Grover Man Gets Life for Morro Woman’s Murder

Written by Estero Bay News

February 9, 2023

A Grover Beach man convicted of killing a former Morro Bay resident in 2018 has been given a long prison sentence for his crime.

District Attorney Dan Dow’s office said Robert W. Koehler, IV, 40 of Grover Beach was sentenced to 56-years to life in State Prison for the murder of Kristen Marti. 

Marti, a former resident of Morro Bay who was reportedly homeless at the time of her murder, went missing on Jan. 9, 2018, according to the news release. 

It was a month before she was reported missing by a family member and two more months before San Luis Obispo Police, who led the investigation into Marti’s disappearance, discovered her decomposed body March 25 hidden in Prefumo Creek in a remote area off Prefumo Canyon Road.

“Computer forensics and other investigative tools,” the news release said, “led law enforcement to identify Koehler as the suspected murderer.” Investigators went hi-tech to solve the case.

“Evidence introduced at trial revealed that Koehler contacted Kristen using secretive social media apps in order to entice her to his location through his persistent offer of providing her with cocaine,” the news release said. “Although Kristen’s body was found in a stream buried under rocks, the forensic medical examination revealed cocaine and Tiletamine, a drug that causes a human body to become immobilized, in her bloodstream. In addition, she was found to have suffered numerous knife wounds to her throat and wounds indicating that she had fought back to protect herself from the violent attack.”

Last July, after an eight-week trial, Koehler was convicted of first-degree murder using a knife. Koehler had a previous conviction for carjacking, which is a strike under the Three Strikes Law. 

Superior Court Judge Jesse Marino gave Koehler the maximum sentence allowed — 56-years to life — based on Koehler’s conviction.

“Today,” D.A. Dow said, “we finally have justice for Kristen Marti five years after she was brutally murdered. This defendant should spend the rest of his life in state prison and today’s sentence should make that possible. 

“We are grateful to each of our law enforcement partners and search and rescue volunteers who never gave up searching for Kristen. Finally, we must thank the members of the jury for their service and their verdict that made today’s just sentence possible.”

At the sentencing hearing several of Marti’s family members, including Kristen’s mother and father, described to the Court “the devastation and sadness resulting from the loss of Kristen.”

This case was investigated by the SLOPD with assistance from the County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation and D.A.’s Central Coast Cyber-Forensic Laboratory.

The prosecution team was led by Chief Deputy D.A. Lisa B. Muscari, who supervises sexual assault, child abuse, intimate partner violence, juvenile, and mentally disordered offender prosecutions.

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