Idaho murder suspect Brian Kohberger appears in court, waiving right to speedy probable cause hearing



CNN

The man suspected of killing four University of Idaho students appeared in court Thursday for a case determination hearing, where a judge has scheduled a preliminary probable cause hearing to begin June 26.

Brian Kohberger, who faces four counts of first-degree murder — in the fatal stabbings of Kylie Goncalves, 21; Madison Muggin, 21; Zana Kernodel, 20; Ethan Chapin, 20, appeared in court wearing an orange prison uniform with his feet bound. The 28-year-old waived his right to an expedited probable cause hearing within 14 days, speaking only briefly while answering the judge’s questions.

The public defender representing the suspect asked the judge to allow four or five days for a probable cause hearing this summer, and the judge has indicated that she will block the week of June 26 for this matter. The judge also ordered Kohberger to remain in state custody without any bail.

Kohberger has been held without bail in the Latah County Jail in Idaho since last week after being extradited from Pennsylvania, where he was arrested late last month. Kohberger, who also faces a burglary charge, has not yet filed a plea, and the court order prevents the prosecution and defense from commenting beyond consulting public records of the case.

After a night out, the four undergraduates were found dead Nov. 13 in an off-campus home, according to police, unnerving them in the college town of Moscow, Idaho, along the Washington state border.

Follow live updates: Brian Kohberger appears in court

Authorities arrested Kohberger nearly seven weeks later, and detained him at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, where a lawyer said he had traveled for the holidays. And while it took nearly two months before authorities released a suspect’s name publicly, the police — who faced mounting criticism as the investigation came to a standstill — began focusing on Kohberger as a suspect weeks earlier.

Meanwhile, a neighbor of Kohberger’s in nearby Pullman, Washington, told CBS News that the suspect asked him about the killings days after they took place, allegedly saying, “Yeah, it looks like they have no leads. It looks like it was a crime of passion.” CBS reported that the neighbor asked not to be identified.

Among the more remarkable evidence was a witness account from one of the two surviving victims’ roommates, who told police she saw a man dressed in black inside the house on the morning of the murders, according to a probable cause affidavit published last week. It added that the witness described the man as about five feet ten or taller and not very muscular but athletically built and with bushy eyebrows.

Investigators were also drawn to a white sedan seen on local surveillance footage in the area around the home. By November 25, they had asked local law enforcement to search for the vehicle, which was then identified as a Hyundai Elantra.

Days later, officers at Washington State University, where Kohberger was a doctoral student in criminal justice, found such a vehicle and discovered it was registered to Kohberger, according to the affidavit.

When investigators searched for his driver’s license information, they found it consistent with the description of the man in black provided by his roommate, as stated in the affidavit, specifically noting his height, weight, and bushy eyebrows.

The affidavit says Kohberger got a new license plate for his car five days after the murder. When he was arrested in Pennsylvania last week, a white Elantra was found in his home, according to Monroe County Public Defense Chief Jason LaBar, who represented the suspect in his extradition.

Other evidence included in the affidavit included phone records showing that Kohberger’s phone had been near the victims’ home at least a dozen times since June. The records also show the phone near the killing site hours later, between 9:12 a.m. and 9:21 a.m., the document says.

In addition, garbage authorities recovered from the Kohberger family’s home revealed a DNA profile linked to DNA found on a tan leather knife sheath that was found lying on the bed of one of the victims, according to the affidavit. She added that the DNA recovered from the litter was believed to be the biological father of the person whose DNA was found on the wrapper.

A law enforcement source told CNN that Kohberger was monitored for four days before his arrest. During that period, he was seen placing garbage bags in the neighbors’ garbage bins and “cleaning his car inside and out, not missing an inch,” according to the source.

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