Decorated Navy Seal Krah, Remains in Jail for Santa Monica Murder
SMPD believes he killed a Kris Anderson, 58, in front of a Citibank ATM, after they argued on the beach.
August 5, 2016
Decorated Navy Seal Theo Krah was watching a paddleboard tournament on Santa Monica beach one Saturday afternoon. Suddenly, he noticed a middle-aged man snapping pictures of underage girls on the beach--this according to Krah's lawyer.
"It's been very much misreported that there was a fight on the pier," Defense Council Anthony Salerno told the Navy Times in a telephone interview last month. "None of that occurred. The police report described both of them as being calm when they came up on them."
Disturbed, Krah confronted Santa Monica resident Kris Anderson, 58. He placed Anderson in a "bear hug" and asking for someone to call the police, who showed up a few minutes later.
Anderson was an Arts staff member at UCLA Extension, according to a post on the school's Facebook page. He died of head trauma and stab wounds.
Hours later, on June 11, 2016, Police found the photographer dead in front of the Citibank ATM on 5th Street and Santa Monica Blvd. Santa Monica police arrested the 28 year old Navy Seal for murder. Krah's been in LA County Jail ever since, unable to post the $2 million in bail required to be released pending trial. He was arraigned and pled not guilty on June 14th.
"The preliminary hearing has been continued to August 24th, but that's not unusual," said SMPD Lt. Saul Rodriguez. "He's still in custody charged with murder, Penal Code Section 187. He's not bailed out. They asked for a bail reduction, but was denied.
"As far as it being a case of mistaken identity," said Rodriguez, "we're confident the evidence will prove the charges and we are not looking for another suspect." Lt. Rodriguez would not comment on whether the ATM machine had taken photos. Most do.
Lt. Rodriguez said Santa Monica has had only two murders all year. Coincidentally, the other murder also occurred on 5th Street.
Officers checked Anderson's camera and let him man go, according to Salerno. About an hour later, at 5:06 p.m., Anderson was found lying on the pavement a few blocks from the beach, unconscious and with "substantial" head trauma, according to a June 14 release from the SMPD. Hospital staff then noticed a stab wound. Anderson died early on the morning of June 12th.
SMPD had Krah's name after the earlier call. They immediately focused their investigation on him, because Krah was the obvious, but wrong, suspect.
"I'm sure a lot of people saw this confrontation, because it must have created a scene there," Salerno said, noting that bystanders, probably friends or family of the photographed girls, saw the confrontation. "People get hot and bothered when they suspect someone is photographing their daughters."
Krah, a U.S. Navy "Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class (SEAL)," was arrested the following Monday after returning to San Diego, where officers searched his home, truck and locker at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, Salerno said.
"Regarding the defense itself, we are still waiting on full disclosure of discovery from the DA and SMPD. It has been very slow going. As of now, I have not even seen any video yet. So yes, I still believe there isn't clear evidence to prove that Theo assaulted the decedent. The only eyewitness to the incident has not ID'ed Theo," Salerno wrote the Observer on 7/26/16.
Salerno said his investigation is focused on getting a hold of the victim's camera and establishing a time-line. In the meantime, he's received an outpouring of support for his client.
"I couldn't even keep up with all the character letters that were coming in," he said. "Not just the volume, but just the kinds of things that people said about Theo from the time he was a kid," including a letter from a 14-year- old boy Krah coached in soccer.
"I'm feeling confident that we're going to get him out of this mess and get him back into service, where he belongs," he added.