Greer murder probe remains stalled

September 7, 2012

Gerald Greer


Brian Greer is not happy with the progress of an investigation into the 2009 murder of his father, and is particularly upset that San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s detectives seem to periodically refocus on him as a suspect.

Gerald (Jerry) Greer, 71, was sleeping in his Templeton home when a fusillade of bullets tore through his body, killing him instantly. The March 28 slaying has remained unsolved, and Brian Greer said he believes the probe has been compromised by several changes in the sheriff’s homicide team.

“Their investigation has gone nowhere. And every time they get a new lead investigator, they start over, and they start with me,” Brian Greer said.

No comment on Brian Greer’s assertions was forthcoming from sheriff’s officials. (See update below.)

“The case was huge, as my dad knew everyone,” Brian said.

The Greers are a family with deep ties to the area, settling on a ranch on Santa Rita Road in 1940. Jerry Greer and his three siblings all attended Templeton High School, where he graduated in 1957. He was a quiet man, well-known and popular in the community, and his mysterious murder rattled people in Templeton and surrounding areas for months afterward.

It also has transformed and divided the Greer family.

Brian Greer, 45, is a sergeant at Soledad State Prison. He recalled that his father’s body was discovered on a Saturday, but sheriff’s officials did not immediately notify him or his sister of the death. Instead, he heard about the slaying when a coworker sent him a text the following Monday.

By then, he said, investigators had already completed their forensic examination of the murder scene, and had turned the house over to the victims’ brother, Gene, the night before.

“To me, that seems awful fast to collect evidence,” Brian said. And when sheriff’s deputies recovered Jerry Greer’s will in the house, it listed Brian and his sister, Debbie Thompson, as the only beneficiaries.

Gene Greer had discovered his brother’s body after Jerry failed to show up with a tractor part. The front door was locked, the back door standing open. The house appeared undisturbed.

Family problems started almost immediately, Brian said. His uncle “virtually helped himself” to Jerry Greer’s belongings, apparently allowed by deputies, and it took a subsequent court ruling for Brian and his sister to recover the goods.

Brian said he knew that his father’s immediate family would lead the list of suspects.

“That’s just the way it is,” he said. “I wanted the sheriff to look at me as soon as possible, because I know family comes (under suspicion) first. I volunteered my computer, my cell phone, my DNA, anything they wanted. I got my computer back two months later, scratched, the hard drive disconnected. No respect.”

According to Brian, investigators looked closely at a young woman who lived in the neighborhood, who had problems with drugs and the law, and her boyfriend, a Los Osos resident, but that trail dried up when the pair retained an attorney.

Brian claims investigators botched what he considered a solid lead he had provided.

“About six months ago, Det. Dave Marquez began contacting me,” Brian said. “He brought a team of detectives out to the house, with my permission, to look things over. I was told they were newly assigned. I gladly opened my house to them as I didn’t want to impede their investigation.”

But even then, Brian said, the probe’s focus always seemed to land back at his feet.

“I had been running ads on Craiglist, repeating circumstances (of his father’s murder) and asking for help. A girl from Atascadero called me. I talked to her in person. She told me she had spoken with a man three years ago about the murder, who told her that a group of three or four people from Atasdcadero plotted the murder,” he said.

Robbery was said to be the motive, Brian said, because his dad was known to keep substantial amounts of cash in the house, but nothing appeared to be missing in the aftermath.

“That girl gave me the name of a woman she thought was involved,” Brian said, adding that he immediately gave the sheriff all the information.

“But instead of asking me about her, [a detective] sat me down and questioned me all over again. He had me write what I was doing the six days prior to the murder, and wanted to know what guns I owned. These are questions I had already been asked, but I didn’t object and answered all their questions.”

Brian said he “was disturbed that after all this time they were still considering me a suspect. I told them they wouldn’t find my DNA in my dad’s house as I had nothing to do with this.”

The detective said, “Only you know if you killed your dad. Why don’t you just admit it?”

A few weeks later, detectives contacted Brian and asked for information on the conversation he had with the young woman.

“They said I had either given them the wrong number or they had lost it. I had already deleted the number from my cell phone. It really pisses me off that they waited all that time to follow up on that information.

“My dad was the most important person in my life,” Brian added. “He meant everything to me. And the investigators — they have come up with nothing.”

Brian and his sister are offering a substantial reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

UPDATE: A day after initial requests by CalCoastNews, sheriff’s public information officer Tony Cipolla provided the following “official statement” from the department: “In order to protect the integrity of this ongoing, active investigation, the sheriff’s office cannot currently release any information about this case.”

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Right after the murder, a connected local who went to school with the son told me that he and other locals immediately suspected the son. Daddy was frugal and was not distributing the wealth like other wealthy dads were and he felt cheated of his entitlement.

I can understand suspecting the son EARLY on but from what I read of the article and the way the son has handled everything, I have doubts that he is involved.

To the person hiding behind the username of “obispan” – You are a liar. I never felt cheated of any “entitlement”. I am truly blessed to of had such a wonderful Father who sacrificed so much in life to make his kids lives better. It is so unfortunate that more people can’t do the same, maybe there would be fewer people like yourself in this world.

Sounds like our detectives worked with the team from Colorado that oversaw Jon Benet Ramsey.

“The detective said, “Only you know if you killed your dad. Why don’t you just admit it?”

Translation: “I’m a clueless dumba ss that’s why I’m a SLO County detective”


Dear citizens lamenting the sad state of the American family in general and local L.E. in particular: Look in the mirror.

Brian’s father was killed on a Saturday and he found out via text message two days later?! That’s just awful and unacceptable.

My condolences to the Greer family and let’s hope the Sheriffs dept acts in a more professional manner. Thank you for going public with this situation, Brian. Many locals have wondered what happened with this investigation.Sadly, it sounds like it was botched from the beginning.

I agree 100% and I would like to add that the LE had no business releasing Gerald’s home to his brother as he was not the immediate next of kin. Something very similar occurred here in A-Town 2 years ago when an acquaintance of mine was found deceased in her bed. Her brother (who was not next of kin) was allowed to take all her possessions and even her car that same night! Her children lived right here in the area but were not notified immediately and while they got the car back, he kept the rest of the items that he “stole”. Her daughter didn’t even get her mothers jewelry. Disgusting…………

Be fore warned, I was told the Sheriiff Dept. policy is they dont get involved in family matters. What a crock.I feel they should control the crime scene and not allow anything to be taken off the property, until the investigation is concluded and the listed next of kin take ownership of the estate. It is very sad to know that they are so careless. After taking an oath to serve and protect. At the minimum they should of inventoried the personal property as it left the front door. Better yet here’s a novel concept: Notify the next of kin. Being that the Grreer Family didn’t have the heart, they were too busy worrying about what was in it for them. When asked, ”Why did’nt you call me or my Sister? Gene said” We were going to let the authorities contact you.” Yes folks- those are my family. if it was’nt for a co worker 75 miles away at 6:39 AM Monday morning- iI’m not sure when I would of found out. My Sister and I were the last to hear of my Dad’s murder.