Closing arguments beginning in murder of La Jolla investor


City News Service

Closing arguments are scheduled today in the trial of a man charged with strangling a La Jolla investor in his home and transferring $7.5 million out of the victim’s investment account.

Kent Thomas Keigwin, 60, is charged with murder for financial gain and other charges in the death last year of 65-year-old John Watson, a retired biotech executive and member of a start-up investment group.

The defendant faces life in prison without parole if convicted.

Keigwin was seen in the area of Watson’s home on June 8, 2010, the day he was found dead, said prosecutor Sharla Evert.

She said the victim and the defendant — who were acquaintances — struggled inside Watson’s home, and the victim was Tasered and strangled.

Keigwin’s DNA was found under Watson’s fingernails, the prosecutor said.

The next day, Keigwin transferred $7.5 million from one of Watson’s investment accounts into a new account that he opened in the victim’s name, Evert alleged.

Keigwin also put his passport, Social Security card and transfer codes for bank accounts in a safety deposit box, according to the prosecutor.

Three days later, on June 11, Keigwin came back to Watson’s residence with the victim’s keys -- dressed all in black and carrying an empty backpack -- and was arrested by homicide detectives investigating Watson’s death, Evert said.

Defense attorney Yahairah Aristy said in her opening statement that Keigwin was not guilty of the charges, telling the jury the case was about financial fraud, not premeditated murder.