent homes camping in the woods.
Gavin was predominantly unemployed and has lived in Summit County for several years, authorities said. He did not have a prior relationship with the victim.
The campsite where Kohler’s body was found was reportedly in disarray when the body was first spotted. One witness told authorities he thought a bear had torn apart the tent, according to the arrest affidavit.
“The pole was down, the tent was crashed,” the witness was quoted as saying in the police report. “I see everything that would have been in the tent was outside of (the tent), like whoever was sleeping there was getting ready to pack and leave.”
The man who had been sleeping there, Gavin, told police he had already left by that time. When brought in for questioning, he told investigators he’d abandoned that campsite – and his tent and personal belongings there – two weeks before Kohler’s body was discovered and relocated to Copper Mountain, according to the affidavit.
He claimed he had been sleeping in the lobby of a lodging company near Copper, but authorities were unable to confirm that claim, the report stated.
During interviews with Summit County sheriff’s deputies, Gavin said the police questions were making him nervous, and he accused them of manipulating him, according to the affidavit.
A woman who worked with Gavin at the thrift store while he volunteered told investigators he was a good person because he never tried to steal from the store. But another acquaintance of Gavin’s told deputies he caused trouble in town, the report said.
Kohler’s wallet was not on his body when investigators arrived on the scene. It was later found in a dumpster nearby. A $100 bill was still in it, according to the affidavit
Gavin will be represented by a public defender.
The district attorney’s office reiterated at a press conference following his arrest that Gavin is only facing charges and is innocent until proven guilty.
“We will do whatever we can to ensure justice for the victim,” chief deputy district attorney Scott Turner stated in a joint press release.
Kohler, who was also a year-round camper, was well-known in the community after 10 years living in the area.
His killing shocked and troubled locals, who remembered him as a music lover and gifted artist.
Second-degree murder carries a penalty of up to life in prison.