As previously promised through his attorney, Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, waived extradition from Pennsylvania to Idaho to face charges that he stabbed four college students to death.
Once he returns to the Gem State, authorities can release his affidavit, perhaps shedding some light on why they believe he carried out the disturbing slayings. Four students at the University of Idaho — Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Madison Mogen, 21 — were stabbed to death at off-campus housing in the early morning hours of Nov. 13. Some, but not all, of them were killed as they slept, according to the Latah County Coroner.
The mystery murders rocked their sleepy college town of Moscow, Idaho. The highly publicized search for the culprit or culprits reached a pivotal turning point on Friday, with Kohberger’s arrest at his parents’ home in Monroe County, Pennsylvania.
Kohberger was stone faced when he appeared, nodding only to his family in the front row and avoiding eye contact with the press. Kohberger’s family held each other and cried, one even covering her face as his first-degree murder charge was mentioned.
— Sierra Gillespie (@sierragillespie) January 3, 2023
Pennsylvania authorities held a press conference on Tuesday, giving a general outline of their involvement. Major Christopher Paris of the state police told reporters that the FBI contacted them to help surveil Kohberger. They collaborated with Idaho authorities. They collected searchwarrants and a fugitive of justice warrant, he said. According to First Assistant District Attorney Mike Mancuso of Monroe County, the search warrants were for 1) Kohberger’s DNA and his pictures of him; 2) his white Hyundai Elantra; and 3) for his parents’ home. Paris declined to comment on whetehr investigators determined the motive. Mancuso said he cannot discuss if Kohberger had connections to the victims.
Police have said that they seized a 2015 white Hyundai Elantra. Kohberger’s Pennsylvania public defender Jason Allen LaBar has confirmed that the defendant drove this car. Cops have previously said they were looking for a 2011 to 2013 Hyundai Elantra, saying it was in the area of the murders.
Kohberger maintained his innocence through an attorney. His family expressed support for him.
“First and foremost we care deeply for the four families who have lost their precious children,” Kohberger’s family said in a statement released through LaBar. “There are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray each day for them. We will continue to let the legal process unfold, and as a family, we will love and support our son and brother. We have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in an attempt to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions.”
An attorney for Goncalves’ family welcomed news of the arrest, though they haven’t been able to read the affidavit yet.
“They’re not going to release it to us,” lawyer Shannon Gray told Law&Crime’s Angenette Levy.
Kohberger’s transfer to Idaho simply marks the beginning of his formal criminal case over there. For the victim families, it is the beginning of a long process.
“You know, you had hope that they would get an arrest,” Gray said. “Now you have to have hope that they’re going to get a conviction, that they’ve done all the things that they needed to do, that they dotted their I’s and crossed the T’s and they have evidence that will come in and we’ll get a good, hard evidence on this individual. And, you know, any additional circumstantial evidence that they can find that will add to the weight of the direct evidence and the hard evidence on the case. So they’re hopeful that that will happen. But it’s still a long journey. We’re nowhere near the end.”
Washington State University on Friday confirmed that Kohberger had just finished his first semester there as a Ph.D. student in the criminal justice program. School officials said they helped law enforcement execute search warrants at his apartment and office, both of which are on the Pullman campus.
Pullman, Washington, is about 10 miles west of Moscow, Idaho.
Angenette Levy contributed to this report.
[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]
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