Kohler: This is not a court of justice
Ryan Summerlin January 13, 2013
Editor’s note: The Summit Daily News received Ralph Kohler’s letter on Dec. 28. Because it contained claims that had not appeared in the newspaper, the letter was held until its claims could be verified. Only recently was the Summit Daily able to view the videotaped confession of Gregory Scott Gavin.
> Karl Kohler was not the man that he was portrayed in the Summit Daily News, and my family has been disappointed by your coverage of the callousness and brutal act that ended in my brother’s death, and the way you covered his life. We understand that “the evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft’ interred with their bones.” So let it be with Karl, though you should know that he was an honorable man. We understand now your coverage was in part because you weren’t privy to the confession made after defendant accepted the state’s plea agreement.
> My family would like the people of Summit County to know the hard, cold truth – from the killer’s confession – that Karl’s death wasn’t a crime of passion, but pre-meditated murder. Karl, (unarmed) and his killer (with a baseball bat) got in a fight. In that early morning altercation, the defendant swung first on Karl’s blind side and Karl was beaten to within an inch of his life. Once Karl lay on the ground unconscious, the defendant walked to town – after using the baseball bat on Karl’s leg and hand for to make sure he could not follow.
> The killer walked around town for several hours, mulling his options; eventually, he “decided what to do, and see if he [Karl] was alright”; returning to camp to find that Karl was exactly where he had been hours earlier. This is where things got bad. Finding Karl alive – though far from “alright” – he stood over Karl with that baseball bat. The moment Karl – a man who had been lying unconscious for several hours – opened his eyes for the last time he, was bludgeoned repeatedly in the head with that baseball bat.
> Karl’s murder was no Shakespearean tragedy and the case was not heard in a court of justice, but a court of law, to paraphrase Karl and former Chief Justice Holmes. My family and I think that the readers of the Summit Daily News deserve to know the whole truth about how Karl died and they can decide for themselves whether they think the punishment of 12 years for his killer was just.
> We would like to thank those involved in the investigation and the people
of Breckenridge for their work on this, as well as Karl’s friends and supporters in Colorado.