Marine accused of killing Navy veteran ordered to stand trial

Kevin Coset accused in death of Alvin Bulaoro

VISTA, Calif. - A Camp Pendleton Marine corporal accused of killing a Navy veteran whose body was found inside his own SUV must stand trial on murder charges that could lead to the death penalty, a judge ruled Monday.

Kevin Albert Richard Coset, 23, is accused in the death of 24-year-old Alvin Bulaoro, a Fallbrook man who served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve and worked as an administrator in a family-owned home healthcare business.

Judge Richard Mills, who presided over a preliminary hearing at the Vista Courthouse, ruled that enough evidence was presented for Coset to proceed to trial on the murder charge, along with knife and gun allegations and a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis will decide later whether the defendant will face the death penalty or life in prison without parole if convicted.

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. He had been stabbed and shot.

Autopsy reports indicated Bulaoro was stabbed at least 44 times and was shot twice in the head.

In testimony Monday, a detective said investigators found a .40-caliber pistol and folding knife in Coset's barracks. Investigators also discovered Coset had purchased the same type of sleeping bag Bulaoro was wrapped in.

Members of Bulaoro's family found the SUV after previously reporting him missing. They had last seen him on Dec. 21, said San Diego County sheriff's Capt. Duncan Fraser.

Coset was taken into custody Feb. 22 at Camp Pendleton after homicide detectives obtained a warrant for his arrest, Fraser said. A motive for the murder has not been disclosed.

The defendant will be back in court April 9 for arraignment.

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