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New alibi: Suspect in Idaho stabbings says he was on a solo drive

Aug 4, 2023, 6:00 AM | Updated: 11:38 am

FILE - Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for his arraignment hearing in Latah County District Co...

FILE - Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for his arraignment hearing in Latah County District Court, May 22, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. On Wednesday, Aug. 2, attorneys for Kohberger, accused of stabbing four University of Idaho students to death last year, said he was on a long drive by himself around the time of the slayings. (Zach Wilkinson/The Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP, Pool, File)<

(Zach Wilkinson/The Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP, Pool, File)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The man accused of stabbing four University of Idaho students to death late last year was on a long drive by himself around the time of the deaths, his defense attorneys wrote in new court documents filed this week.

Bryan Kohberger is charged with four counts of murder in connection with the deaths at a rental house near the Moscow, Idaho, university campus last November. He has exercised his right to remain silent during the court case, so a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf earlier this year. Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson has said he intends to seek the death penalty, and the case is scheduled for trial this fall, though it could be postponed.

The court document filed Wednesday is the first time Kohberger has said anything about his whereabouts on the night of the stabbings. His defense team submitted it after prosecutors asked the court to force Kohberger to reveal if he intends to offer an alibi.

“Mr. Kohberger has long had a habit of going for drives alone. Often he would go for drives at night,” his defense attorney, Anne Taylor, wrote in the document. “He did so late on November 12 and into November 13, 2022.”

Kohberger isn’t claiming to be in any specific location at any specific time, according to the document, and may have witnesses who can corroborate that he wasn’t at the home where the students were killed. His defense team is still going over transcripts of grand jury testimony and other evidence from the investigation, his attorneys wrote, so it is too soon to detail exactly who those witnesses might be and what they might be able to testify about.

“The defense has stated all that can be firmly stated at this time,” Kohberger’s attorneys wrote.

Idaho law requires that defendants notify the prosecution if they intend to present an alibi defense, which is generally a claim that they were somewhere other than at the crime scene and have witnesses who will verify that.

The bodies of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were found Nov. 13, 2022, at a home across the street from the University of Idaho campus. The slayings shocked the rural Idaho community and neighboring Pullman, Washington, where Kohberger was a graduate student studying criminology at Washington State University.

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New alibi: Suspect in Idaho stabbings says he was on a solo drive