By JOSH FRIEDMAN
A Grover Beach man pleaded no contest on Tuesday to the murder of 90-year-old Oceano activist Lawrence “Larry” Bross. [Tribune]
David James Krause, 42, pleaded no contest to charges of murder and elder abuse. He faces 30 years to life in prison.
Krause has a lengthy criminal history. On a single day in June 2016, while a felon in possession of a firearm, Krause started a fire, stole a bus and crashed it, burglarized a home and stole a car and crashed it.
Following the incident, prosecutors gave Krause a plea deal in which they dropped felony charges of arson, possession of a firearm by a felon and theft of a vehicle. Krause pleaded no contest to a felony charge of first-degree residential burglary and two felony counts of theft of a vehicle with prior convictions and was sentenced to six years in prison.
On Jan. 24, 2019, one of Bross’s neighbors found the elderly man’s battered body inside his home in the 1400 block of Strand Way in Oceano. Bross had been beaten and stabbed.
After an extensive investigation, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s detectives managed to identify Krause as a suspect in the case. Detectives conducted significant laboratory followup, which resulted in DNA that clearly identified Krause, according to the sheriff’s office. Deputies arrested Krause in April 2021.
During an Oct. 2021 preliminary hearing, Deputy District Attorney Julie Antos said DNA evidence collected from Krause’s left shoe matches Bross’s blood.
SLO County Sheriff’s investigators testified that Krause assisted his wife Irene Krause with cleaning Bross’s home about a week before the Oceano man was killed. That was the first time David Krause and Bross had met.
Irene Krause told investigators she had cleaned Bross’s home multiple times prior to bringing her husband. At the time, David Krause had recently been released from prison.
While at the house for the cleaning, her husband had a side conversation with Bross, Irene Krause said. She did not know what the conversation entailed, according to testimony.
A couple days later, Irene Krause told her husband to leave their home. Irene Krause kicked out her husband because of his drug habits.
After kicking out her husband, Irene Krause dropped off a backpack for him at the mobile home of a friend with whom he was staying. The backpack contained personal items, including a tool with a hammer head on one end and a bladed axe on the other.
The tool appeared to be a roofing hammer, Irene Krause told investigators. If Bross was killed with an ax or hammer, she would know who did it, Irene Krause said.
John McDaniel, a sheriff’s coroner sergeant, testified Bross’s injuries included a cracked skull, black eyes and cuts to the top of his head. Bross’s cause of death was multiple chop force traumatic injuries, McDaniel said.
Krause’s sentencing scheduled for Oct. 27 in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.