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Idaho Murder Suspect Agrees to Waive Extradition from Pennsylvania, Issues Statement Via Attorney That He’s ‘Eager to be Exonerated’

Bryan Kohberger mugshot

Bryan Kohberger (via Monroe County Correctional Facility)

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, the 28-year-old arrested Friday in Pennsylvania in connection to the murders of four college students, has agreed to waive extradition back to Idaho but seems poised to fight the charges, issuing a statement through his attorney that he is “eager to be exonerated.”

Kohberger is facing four counts of murder for the stabbing deaths of University of Idaho students, Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20. The three women and Chapin, Kernodle’s boyfriend, were discovered stabbed to death on Nov. 13 in the home the women were renting near campus.

On Friday morning, Kohberger was arrested by the FBI and Pennsylvania State Police, arraigned by a Monroe County judge and ordered held without bail. He is a PhD student in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, just over 8 miles from the location of the murders in Moscow, Idaho.

According to authorities, Kohberger traveled to the Poconos Mountains area where his parents live for the holidays, and the FBI tracked him as he made the 2,500 mile cross country drive in a white Hyundai Elantra, the make and model of car that Moscow police had publicly identified as a focus of their investigation into the murders.

CNN reported on Saturday that the FBI tracked Kohberger for four days while police gathered probable cause for a warrant. A law enforcement source told CNN that Kohberger was identified by running unknown DNA evidence found at the crime scene and running it through a public genetic genealogy database to find potential DNA relatives of the suspect.

Jason Allen LaBar, the chief public defender for Monroe County who was appointed to represent Kohberger in Pennsylvania, issued a statement on his client’s behalf, as reported by NBC Philadelphia.

“Mr. Kohberger intends to waive his extradition hearing to expedite his transport to Idaho,” said LaBar. “Mr. Kohberger has been accused of very serious crimes, but the American justice system cloaks him in a veil of innocence. He should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise – not tried in the court of public opinion. One should not pass judgment about the facts of the case unless and until a fair trial in court at which time all sides may be heard and inferences challenged.”

“Mr. Kohberger is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible,” added LaBar.

In an interview with CNN, LaBar provided additional details about his client’s arrest, confirming that Kohberger was arrested at his parents’ house in Pennsylvania and was “cooperative” with police. According to LaBar, Kohberger’s white Hyundai Elantra was found at his parents’ house at the time of his arrest.

Kohberger is being held in a single cell, and “on 24-hour watch by the guards there to ensure his safety,” LaBar said, adding that he has recommended psychological testing for his client before the case proceeds.

LaBar noted that the scope of his representation of Kohberger was limited to the extradition back to Idaho and he did not really know much about the case and “didn’t want to discuss the case with him because I’m merely his representation for this procedural issue.”

The probable cause affidavit, which includes the evidence supporting Kohberger’s arrest, remains sealed under Idaho law until he returns to Idaho and is served with those papers in court, according to NBC News. At that time, the document will become public.

The attorney also told CNN that it was an “easy decision” not to contest extradition because “he doesn’t contest that he is Bryan Kohberger” and its as “likely” that law enforcement “have location data from his cell phone already putting him on the border of Washington and Idaho.”

LaBar said he has recommended his client be psychologically tested before court proceedings. He described his client as “very intelligent” and “shocked a little bit.”

Kohberger’s parents were “also very shocked,” said LaBar, who spoke to them for about 15 to 20 minutes Friday evening and was told it had been “real shock and awe” to have FBI and police “at their house at approximately 3 a.m.” knocking on the door to arrest their son.

NBC News interviewed Jordan Serulnek, a brewery owner in Pennsylvania near the college where Kohberger received his undergraduate and master’s degrees, who recalled his former patron causing problems for female staffers and customers:

Serulneck says Kohberger came to his brewery a few times and female staff would often complain about his behavior. Serulneck said the brewery is located in a college town and it’s not unusual for them to get “unusual characters,” but he remembered Kohberger from some interactions he had with female patrons and staff. He said Kohberger often come by himself, sit at the bar and be “observing and watching.”

Serulneck said staff scans everyone’s ID’s and they have a system where they can add notes about a patron that pop up whenever the ID is scanned.

“Staff put in there, ‘Hey, this guy makes creepy comments, keep an eye on him. He’ll have two or three beers and then just get a little too comfortable.’” Serulneck said Kohberger would ask the female staff or customers who they were at the brewery with, where they lived. He said if the women blew him off, “he would get upset with them a little bit,” noting that one time he called one of his staff members a b—- when she refused to answer his questions.

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