The attorney for a Navy SEAL accused of beating and stabbing a man to death said that his client was innocent and that he had initially confronted the man because he was taking photos of young girls on the Santa Monica Pier.
Attorney Anthony Salerno on Thursday said his client, Theo Andrew Krah, was on the pier Saturday afternoon for a paddleboard competition when he saw the man eyeing young girls and taking pictures of them.
“Theo confronted the man and demanded to see his camera,” Salerno said. “The man refused. Believing that the man was committing a crime, Theo physically restrained the man and asked for a bystander to call for the police.”
The scene drew the attention of many onlookers, who Salerno said could have hurt the man.
“It seems convenient to say the man who was trying to do the right thing was the man who killed this guy,” he said.
Santa Monica police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Krah, 28, was arrested Monday in San Diego in connection with the fatal beating and stabbing of Kris Anderson. Krah, a Coronado-based SEAL, has been charged with murder along with a special allegation that he used a knife.
Krah pleaded not guilty Wednesday and is being held on $2-million bail, his attorney said.
“He is stoic and under control,” Salerno said. “He is trying to focus on what is going on.”
Anderson was a Santa Monica resident, police said.
Officers were called to break up a confrontation between Krah and Anderson on the pier about 4 p.m. Saturday, according to Santa Monica police Lt. Saul Rodriguez. Nobody was arrested or injured in that incident. Police separated the men, who then went their separate ways, Rodriguez said.
Roughly an hour later, Anderson was found lying in the 1300 block of 5th Street — about a half-mile from the pier — suffering from head trauma and stab wounds, police said.
Anderson died of his injuries at 4:40 a.m. Sunday at a hospital.
Krah and Anderson did not know each other before Saturday’s fight, Rodriguez said.
Krah’s attorney said his client remained at the pier for a short time after the incident, then drove back to his home in San Diego.
“Anybody could have done this,” Salerno said. “The question is who.”
On Wednesday, a Navy Personnel Command spokeswoman said she couldn’t comment on Krah’s arrest because he was a SEAL.
Navy spokesman Zach Keating in San Diego said Krah is a petty officer 2nd class assigned to a West Coast-based special warfare unit.
According to the Naval Special Warfare Command, the group has eight SEAL teams, one SEAL delivery vehicle team, three special boats and supporting units. About 9,200 personnel, including more than 2,700 active duty special warfare operators and 700 special warfare boat operators, make up the unit.
The Navy SEAL website describes the Naval Special Warfare Command as a “small, elite force.”
Krah, who enlisted in 2012, was awarded a Korean Defense Service medal after serving in South Korea, Keating said. He also earned a sea service deployment ribbon.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is also looking into Krah’s arrest.
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