Chilling moment killer confessed to storing victim’s severed head in his closet


‘I always wondered what murder felt like,’ Brian Cohee told an officer

Amelia Neath
Tuesday 02 April 2024 17:27 BST
Brian Cohee admitted murdering the 69-year-old man
Brian Cohee admitted murdering the 69-year-old man (Explore With Us/YouTube)

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Louise Thomas

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Disturbing footage has captured the moment a 19-year-old from Colorado confessed to killing a missing homeless man and storing his severed head and hands inside his closet.

Brian Cohee was just 19 years old when he murdered 69-year-old Warren Barnes back in 2021.

In February 2023, Cohee was found guilty of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without parole.

Now, it has emerged that Cohee nonchalantly admitted to Barnes’ murder, telling responding officers that he was curious to know what killing someone would feel like.

“I’ve always wondered what murder felt like,” he said.

Police responded to the home in Colorado on 1 March 2021 after Cohee’s parents made the gruesome discovery of Barnes’ head and hands inside the closet, a Mesa County press release details.

In bodycam footage from his arrest, obtained and uploaded by YouTube channel Explore With Us, police questioned Cohee outside his home.

“Your parents have concerns of some stuff they may have found in your room? What would it be?” an officer asked.

“A human head and hands,” Cohee responded calmly to the officer. “From that fella that went missing recently.”

“How did you end up with him?” the officer asked, to which Cohee confessed: “I murdered him.”

When asked “with what,” Cohee replied: “A knife.”

Cohee was arrested after his mother found a severed head in his closet covered with maggots
Cohee was arrested after his mother found a severed head in his closet covered with maggots (Explore With Us/YouTube)

He also identified the victim to the officer.

When the officer asked why he had killed him, Cohee simply said that he wondered “what murder felt like”.

In other chilling moments in the footage, Cohee’s mother Terri Cohee was seen having to relive the moment that she discovered the decomposing head and hands.

“I was in his room cleaning up, putting some things away and he has a rubber-made container in his closet, and so I just kind of started digging through,” she said, according to the YouTube channel.

“I saw a plastic bag…and I was like, what in the world does he have in here? I picked it up, and it was heavy. I held it in my hands…maggots covering something.”

“I carried it out to the sink; it was double-bagged,” Ms Cohee explained through tears, saying that she didn’t open the second bag after the first layer, and immediately called her husband.

Cohee detailed to investigators exactly how he went about killing Barnes
Cohee detailed to investigators exactly how he went about killing Barnes (Explore With Us/YouTube)

As Cohee’s parents called 911, they admitted to the dispatcher that their son did display “a fascination with the morbid”.

The YouTube channel also showed footage of Cohee telling police investigators how he carried out the deadly attack on the homeless man.

"I was driving along and I see a shape here on the railway track, so I am like ‘Oh interesting’,” Cohee said in a police interview.

“I’m like, that’s a homeless person, so I grabbed my knife, I put on three layers of gloves because plastic gloves can betray their users because they’re so thin…I took the knife, I pulled back the canvas and I stabbed his neck,” he retold.

“He was panicking at first…,” Cohee said, adding that he carried on repeatedly stabbing him.

Cohee was found guilty of first degree murder
Cohee was found guilty of first degree murder (Mesa County)

At the time of his murder, Barnes had been sleeping rough near Crosby Avenue in Mesa County.

It was later revealed that Cohee attempted to get rid of the rest of Barnes’ body at the Blue Heron boat ramp, where his car got stuck in the Colorado River.

At his 2021 trial, Cohee pleaded not guilty by insanity, claiming that his diagnosed mental health disorders and environmental stressors caused him to become insane when he saw Barnes, the Mesa County release said.

Two psychologists examined Cohee for his insanity plea and concluded he was not insane. A third psychologist on behalf of the defence disagreed, finding that Cohee was experiencing a psychotic episode that rendered him insane.

Ultimately, jurors found him guilty of murder, tampering with a deceased human body and tampering with evidence.

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