University of Idaho delays demolition of home where 4 students were killed
Jul 13, 2023, 7:00 AM | Updated: 10:39 am
(CNN) — The planned demolition of the house where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death last year will be delayed until October, officials at the university said Wednesday.
The university in Moscow was given the three-story home on King Road earlier this year by its former owner. A court has said it can be torn down.
“We know that every action and decision around this horrific incident is painful and invokes emotions. That is why every decision we have made this far is with the families of the victims and our students in mind,” university president Scott Green said in a news release. “While we look forward to removing this grim reminder of this tragedy, we feel holding until October is the right thing to do.”
In November, four students, 21-year-olds Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, 20-year-old Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, also 20, were killed in the home.
Bryan Kohberger, a graduate student from the nearby Washington State University, is set to go on trial in the case in October, having been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. Pleas of not guilty have been entered on his behalf.
Officials said neither the prosecution nor the defense opposed the destruction, though some family members of the victims have publicly expressed disappointment that it would be demolished, citing the possible evidentiary value of the home.
Last week, university officials said they were focused on removing personal items from the home and making them available to the victims’ families.
“We know these personal items are incredibly important in the healing process,” school spokesperson Jodi Walker told CNN on Friday. Walker had no word on what would be done with the land on which the off-campus house sits. A memorial is expected to be built on campus.
“The scene has been substantially altered from its condition at the time of the homicides including removal of relevant property and furnishings, removal of some structural items such as wallboard and flooring, and subjected to extensive chemical application creating a potential health hazard. These are some of the reasons that we have concluded that a ‘jury view’ would not be appropriate,” Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said.
The family of Goncalves does not want the home to be destroyed until after Kohberger’s trial has concluded, their attorney Shannon Gray told CNN last week.