BY JULIE MANGANIS STAFF WRITER
The Salem News
---- — PEABODY — A Salem State University junior from Peabody has been charged with taking part in a Billerica home invasion that left a man dead in July.
Peter Bin, 25, of Bay State Boulevard, Peabody, is being held on $500,000 cash bail on charges that include murder, attempted armed robbery, home invasion and illegal possession of a firearm. He was arraigned Monday in Lowell District Court.
Bin is the third person charged in connection with the July 7 home invasion in which Quintin Koehler, 22, was shot to death.
Another suspect, Jason Estabrook, 28, of Lynn, is also facing a murder charge in Koehler’s death and is being held without bail. The third suspect, Gabriel Arias, 20, of Lynn, was ordered held on $20,000 on charges of misleading investigators, according to a press release from the Middlesex County district attorney’s office.
Prosecutors said in court that Bin was linked to the scene through DNA evidence found on a hat that was allegedly left behind at Koehler’s home. The DNA was matched to a sample that was surreptitiously collected from a cigarette butt that Bin was seen discarding during the course of an investigation by state and Billerica police.
Bin’s attorney, Paul Moraski, said his client has no adult record and in addition to going to school has a job at a Peabody firm called Logix Health. He lives with his parents, the lawyer said.
Middlesex District Attorney Gerald Leone said in a statement that Bin acted as part of a joint venture with Estabrook and others who have not yet been identified publicly, in a plan to rob the victim of marijuana and money they believed he had in his home.
The suspects ended up in a confrontation with the victim and another witness in the kitchen. During a struggle, Koehler was shot in the head.
Bin had been called to testify before a Middlesex County grand jury in September, but after beginning his testimony, he consulted with Moraski and then invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, the lawyer said yesterday.
Police reports and other documents in the case were ordered impounded by a Lowell District Court judge at the request of prosecutors, who cited the ongoing investigation.
Moraski persuaded the judge to allow Bin to be arraigned from a set of stairs leading into the courtroom holding dock, instead of requiring him to appear in open court, arguing that the identification of his client is “shaky.”
The DNA evidence, Moraski said, may not be conclusive because other DNA was also found on the hat.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.