It appeared to be a cold-blood murder – 20-year-old Megan Troen was shot seven times, including in the back of the head, and her body wrapped in duct tape was dumped in the California Aqueduct in west Fresno County two years ago.
But at a hearing on Monday in Fresno County Superior Court, a sheriff’s homicide detective testified that Kaleo Schreiner, 23, confessed to killing Troen in July 2015 to “to set her free” from her unhappy life.
Detective Jose Diaz said Schreiner told him that Troen was suicidal and depressed: “He basically said he was taking her out of her misery.”
Prosecutor Brian Hutchins, however, said the killing was premeditated murder because Schreiner had written in his notebook about killing Troen a year before she was slain. And after three hours of testimony, Judge Alvin Harrell III ruled there was sufficient evidence to order Schreiner to stand trial on a charge of murder.
He basically said he was taking her out of her misery.
Sheriff’s detective Jose Diaz
For the first time, details about Troen’s killing were made public.
The testimony revealed that Troen and Schreiner grew up in Tracy and were close friends. Both were bipolar. In addition, Schreiner is schizophrenic, while Troen suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. Neither was taking their medication at the time of her slaying, the testimony revealed.
Diaz testified that Troen lived with her mother in Tracy. When Troen didn’t come home the night of July 20, 2015, her mother called the Tracy Police Department the next day to report her daughter missing.
About 10 days later, state workers discovered a decomposed body in the California Aqueduct near Nees Avenue and Interstate 5 in the Firebaugh area. The body was in black garbage bags that were wrapped with duct tape.
Detectives learned the identify several days later after they put a description of the victim’s tattoo (a green question mark on her right ankle), clothing and necklace in a state databank of missing people.
Sgt. Matthew Hamilton testified that the victim was shot seven times, including in the back of the head, in her chest and abdomen, and in her buttocks.
During his investigation, Diaz testified a key piece of evidence turned up – Schreiner’s notebook, which had lyrics of his rap songs and handwritten entries in which he wrote about killing Troen.
On July 30, 2015, state workers discovered the body of Megan Troen, 20, of Tracy, in the California Aqueduct in west Fresno County.
Diaz testified that people had seen Schreiner driving around Tracy in a black and white BMW around the time Troen disappeared. The BMW was discovered abandoned in Baldwin Park on Aug. 5. In the back seat, police found blood.
Diaz said he interviewed Schreiner on Aug. 22 after El Monte police arrested him.
He testified that Schreiner told him that he went to Southern California to kill his brother.
During the interview, Diaz said Schreiner talked rapidly, so he had to tell him to slow down.
The detective also said Schreiner voiced rap lyrics and cried at times. “He was emotional,” Diaz testified.
Initially, Schreiner denied killing Troen, Diaz said. Then he confessed to picking her up in Tracy and driving her to Bethany Reservoir State Recreation Area, northeast of Livermore, where he said he shot her, Diaz testified. Schreiner said he then placed her body in the aqueduct, the detective said.
Diaz said Schreiner told him that he wanted to get caught. He said he put some of his clothing with Troen’s body and didn’t weigh it down so the body would one day float to the surface, the detective said.
And when Diaz showed Schreiner his notebook with the entry about killing Troen, the detective said Schreiner looked surprised, but denied any premediation in the killing of Troen.