After Year on the Run, Suspect in 2012 Billerica Slaying Arraigned
WOBURN -- A suspect in a 2012 slaying in Billerica who eluded police for more than a year will not get a chance to run again.
A state police SWAT team found Steven Touch of Lynn hiding in a drawer built into a bed frame inside a Lynn apartment on Tuesday night.
Touch, 28, who was on the state police most wanted list, was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on counts of murder, home invasion, conspiracy and attempted armed robbery.
Magistrate Michael Sullivan ordered Touch held without bail.
Police connect Touch to the July 12, 2012 home invasion at 795 Boston Road in Billerica that led to the death of 22-year-old Quintin Koehler.
Koehler died of a single gunshot wound to the head. He and his brother, Ryan Koehler, confronted the home invaders and tried to force them out of their home about 3:50 a.m.
Prosecutors have said six men, four of whom went into the home and two of whom remained outside in getaway cars, went to the Billerica home to steal marijuana and several thousand dollars in cash.
The man who shot Koehler, Adam Bradley, 32, of Lynn, was convicted of murder. He was sentenced to life in prison without a chance of parole in late December.
Two other men who went into the home, Jason Estabrook, 32, of Lynn, and Peter Bin, 30, of Peabody, also were convicted of murder and are serving life without parole.
Sophan Keo, 29, of Beverly, and Gabriel Arias, 24, of Lynn, are being held without bail, facing the same charges as Touch.
Touch will join Keo and Arias in court on March 23, when all three men are scheduled for hearings.
All six men were indicted for murder under the joint venture principal, because they were allegedly part of the plot and incident that led to Koehler’s death.
Touch, who police say was the leader of a gang in Lynn, was allegedly among the men who waited outside to drive getaway cars on the night of the killing.
Touch’s photo has been distributed across the state since he was added to the most wanted list last year, but Touch nevertheless remained out of sight during most of his roughly 5-minute arraignment. He plead not guilty to the new charges while remaining out of sight.
He appeared only briefly to speak to his attorney, John Morris, during the proceeding.
Morris said he is exploring several possible defenses, but that he so far hasn’t received enough information to form an opinion on how strong the case against his client is.
Morris said a recent Supreme Judicial Court ruling that limited the reach of the joint venture and felony murder principals could impact the case, since the ruling tightened rules on how much involvement a defendant must have in a death to be convicted under the joint venture principal.
Morris also expressed concerns about Touch being placed on the most wanted list, because such lists can cause prejudicial pretrial publicity for defendants.
“It causes concern for me as an attorney down the road regarding whether or not he’s getting a fair shake from a jury who’s seen all that information,” Morris said.
Morris, who has represented Touch since 2012, also said he has seen no proof of police claims that Touch is a gang leader.
“Nobody has ever presented to me any evidence that says he’s the leader of a gang or important to a gang,” Morris said.
Touch also has another pending case in which he is charged with possession of a large capacity firearm, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of a large capacity feeding device, carrying a loaded firearm, and defacing a serial number on a firearm.
Touch had been on the lam since Jan. 10, 2017. A Superior Court judge issued a default warrant for his arrest in the firearms case because Touch allegedly cut off a GPS monitoring device and failed to appear at a scheduled hearing.
Touch was informed in court Wednesday that $10,000 bail he had posted in the firearms case was forfeited last year.
State police said in a press release that they believe Touch spent his year as a fugitive moving rapidly from home to home.
On May 22, Touch was also charged in federal court with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, which drew the FBI into the search.
Touch, Keo and Arias were indicted in connection with Koehler’s death last June.
Billerica police Deputy Chief Roy Frost, whose investigators have spent over five years working the case along with state police detectives attached to the Middlesex DA’s office, said the arrest of the last suspect in the case will make the area safer.
“We appreciate the hard work of the Lynn Police Department and the (state police) Violent Fugitive Apprehension Unit,” Frost said. “We believe Steven Touch is a very dangerous person and his apprehension was critical to public safety.”
At least one member of Koehler’s family attended Touch’s arraignment, but made no comment.
State police said the FBI and Revere police also contributed to the effort to locate Touch.
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