On November 13, 2022, four University of Idaho students were brutally stabbed to death in their off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho. Here’s everything you need to know about Bryan Kohberger and the Idaho murders.
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The victims were Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle, all in their early twenties. Two other housemates survived the attack by locking themselves in their rooms. The suspect was identified as Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminology Ph.D. student at nearby Washington State University. He was arrested on January 4, 2023, after DNA and eyewitness evidence linked him to the crime scene. He has been charged with four counts of murder in the first degree, along with one count of felony burglary.
Who is Bryan Kohberger?
Bryan Kohberger grew up in Pennsylvania, where he graduated from high school in 2013. He attended Penn State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminology and psychology in 2017. He then enrolled in a master’s program in criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he graduated in 2020. He was accepted into the Ph.D. program in criminology at Washington State University in August 2020. He moved to Pullman, Washington, where he lived with his father, Michael Kohberger, a retired police officer.
According to his online profile, Kohberger was interested in studying crime prevention, criminal justice policy, and offender rehabilitation. He had published several academic papers on topics such as juvenile delinquency, prison overcrowding, and drug abuse. He was also a member of several professional associations and honor societies related to criminology and sociology.
Kohberger had no prior criminal record or history of mental illness. His former professors and classmates described him as a smart, polite, and hardworking student who showed no signs of violence or aggression. His family and friends expressed shock and disbelief at his arrest, saying that he was a kind and gentle person who loved animals and nature.
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What happened on the night of the murders?
On the night of November 12, 2022, the six housemates who lived at 1234 Main Street in Moscow went out for dinner and drinks at a local restaurant. They returned home around midnight and went to their respective bedrooms. Around 4 a.m., a masked intruder entered the house through a rear sliding door that was left unlocked. He proceeded to stab four of the housemates multiple times with a large knife, killing them instantly or shortly after.
The Idaho Murders were a shocking and tragic event that claimed the lives of four University of Idaho students in November 2022. The victims were Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin, who were all stabbed to death in their off-campus residence in Moscow, Idaho.
The suspect, Bryan Kohberger, was a criminology Ph.D. student at Washington State University, who fled the state after the killings and was arrested in Pennsylvania a month later. He has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary. Two other roommates, Bethany Funke and Dylan Mortenson, survived the attack and are now involved in a legal dispute over whether Funke should testify at Kohberger’s preliminary hearing.
The defense claims she has exculpatory information for Kohberger, while Funke’s attorney argues that there is no basis for the subpoena and that it would cause her undue hardship. The Idaho Murders have shaken the community of Moscow and the University of Idaho, where the victims were studying various majors such as psychology, sociology, and engineering. They are remembered by their families and friends as bright, kind, and compassionate people who had promising futures ahead of them.
What evidence links him to the killings?
The police investigation into the Idaho murders revealed several pieces of evidence that implicated Kohberger as the perpetrator.
- DNA evidence: The police found blood samples from Kohberger at the crime scene and on one of the knives used in the stabbings. They also found DNA from one of the victims on Kohberger’s clothing and shoes.
- Eyewitness evidence: Dylan Mortenson, one of the surviving roommates, told the police that she saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask walking towards her after she heard crying from upstairs. She recognized the figure as Kohberger by his voice and his distinctive gait.
- Surveillance footage: The police obtained video footage from nearby cameras that showed Kohberger driving his car to and from the King Road residence on the night of the murders. They also found footage that showed him buying black clothing, gloves, and masks from a local store a few days before the killings.
- Criminology books: The police searched Kohberger’s apartment and seized several books on criminology, serial killers, and forensic psychology. Some of them had notes and annotations that indicated Kohberger’s fascination with violent crimes and his desire to emulate them.
- Motive evidence: The police interviewed Kohberger’s acquaintances and learned that he had a crush on Madison Mogen, one of the victims. They also discovered that he had been rejected by her a few weeks before the murders. They speculated that Kohberger was driven by jealousy, anger, and resentment towards Mogen and her friends.
Trial and verdict
The trial and verdict of Bryan Kohberger and the Idaho murders have been a source of intense public interest and media scrutiny. Kohberger, a former University of Idaho student, was accused of stabbing four of his classmates to death in their apartment on November 13, 2022. The victims were Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, and Xana Kernodle, all aged 20 or 21.
Kohberger was arrested on December 30, 2022, after a month-long manhunt that involved multiple law enforcement agencies and tips from the public. He was charged with four counts of first-degree murder, which carry a possible death penalty in Idaho. He pleaded not guilty and waived his right to a speedy trial.
His preliminary hearing is set to be held on June 26, 2023, in Latah County Magistrate Court. The hearing is closed to the public and the media by order of Judge Megan Marshall, who cited concerns about Kohberger’s right to a fair trial and the safety of witnesses. The order was challenged by a coalition of media companies, who petitioned the Idaho Supreme Court for a writ of mandamus or prohibition to vacate the order. The Supreme Court denied the petition on April 24, 2023, finding that neither writ was appropriate at that time.
At the preliminary hearing, the prosecution presented evidence from the crime scene, including knives, dark clothes, and criminology books that were seized from Kohberger’s home. They also called several witnesses, including two surviving roommates who were injured in the attack. One of them, Bethany Funke, had resisted testifying for Kohberger’s defense, claiming she had no exculpatory information for him. She was compelled by a Nevada court to travel to Idaho and testify under subpoena.
The defense argued that Kohberger was not the killer, but rather a victim of mistaken identity and false accusations. They claimed that he had an alibi for the night of the murders and that he had no motive or connection to the victims. They also questioned the credibility and reliability of the witnesses and the evidence.
After hearing both sides, Judge Marshall ruled that there was probable cause to bind Kohberger over for trial in district court. She also ordered him to remain in custody without bail until his trial date, which has not been set yet. Kohberger faces a possible sentence of life imprisonment without parole or death by lethal injection or firing squad if convicted.