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Inside Idaho Four Murder Suspect Bryan Kohberger’s Flight After His Extradition Order Back to Idaho

Left: Bryan Kohberger; Top Right: Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, Bottom Right: Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen

Murder suspect Bryan Kohberger appears in a mugshot; the four victims of the Idaho University Student murder case appear in images supplied by the Kernodle family.

University of Idaho student murder suspect Bryan Kohberger, 28, boarded a flight from Pennsylvania back to Idaho on Wednesday morning by way of a small, Pennsylvania State Police plane. After roughly 15 hours of travel, and stopping twice to refuel, he landed at 6:24 p.m. Pacific Standard Time and was immediately taken into custody by law enforcement, who quickly led the defendant into a grey pickup truck, on the way to the Latah County Jail.

News crews eagerly awaited the suspect’s arrival on the tarmac at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, where reporters who sat in, and stood near, parked cars for hours were eventually asked to pay a six-dollar parking fee by local fire department officials.

According to Latah County Sheriff Richard Skiles, upon arrival the defendant will be housed in the 37-inmate capacity jail. Kohberger, however, will not be part of the lockup facility’s general population.

Kohberger will be the highest-profile person to ever by incarcerated in the local and relatively tiny jail, Latah County, or the broader agricultural region of the Gem State known as The Palouse.

The defendant left the Keystone State and the authority of the Pennsylvania State Police as he entered the doors of the 47-foot-long plane during the early morning hours of Jan. 4, 2023; the responsibility for his transportation fell to the City of Moscow during the trip, though he technically remained in PSP custody throughout. After setting foot in the once-sleepy college town, however, the defendant became the responsibility of the sheriff’s office.

In a brief talk with Law&Crime Network’s Angenette Levy, Skiles said his office was prepared for Kohberger’s arrival and that the jail would be able to accommodate the defendant’s “strict” vegan diet. The defendant will also have access to books and a telephone.

The sheriff said that Kohberger will be housed separately from other inmates and with additional security for the occasion. Skiles recently pegged the population of the facility as nearly 60 percent full.

The man accused of stabbing University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, on Nov. 13, 2022, is a graduate student in the criminal justice program at Washington State University in Pullman, roughly 9 miles due west of Moscow across the Washington State border.

The grisly quadruple homicide has rocked the formerly quiet community, unleashing an avalanche of national press and attention on the small town as well as concomitant fears for public safety.

Through an attorney, the defendant has expressed his innocence and desire to return to Idaho, face the charges, and clear his name. Kohberger’s family recently released a fulsome statement of support through Pennsylvania public defender Jason Allen LaBar.

The defendant was arrested at around 2:00 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 30, 2022, at his parents’ home in Chestnuthill Township, Pennsylvania, and he waived extradition back to Idaho during a reportedly emotional hearing on the afternoon of Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023.

Kohberger currently stands accused of four counts of murder in the first degree and one count of felony burglary for allegedly breaking into an off-campus house and stabbing the four students to death during the early morning hours of that fateful mid-November night. As Law&Crime previously reported, some, but not all of the students were killed as they slept, according to the Latah County Coroner.

The defendant’s initial court appearance in Latah County has yet to be scheduled, the court clerk told Law&Crime.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Second Judicial District Magistrate Judge Megan E. Marshall issued a gag order in the case which was stipulated to by both the state and the defense. The order is keyed toward making sure the headline-generating defendant receives a fair trial in the small community. The order prohibits law enforcement, attorneys, and agents of either the defense or the state from communicating with the general public or the media. Moscow police have already said they will no longer be commenting on the case.

The defendant’s form of transport was presaged, in a sense, by Art Roderick, the former top investigator for the U.S. Marshals, earlier this week. Listen to his insights on how the agency arranged the transfer of high-profile suspects in Law&Crime’s Sidebar podcast below:

Angenette Levy contributed to this report.

[images: Kohberger via Monroe County Correctional Facility; Goncalves, Chapin, Kernodle, and Mogen via Kernodle family]

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