Idaho student murders: who is Bryan Kohberger, what happened in court - is he being extradited?
Bryan Kohberger is accused of murdering Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin in November 2022
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Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger appeared in Pennsylvania court for the first time to voluntarily agree to be extradited. He will be taken to Idoho to face four counts of first degree murder charges. Kohberger denied the murders, but signed a document which agreed to his extradition, and will be moved to Idaho sometime during the next 10 days.
Once in Idaho, Kohberger will be served with an arrest warrant for the murders.
This is everything you need to know.
What are the Idaho murders?
Between 3am and 4am on the morning of 13 November 2022, four University of Idaho students were fatally stabbed whilst they were sleeping. Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves and Xana Kernodle all lived at the house together, with the fourth victim, Ethan Chapin, Kernodle’s boyfriend, sleeping over on the night of the attack.
The house was three storey’s and had six bedrooms, with two bedrooms on each floor. At a press conference held on 16 November, police confirmed that two additional roommates were at home during the time of the murders - the four victims were killed on the second and third floors, while the surviving roommates slept in their bedrooms on the ground floor.
At 11:58am, one of the surviving roommates called 911 asking for help with their “unconscious” roommate. After police arrived, all four victims were pronounced dead at 12 noon. Police said that there had been no sign of forced entry at the home, and that there were no signs of robbery.
Following the murders, investigators said that they believed the murders were “an isolated attack” with “targeted victims”, however Goncalves’ sister Alivea told local news outlet KHQ that she didn’t agree that the killings were “isolated”.
She said: “Anything can be isolated until it’s not and until we have someone in custody, there’s no way with any amount of confidence to say this is isolated. Someone did this with a purpose - not once, not twice, not three times, but four. I don’t know anything scarier than that.”
When asked by reporters why police believed the attacks to be isolated, James Fry, the City of Moscow, Idaho’s police chief, said: “We cannot say that there is no threat to the community. There is a threat out there, possibly.”
An investigation into the murders was launched which saw the Moscow Police Department supported by the Idaho State Police and the Latah County Sheriff’s Office. A phone and email tip line were created and by 5 December, over 6,000 tips regarding the case had been filed.
After receiving these tips, on 15 December, the police announced that they were focusing their efforts on finding a white Hyundai Elantras. An Elentra had been captured by a camera in the area of the murders around the time that they took place, with investigators eventually tracing the ownership of the vehicle.
According to CNN, sources said that Kohberger’s DNA had been “matched to genetic material recovered at the off-campus house where the students were stabbed to death”.
CNN reported: “Genetic genealogy helped investigators identify the suspect, a source with knowledge of the case said. DNA found in Idaho was taken through a public database to find potential matches for family members, the source said. Once potential family matches were found, subsequent investigative work by law enforcement led to the identification of Kohberger, according to the source.”
Specific details of the genetic genealogy has not yet been made available to the public, however after Kohberger is issued his arrest warrant upon arrival in Idaho, the authorities can unseal an affidavit of probable cause detailing what led police to Kohberger.
Who is Bryan Kohberger - when was he arrested?
Bryan Kohberger, 28, is a criminology graduate student at Washington State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, which is situated nine miles from the University of Idaho. According to a statement made by Washington State University, Kohberger had completed his first semester as a PhD student in WSU’s criminal justice program earlier in December.
The statement added: “This morning [30 December], the Washington State University Police Department assisted Idaho law enforcement officials in the execution of search warrants at Mr. Kohberger’s apartment and office, which are both located on the WSU Pullman campus. WSU Police are working closely with local, state, and federal law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation.”
Previously, Kohberger had received a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed his graduate studies for the Master of Arts in criminal justice program in June 2022 from DeSales University. In 2018, he graduated with an Associate of Arts and Psychology degree from Northampton Community College.
In June 2022, a Reddit post using Kohberger’s name posted an anonymous survey which related to a DeSales research project the user was conducting which sought to “understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision making when committing a crime”. The Reddit account in question was suspended hours after Kohberger’s arrest.
On 30 December 2022, a law enforcement official confirmed that Kohberger had been arrested in eastern Pennsylvania. He was taken into custody at his parents house in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, by an FBI SWAT team and the Pennsylvania State Police.
What happened in court?
Kohberger submitted himself to extradition proceedings after appearing in Pennsylvania court. As a result, Kohberger will be escorted by the authorities to Idaho to face murder charges at some point in the next two weeks.
Kohberger’s family released a statement on Sunday (1 January) which offered their condolences to the families of the victims whilst also sharing their support for Kohberger. The statement said that there are “no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray each day for them” but added that they will “promote [Kohberger’s] presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions” and “will love and support our son and brother”.
Kohberger’s public defender Jason A. LaBar said that Kohberger is “eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible”.
LaBar also added: [Kohberger’s family] don’t believe it to be Bryan. This is certainly completely out of character, the allegations, and really they’re just trying to be supportive with the understanding these four families have suffered loss, so that they’re sympathetic towards that, and that’s why it should remain really private.”