BANGOR, Maine — In an online profile, murder suspect Colin Koehler describes himself as an at-home graphic artist proficient in martial arts who had big dreams of working for a well-known comics publishing company.
People who had encountered Koehler in the area of his downtown Bangor apartment recently said they didn’t know much about the man or his background.
Koehler was arrested Tuesday evening after police and tactical team members raided his apartment. He has been charged with the murder of 19-year-old Holly Boutilier of Old Town, whose body was found over the weekend near a shack by the city’s waterfront. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance this morning.
According to his profile on the social networking site MySpace, Koehler wrote that he was a disabled at-home graphic artist who moved to Maine to be near his parents “for recovery and free health care.”
He also described an affinity for martial arts and even posted a 31-second video of himself wielding a samurai-style sword. Bangor police have yet to confirm how Boutilier was killed or if any weapons were involved.
Koehler had only recently moved into the downtown apartment where police tactical members broke windows and threw in tear gas canisters Tuesday afternoon, and few neighbors at 92 Columbia St. knew anything about him.
An employee of Bangor Window Shade and Drapery Co., which is in the same building, said Koehler moved in only about a week ago, with a young woman and her young son.
“I didn’t think he looked 34,” the employee said of the accused killer. “He seemed sort of simple.”
Attempts to reach the landlord of the apartment building on Wednesday were unsuccessful.
Andrew Clifford, who lives on the second floor of the same building, said he knew Koehler.
“He was just a dude,” Clifford said.
Any link between Koehler, the woman he moved in with and the murdered Boutilier is still not clear and police have not been forthcoming. A search warrant affidavit and an arrest affidavit for Koehler have been sealed, according to William Stokes of the Maine Attorney General’s Office. A background check on Koehler revealed no violent criminal history.
The broken windows to the now-empty apartment were boarded up Wednesday. A peek inside other windows revealed furniture, some unpacked boxes and children’s toys.
It’s unclear where Koehler was living before moving downtown. Bill Rae at Manna Ministries, a shelter and food pantry on lower Main Street, has said Koehler, the woman he lived with and Boutilier all had come in for services in recent weeks.
Online, though, Koehler wrote that he was engaged and listed himself as a “proud parent.” He set up his MySpace page, listed under the name Serialreality, to market graphic art such as posters, business cards, promotional fliers, advertisements and logo designs. He hadn’t sold any of his art except for local logos and promotional materials for the now-closed Club Fuzion on Franklin Street and for local hip-hop record label Flophouse Records.
His dream was to move to California and work for comics publisher Top Cow Productions. Koehler listed artist and Top Cow executive Mark Silvestri as a hero on his MySpace profile.
Also included on the online profile were dozens of photos of the woman he moved in with, including some taken on a riverfront walkway near the Penobscot River and the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge.
While Koehler’s prior residence has not been revealed, the woman he moved in with lived in subsidized housing off Finson Road before moving downtown with Koehler, according to the young woman’s MySpace page. A neighbor there said the woman was friendly and lived there with her son and the son’s father.
Asked about Koehler, the neighbor said he had been around the apartment in recent weeks. An employee of Seamus’s, a variety store near the apartment complex, said she remembered Koehler and described him as a shady character.
The young woman who lived with Koehler, who is not being named because she has not been implicated in the crime, was online and checking her MySpace page Wednesday afternoon. Attempts to reach her by e-mail were unsuccessful.
Koehler last logged in to his MySpace account on Aug. 6. His profile is filled with sketches and drawings of aliens, comic book heroes, mythical creatures and ninjas. The sword video he describes as “me doing shaolin katana style.” Shaolin is a type of martial art and a katana is a Japanese sword.
He wrote that he attended the Art Institute of Philadelphia from 1994 to 1996, graduating in 1996 with degrees in industrial art and design and special effects. After he finished school, Koehler wrote that he tried to get into movie production, “with no success,” and took a job in computer-aided design (CAD). Koehler “got bored with that” and joined a bricklayers union in New Jersey for four years.
He wrote that he has reactive arthritis and became temporarily disabled in July 2004. Reactive arthritis, also called Reiter syndrome, occurs most frequently in men ages 20-40.
“Then I couldn’t walk but I could still draw,” Koehler wrote, and he eventually moved to Maine. He was living in Brewer when he was convicted of marijuana possession in 2006, according to Bangor Daily News records. Subsequent convictions for operating a vehicle without a license had him living in Bangor.
He may have lived for a time with family members in Carmel. No one answered the phone there Wednesday.
Joseph DiLeone, a friend of Koehler from Connecticut, posted a message about him on his MySpace page that reads, “Wow, the world is getting crazy. A good friend of mine was arrested for murder last night. This is insane. I just wanna say good luck to my friend.”
In an e-mail sent to the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday afternoon, DiLeone added, “He’s a great guy and a good friend. I love Colin and I’m praying for him.”
BDN reporter Nok-Noi Ricker contributed to this report