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.

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.

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

This photo provided by the Monroe County (Pa.) Penitentiary shows Bryan Kohberger. Arrest paperwork filed by the Pennsylvania State Police in the Monroe County Courthouse, Friday, December 30, 2022, said Kohberger, 28, was being held for extradition in a criminal homicide investigation into the murders of four students. of the University of Idaho, based on an active arrest warrant for first-degree murder issued by the Moscow Police Department and the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office. (Monroe County Correctional Facility (Pa.) via AP)

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 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.”

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.”

Thompson, the Idaho district attorney, urged anyone who knows Kohberger to call the police tip line to share the information.

“Call the hotline, report everything you know about him to help investigators, and eventually our office and the court system will fully understand everything there is to know about not just the individual, but what happened and why. Thompson said.

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 upon his return, Thompson said. The affidavit on four counts of first-degree murder in Idaho will remain sealed until it is returned, the prosecutor 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.

Autopsies showed that 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.

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