Man Sentenced in La Jolla Millionaire’s Murder

Kent Keigwin stole nearly $9 million from John Watson's estate after the murder

Kent Keigwin

A retired La Jolla biotech executive was shot with a stun gun before he was strangled and killed in his own apartment.

On Friday, Kent Thomas Keigwin, 61, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the death of La Jolla resident John Watson. 

Watson was convicted on five felony counts including first-degree murder, grand theft, burglary, identity theft and forgery.

Watson, 65, was found dead in his apartment on June 8, 2010. At first, detectives thought Watson had died from natural causes.

Then investigators discovered Watson’s friend, Kent Keigwin opened an account in Watson's name and had been transferring money from Watson's bank account into the new account.

Prosecutors said Keigwin had been tracking Watson on the day that he died.

The two older men struggled inside Watson's apartment. Keigwin hit Watson in the back with a stun gun and then strangled him.

Keigwin then impersonated Watson, using the victim's wallet and identification to help him transfer millions of dollars before his arrest.

Watson had been an executive with Johnson & Johnson. He became involved in Tech Coast Angels in 2008 after stepping down as chief executive of Ionian Technologies, a local biotechnology company.  He was a board member in the investment group, which provides money for startup companies.

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