BANGOR, Maine — Three women who say they are friends of Colin Koehler sat in a downtown coffee shop on Friday and shared their insights about the man police say killed an Old Town woman last week.
“I’ve never seen him upset,” said Jessica Frost, 24, of Brewer.
The featured photo on Frost’s MySpace page shows her, Koehler and another friend all smiling.
“He’s not a shady character,” said Melissa Noyes, 26, of Bangor. “Colin is simple. He does have a delay. He’s just a nice guy, and you’d never think he’d do something like this.”
“When I heard his name on the news, I was in total denial and thought, ‘That can’t be him,’” said Rachel Frost, 27, of Brewer.
All three — the Frost sisters and Noyes — are listed as “friends” on Koehler’s MySpace site and have known him for about three years, they said.
“He’s definitely not the monster everybody thinks he is,” Noyes said.
Tactical team members of the Bangor Police Department took Koehler, 34, into custody on Tuesday after using tear gas to force him from his Columbia Street apartment. Koehler had barricaded himself inside.
Weapons were removed from his apartment, and he was arrested hours later and charged with the murder of Holly Boutilier, 19. He is in jail awaiting a bail hearing.
His friends say they are not surprised that weapons were removed from his apartment.
“He was a huge collector of comic books and swords,” said Rachel Frost.
She was with Koehler when he recorded a video of himself wielding a sword, which is posted on his MySpace page.
“I said [to him], ‘What a dork,’” she recalled.
The trio said they knew Koehler smoked marijuana and speculated that might be a reason he didn’t want to open the door for police on Tuesday.
“He smoked pot,” Noyes said, “but he was just your happy-go-lucky stoner.”
His three friends say they are frustrated that few details have been released about how Boutilier was killed and how Koehler was involved. Boutilier was found dead on Sunday in a shack hidden among trees along the Penobscot River between the end of Dutton Street and the Veterans’ Remembrance Bridge.
The autopsy indicates she was a victim of homicide, but the cause of death has not been released. Police say the accused and Boutilier knew each other, but are releasing few other facts.
“We just want some answers,” Noyes said.
The three friends, who did not know Boutilier, last got together with Koehler as a group during a New Year’s Eve party at his apartment, which at the time was above the Thai Siam restaurant in Bangor. Noyes and Rachel Frost said they each had seen him in passing in the last couple of weeks.
“[His new girlfriend] definitely consumed his life,” Noyes said. “When he got engaged [in April] he sent out a mass text.”
The Frost sisters and Noyes each said they planned to visit or write Koehler, who is being held at Penobscot County Jail.
“He has to know we’re there for him,” Rachel Frost said.
“I’m sure he doesn’t realize we all care,” Noyes said.
Justice Michaela Murphy in Penobscot County Superior Court, during his first appearance Thursday, ordered that Koehler undergo a psychiatric evaluation to assure that he is capable of participating in his own defense.
Even though they have fond memories of Koehler, the three women know there is a chance that their friend did indeed commit the crime.
“Everybody is capable of murder,” Noyes said. “Everyone has a breaking point.”
“If he did it, justice should be served,” Rachel Frost said.