Three men pleaded guilty this week in Middlesex Superior Court to manslaughter and other charges stemming from the 2012 slaying of a young man killed during a botched drug robbery inside a Billerica home, prosecutors said.
The pleas entered by Steven Touch, 30, Sophan Keo, 32, and Gabriel Arias, 27, capped a case that saw a total of six people sentenced to prison for their roles in the murder of Quintin Koehler, 22, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office said in a statement.
“Quintin Koehler is dead because six men put together a plan to force their way into a home then terrorize and rob the residents,” Ryan said. "For families, justice does not have a deadline and after many years we are hopeful that today marks the end of a long road for the loved ones of Mr. Koehler.”
Ryan’s words were echoed by Billerica Police Chief Daniel Rosa.
“As these convictions mark the conclusion of the criminal case, our thoughts are again with the Koehler family,” Rosa said in the statement from Ryan’s office. “We are fully aware that these proceedings will never heal their pain but are hopeful that the successful closure of the investigation will allow them some sense of justice.”
Judge Kenneth J. Fishman sentenced all three men who pleaded guilty this week to state prison terms of 10 years for manslaughter and shorter, concurrent terms for lesser offenses, Ryan’s office said.
According to prosecutors, four men, some masked, broke into a Boston Road residence during the predawn hours of July 7, 2012, smashing a door off its hinges in their attempt to rob the occupants of cash and marijuana. At least three assailants had guns, the statement said.
Two occupants of the home put up a fight, prosecutors said, prompting one gunman to fatally shoot Koehler. The gunman wasn’t named in the statement.
Authorities ultimately linked six people to the crime with the help of cooperating witnesses, cellphone records, surveillance video footage, and DNA evidence, the statement said.
Included in the group was the man described as the ringleader of the plot, Adam Bradley, 34, who was convicted in December 2017 of first-degree murder and other charges, Ryan’s office said. Bradley was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Authorities said Bradley organized the plot and recruited the participants, Estabrook fought with the victims in the home, Bin and Arias carried guns into the residence, and Touch and Keo provided transportation to and from the crime scene.
In addition, Bradley, while awaiting trial, wrote letters from jail to gang associates and acquaintances seeking to have a cooperating witness killed, prosecutors said. That plot never came to fruition.
In an obituary posted to the Conway Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home website, Koehler’s family said they took comfort in the fact that even in death, their slain loved one could help others in need.
“His family were comforted knowing that through the efforts of the New England Organ Bank, some good would come out of this tragedy by offering his heart and other vital organs that can be used to help others survive,” the obituary said. “Mr. Koehler worked in the shipping and receiving department of FedEx in Woburn. Quintin enjoyed doing outdoors activities like ATV Four-Wheeling, camping, fishing, hunting and simply hanging with family and friends. He loved working with his hands, landscaping, and welding.”