VISTA, Calif. - A Camp Pendleton Marine corporal pleaded not guilty Monday to murdering a Navy veteran whose body was found inside his SUV in Fallbrook.
Kevin Albert Richard Coset, 23, was ordered held on $5 million bail.
In addition to the murder charge, Coset faces allegations that he used a knife and a firearm in the killing of 24-year-old Alvin Bulaoro. If convicted, Coset faces 61 years to life in prison.
Judge Marshall Hockett scheduled a readiness conference for March 20 and a preliminary hearing for March 25.
Coset was taken into custody Feb. 22 at Camp Pendleton after homicide detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, said San Diego County sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser.
According to the arrest warrant, authorities believe Coset shot Bulaoro in the back of the head and between the eyes before stabbing him multiple times. He then drove the body back to the parking lot where they had met earlier in the day and placed it in a sleeping bag in the back of Bulaoro's vehicle, according to the warrant.
The victim's body, showing signs of trauma, was found on the evening of Jan. 3 zipped inside a sleeping bag in the back seat of his own Toyota 4Runner in a parking lot in the 1100 block of South Mission Road, Fraser said.
Members of Bulaoro's family found the SUV after previously reporting him missing. They had last seen him on Dec. 21, Fraser said.
"It's hard for us family and it is painful… It's very painful," said John Bulaoro, the victim's brother. Bulaoro's family has no idea why this would have happened and wants justice.
No motive for the slaying was released.
Bulaoro was a U.S. Navy veteran who later served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. The victim worked as an administrator in a family-owned home healthcare business.