By JOSH FRIEDMAN
A judge on Thursday sentenced a Grover Beach man to 30 years to life in prison for the murder of 90-year-old Oceano activist Lawrence “Larry” Bross. [KSBY]
David James Krause, 42, 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 matched Krause’s. Deputies arrested Krause in April 2021, while he was in SLO County Jail on unrelated charges.
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, according to court testimony in the case.
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 axe 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.
Earlier this month, Krause pleaded no contest to charges of murder and elder abuse. He also admitted to having a prior conviction for residential burglary. The conviction counts as a strike under California’s Three Strikes law, and it led to the doubling of Krause’s sentence.
During Thursday’s sentencing hearing, Bross’s daughter described her father as a collector of ideas and people. Bross would walk the beach, strike up conversations and invite people to his home, where he would share his art and wisdom.
“Our home was a place of peace for our family, friends, and strangers alike – and my father, a rock amid the turmoil of life,” Bross’s daughter said.