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Idaho murder suspect plans to waive extradition hearing

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A suspect arrested in connection with the murder of four University of Idaho students plans to waive an extradition hearing so he can be rushed to Idaho to face murder charges, his defense attorney said at the Saturday.

Bryan Kohberger, a Ph.D. aged 28. student and teaching assistant in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, was stopped Friday morning by Pennsylvania State Police at his parents’ home in Chestnuthill Township, authorities said.

“We believe we’ve got our man,” Moscow Police Department Captain Anthony Dahlinger told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Investigators obtained Kohberger’s DNA samples directly from the suspect after he was arrested, Dahlinger said.

“He is the one who we believe is responsible for all four murders,” he said.

Bill Thompson, the district attorney for Latah County, Idaho, said during a news conference on Friday that investigators believe Kohberger broke into a University of Idaho student home near campus “with the intent to commit murder.” The bodies of the students – Kaylee Gonçalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin – were found on Nov. 13, several hours after investigators believe they died.

The arrest in the disturbing case brought a sense of relief to the small college town of northern Idaho after weeks passed with little information released by police. But it also raised questions about whether the suspect knew the victims, what he has been up to in the weeks since the murders and how authorities located him in Pennsylvania.

Many of those details will come out after Kohberger makes his first appearance in an Idaho courtroom, Dahlinger said. State law prohibits police from releasing most investigation records while the investigation is ongoing, and investigators have kept many details about the investigation secret to avoid jeopardizing the case, he said.

“I really hope everyone out there can understand the ‘why’ behind us keeping so much information close to our vest,” said Dahlinger. “This is the positive result we were looking for all along.”

Kohberger’s attorney, top public defender Jason LaBar, said Kohberger is eager to be exonerated and plans to tell a judge in Monroe County, Pa., on Tuesday that he will waive the extradition hearing so he can be taken away quickly. to Idaho.

LaBar also warned people against prosecuting the case until a fair trial is held. The case sparked much speculation on social media, with would-be detectives suggesting possible motives and often trying to pin the blame for the deaths on various friends and acquaintances of the victims.

“Sir. Kohberger has been charged with very serious crimes, but the American justice system covers him with a veil of innocence,” LaBar wrote in a prepared statement. public.”

Police are now trying to understand “every aspect” of Kohberger, Dahlinger said. When the arrest was announced, investigators urged anyone who knew Kohberger to call a hotline to share information.

The response was immediate.

“We got 400 phone calls in the first hour after the press conference, which is great,” said Dahlinger. “We are trying to build this image now of him: who he is, his story, how we got to this event, why this event occurred.”

Neighbors of the Kohberger family in Chestnuthill Township, Pennsylvania, told The (Scranton) Times-Tribune on Friday that they were shocked to see police vehicles outside the home.

Eileen Cesaretti, who lives across the street, said she loves Kohberger’s parents and is fond of their son, who she said helped her and her husband with chores when he came home from school.

“I don’t think he’s capable of doing something like that. I pray to God that he is innocent,” Cesaretti said.

Nephi Duff lives next door to Bryan Kohberger in a Washington State University apartment complex for graduate students and families. He told Spokane, Wash., television station KREM2 that recent crimes like the Moscow murders had left him feeling insecure.

“I don’t remember seeing him around,” Duff said of Kohberger. “I thought I was moving to a small, safe community, but that hasn’t happened recently. I just think if these things are happening right under my nose, how am I going to protect (my family)?”

BK Norton, a student in WSU’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, said on Friday that he didn’t know Kohberger well, but he didn’t like him.

“We interacted in class, but personally I wasn’t a fan of Bryan because of the comments he made about LGBTQ+ individuals,” they said in an email to the Associated Press. “He was a little weird, but I always thought it was because he was awkward and wanted to fit in.”

Federal and state investigators are now combing through Kohberger’s background, financial records and electronic communications as they work to identify a motive and build the case, a law enforcement official who was unable to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation and spoke to the Associated Press under the condition of anonymity. Investigators are also interviewing people who knew Kohberger, including those at WSU, the official said.

Kohberger is being held without bond in Pennsylvania and will be held without bond in Idaho once he is returned, Thompson, the Latah County prosecutor, said. The affidavit on four counts of first-degree murder in Idaho will remain sealed until it is returned, Thompson said. He is also accused of theft in Idaho. An extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

The students — Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Wash. — were members of the university’s Greek system and close friends. Mogen, Gonçalves and Kernodle lived in the rented three-story house with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were making out and he was visiting the house that night.

The autopsies showed all four were likely asleep when they were attacked. Some had defensive wounds and each had been stabbed multiple times. There were no signs of sexual assault, according to police.

Ben Roberts, a graduate student in WSU’s department of criminology and criminal justice, described Kohberger as confident and outgoing, but said it seemed like “he was always looking for a way to fit in.”

“I honestly thought he was super clumsy.” said Roberts.

Roberts started the program in August — along with Kohberger, he said — and has taken several courses with him. He described Kohberger as wanting to appear academic.

“One thing he always did, almost without fail, was find the most complicated way to explain something,” he said.

The arrest marked a bittersweet moment for officers, Dahlinger said.

“We are very excited that we were able to locate Mr. Kohberger and arrest him, but we still feel the sadness and grief,” he said. “We feel terrible for the families and the loss of their loved ones.”


Levy reported from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Balsamo reported from Washington. News Researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York; reporters Mark Scolforo and Brooke Schultz in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Michael Kunzelman in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Martha Bellisle in Seattle also contributed.