Slain Fil-Am's alleged killer appears in court

by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Posted at Feb 27 2013 04:34 PM | Updated as of Feb 28 2013 12:34 AM

VISTA, California - Twenty-three year old Kevin Coset, the US Marine charged with the murder of Filipino-American Alvin Justine Bulaoro appeared in court Tuesday afternoon to postpone his arraignment.

Investigators arrested Coset last Friday on murder charges. He faces 51 years to life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors have added additional charges that Coset, the only person in custody for the crime, used both a gun and a knife in the alleged murder of Bulaoro.

"One of those allegations is that he used a firearm during the course of the act, the other allegation is that he used a knife during the course of the crime," Stephen Marquardt, San Diego County Deputy District Attorney, said.

Bulaoro, a former Navy sailor turned Army reservist, was reported missing before Christmas.

His body was found about two weeks later, wrapped in a sleeping bag, inside his car, which was abandoned at a supermarket parking lot.

Prosecutors would not reveal additional information on the case.

"Any further information regarding the acts and the charges will be flushed out March 11 at the arraignment," Marquardt said.

The Bulaoro family, accompanied by victims' services, were present in the courtroom, crying during Coset's appearance.

"The family members were in court today and they are understandably going through excruciating pain. This is a horrific incident," Marquardt said.

The family declined to face the media, but Bulaoro's younger brother John told Balitang America that the family is relieved detectives have captured a suspect. But he admitted it was difficult seeing the suspect for the first time.

John said the family does not know the suspect personally and is unsure of how he knew Alvin.

Coset will remain in police custody with no bail.