According to court documents Brian Cohee wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone so he would pick sixty nine year old Warren Barnes who was homeless. Cohee would find Warren Barnes sleeping underneath a bridge and the teen killer would attack stabbing the elderly man to death. Cohee would then dismember the body and took parts of his body home. Brian mother would find the head of Warren Barnes inside of his closet and call police
Brian Cohee would be arrested, convicted and sentenced to life without parole
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|Name: COHEE, BRIAN T Age: 21 Ethnicity: WHITE Gender: MALE Hair Color: BROWN Eye Color: HAZEL Height: 6′ 02″ Weight: 177
|DOC Number: 196404 Est. Parole
Eligibility Date: Next Parole
Hearing Date: This offender is scheduled on the Parole Board agenda for the month and year above. Please contact the facility case manager for the exact date.
Release Date: Est. Sentence
Discharge Date: 01/25/9999 Current Facility
Assignment: BUENA VISTA CORRECTIONAL COMPLEX
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Brian Cohee Case
More than 30 friends and relatives of the victim of a grisly murder two years ago crowded into a Grand Junction courtroom Monday morning to witness the sentencing of his killer, a young man who told investigators he chose a homeless victim because no one would notice his disappearance.
The victim, Warren Barnes, was known around downtown Grand Junction as “the reading man” because he so often sat behind a bridal shop absorbed in paperbacks when he wasn’t helping store owners move boxes or doing odd jobs through a temporary agency.
“He was valued. He was loved. … He is missed every single day,” said Monique Lanotti, who owns the bridal shop where the 69-year-old Barnes found his own version of home.
Barnes’ friends and family first realized he had been the victim of a crime when he didn’t show up in his usual spot one day in late February 2021. They soon learned that Brian Cohee II had admitted to killing and dismembering Barnes the night before he went missing. Barnes was attacked as he slept under a bridge just blocks from downtown.
Cohee was identified as the suspect after his mother found parts of Barnes’ body in a bag in her son’s closet.
Cohee confessed that, for months, he had been wanting to know what it felt like to kill someone. He had put together a kit with a 12-inch kitchen knife, plastic gloves, and other materials to carry out his plan. He spent weeks driving around looking for the right homeless victim, according to testimony during his trial. The night he killed Barnes he noted the occasion with a “1st” in his cellphone notes.
A jury Friday found Cohee guilty of first-degree murder, and three counts of tampering with a body and evidence. He had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. The jury determined that Cohee was able to tell right from wrong after a two-week trial filled with gruesome evidence, and two days of deliberation.
Twenty-first Judicial District Judge Richard Gurley on Monday sentenced Cohee to life in prison without the possibility of parole, the mandatory penalty for first-degree murder in Colorado.
At the hearing, the now 21-year-old Cohee showed no emotion as Barnes’ friends and relatives filed up to the podium to speak about the lingering pain from the senseless murder of a man they described as gentle, selfless and kind, a man who asked for nothing from others beyond a place to sit and read
Brian Cohee also sat stone-faced as his mother, Terri Cohee, sobbed and shook while describing her son as a young man with mental defects who always knew “he was not like other people.” Cohee, whose nickname in middle school was “Dahmer,” for the infamous killer Jeffrey Dahmer, has been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, with ADHD, and with being on the autism spectrum.
Brian Cohee’s mother told the court she has spent the past two years shedding tears for Barnes and his family.
Geraldine Shipp, one of Barnes’ eight siblings, said she still has nightmares about the way her brother was brutally murdered a day after he had phoned her to wish her happy birthday.
“He was a man of honor, a man of integrity, a man loved by community and family,” she told the court.
Family members and friends stressed that Barnes counted even though he chose to live outside.
They noted that he was never known to beg or to hassle passersby. He had a stock phrase for those who wished him a nice day: “And you also.” He shared his daily Subway sandwiches with the birds that would gather around his scuffed boots.
“He would help anyone who needed anything, including the defendant,” Barnes’ cousin Joanne Barnes Graham said in court Monday. “He was not a throwaway person.”
In further proof of that, a memorial sculpture was erected in the breezeway near where he used to sit. It is a metal replica of his chair with a stack of books etched with the titles of some of his favorite Westerns. An inscription on the back of one of the books reads, “And you also.”
Brian Cohee News
Brian Cohee Jr. was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Cohee, 21, was arrested March 1, 2021, for the murder and mutilation of 69-year-old Warren Barnes, who Cohee attacked and killed while Barnes was sleeping two days earlier on Feb. 27. Cohee then dismembered Barnes and took parts home. Cohee’s parents discovered Barnes’s head and hands in his closet.
Barnes was a homeless man who spent time outside a number of downtown businesses and made friends with his outgoing personality.
A jury found Cohee guilty Friday after about two days of deliberation following a 12-day trial. Cohee had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Judge Richard Gurley described the case as one of the most horrific he has been involved with in 37 years in and around the criminal justice system.
Gurley said it’s obvious Cohee suffers from some mental defects that affect how he views things, but agreed with prosecutors that Cohee appeared to have been planning to kill someone for some time.
Cohee confessed that he wanted to target homeless people because he believed that they wouldn’t be missed.
Gurley said it’s important to remember acts like these affect many innocent third parties, including the families of both Barnes and Cohee.
A fixture in downtown Grand Junction, Barnes had many friends in the downtown community. A memorial sculpture has been installed in the breezeway between Out West Books and Monique’s Bridal.
Barnes’ family and friends repeatedly described him as a kind person, hard worker and avid reader during the hearing.
“He was a man who was loved by the community and family,” his sister Geraldine Shipp said.
“Nothing can replace Warren, but hopefully, Brian Cohee can never, ever have a chance to hurt someone else,” Shipp said.
Michelle Munfrada, Barnes’ niece, said nobody should have to go through what Barnes endured at the end of his life.
“We hope that this, today, can bring some closure for all the family and friends,” Munfrada said.
Brian Cohee’s mother Terri, who originally called police after finding Barnes’ remains and took the witness stand for the prosecution during the trial, tearfully expressed her condolences to Barnes’s family, and asked that the sentencing include some kind of mental health treatment.
erri Cohee said Brian is not the sum of his mental defects and his actions, and that he can one day affect society positively.
“He was a child who had the odds stacked against him from the beginning, a child who was loved, a child who was prayed for, a child who has struggled for his entire life with emotions,” Terri Cohee said.
“Brian does not think and feel like the rest of us,” she said.
Gurley also sentenced Cohee to two 12-year sentences, to run concurrently with each other, for tampering with a deceased human body and 18 months for tampering with evidence, to run consecutively.
Brian Cohee declined to speak during the hearing.