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Suspect Responsible For The Death Of Four University of Idaho Students Revealed, Appears In Court

A suspect accused of murdering four University of Idaho students is under investigation and awaiting trial due to DNA matching placing him at the crime scene. Photo Courtesy of Alan Cleaver.

Investigators of the quadruple homicide in Moscow, Idaho, where students of the University of Idaho were found with multiple stab wounds, have identified a suspect. He appeared before the court on Jan. 12 for a status conference. 

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, a 2020 and 2022 psychology and forensic sciences graduate of DeSales University and criminology Ph.D. candidate at Washington State University, has been charged with four counts of murder in the first degree and a charge of felony burglary for the deaths of Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Gonclaves, 21, Ethan Chaplin, 20, and Xana Kernodle, 20. 

According to the Moscow Police Department’s affidavit, a matching DNA profile of a knife sheath found at the crime scene and trash collected from his parent’s residence in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, places Kohberger at the scene of the crime. 

During the investigation, a roommate of the deceased students is cooperating with the police anonymously as a witness and told the authorities that Kernodle (20), at approximately 4 AM in the morning, noticed an unknown figure and said “something to the effect of ‘there’s someone here,’” the affidavit replays. 

Then the roommate explained to hear crying from Kernodle’s room. When proceeding to open her room door, she witnessed the unknown figure walking towards her “in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose … the figure was as 5’10” or taller, male, not very muscular, but athletically built.” She secured herself inside her room, where the intruder later left the premises.

Throughout the course of the police investigation, they have found crucial evidence such as a shoe print, DNA from the suspect, and video footage of a white Sedan seen stalking the house and driving past the house four to five times before the intrusion. Corporal Brett Payne, a police officer with the Moscow Police Department, commented in the court affidavit on this criminal behavior.

“On numerous occasions, subjects will survey an area where they intend to commit a crime prior to the date of the crime… Depending on the circumstance, this could be done a few days before or several months prior to the commission of a crime,” Corporal Payne explained in the affidavit.

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New evidence shows that the phone number registered with the white Sedan also connected Kohberger as the owner. Reports show he used his phone when close to the apartment complex on the morning of Nov. 13 and even then powered it down between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m, the exact same time frame of the murders.

“Individuals can either leave their cellular telephone at a different location before committing a crime or turn their cellular phone off prior to going to a location to commit a crime. This is done by subjects in an effort to avoid alerting law enforcement that a cellular device associated with them was in a particular area where a crime is committed,” Corporal Payne explained.

Due to the evidence collected, Kohberger was arrested in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, in the late days of December and transported back to Idaho, where he is being held at Latah County Jail without bail. 

While in court on Jan. 12, Kohberger waived his right to a speedy preliminary hearing, which was supposed to occur within the 14 days he appeared in court. However, Kohberger and his Council instead scheduled his preliminary hearing towards the end of June. The preliminary hearings will begin at 9 a.m. on Monday, June 26.

Copy edited by Jadyn Barnett

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