Man convicted of strangling La Jolla investor sentenced to life in prison with no parole


City News Service

A financial adviser who strangled a retired multi- millionaire and transferred $8.9 million from one of the victim’s investment accounts was sentenced today to life in prison without parole.

Kent Keigwin, 61, was convicted in November of first-degree murder and special circumstances of murder for financial gain and murder during a robbery in the June 8, 2010, death of 65-year-old John Watson.

Jurors also found Keigwin guilty of using the personal identity of another, burglary, forgery and attempted grand theft.

Prosecutor Sharla Evert said the defendant spent his life managing other people’s money, but got greedy and wanted Watson’s riches.

Evert said Keigwin’s remorse didn’t go far enough.

“He can’t bring himself to say. “I killed this man,”’ the prosecutor told Judge Frederic Link.

Keigwin’s daughter, Parisa, said in a letter that the defendant had always been a good father and his murdering of Watson came as a shock to her.

“My life will never be the same without my dad,” Parisa Keigwin wrote. “He is kind and generous.”

Keigwin’s brother, Jim, said his family “dumbfounded and crushed” by the crime.

Jim Keigwin said his brother committed the “ultimate act of selfishness.”

For his part, the defendant said he was “sorry for the death of John Watson.”

Link said Keigwin killed out of greed.

“You created an army of victims, Mr. Keigwin,” the judge said. “This was a cold-blooded, calculated, stalking murder.” In her closing argument of trial, Evert said Keigwin Tasered the victim at the front door of his La Jolla apartment, then strangled the retired biotech executive.

She said the defendant’s DNA was found under Watson’s fingernails.

Keigwin -- who had been friends with the victim -- was seen in the area of the victim’s home on the day Watson was found dead, Evert said.

The next day, Keigwin transferred $8.9 million from one of Watson’s investment accounts into a new account that he opened in the victim’s name, Evert said.

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 Stacy Gulley said the case was about theft and Watson died after an “all-out fight” with Keigwin.