CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Trial delayed for University of Idaho student killing suspect Bryan Kohberger

Aug 24, 2023, 6:00 AM

Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a hearing at the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow, Idaho,...

Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a hearing at the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow, Idaho, on June 27. Photo credit: August Frank/Pool/Reuters

(CNN) — The murder trial of University of Idaho student killings suspect Brian Kohberger – initially slated to begin in October – has been delayed.

Kohberger waived his right to a speedy trial during a status conference Wednesday afternoon.

Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty for Kohberger, who is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary in the November 13 killings of students Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, who were brutally stabbed in their off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho.

Kohberger, who has had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf, repeatedly confirmed to the judge Wednesday that he wishes to waive his right to a trial within six months of his arraignment in May.

Kohberger’s attorney, Anne Taylor, said the defense team could not be prepared to effectively present their case on the previously set trial date of October 2 – now less than six weeks away. Prosecutors did not object and Judge John Judge agreed to vacate the October trial date.

The judge did not set a new trial date at the request of Taylor, who said the defense was not prepared to do so. Taylor said the defense is prepared to challenge the grand jury indictment against Kohberger at an upcoming hearing on September 1.

Judge previously ruled that Kohberger’s defense has until September 8 to submit witnesses and other evidence for the accused killer’s alibi if his attorneys choose to use his alibi as a defense.

Prosecutors have argued Kohberger must provide his exact whereabouts the night of the killings and any witnesses who can support the his claim that he was out for a drive alone that night.

“Mr. Kohberger has a long habit of going for drives alone. Often he would go for drives at night. He did so late on November 12 and into November 13, 2022. Mr. Kohberger is not claiming to be at a specific location at a specific time,” the defense has argued.

Investigators homed in on Kohberger after learning he was the registered owner of a white Hyundai Elantra similar to one seen in surveillance footage near the crime scene on the night of the killings, according to a probable cause affidavit released in January.

His appearance is also consistent with a description given by a surviving roommate, who noted characteristics such as height, weight and bushy eyebrows, according to the affidavit.

Kohberger’s phone records also showed he had been near the victims’ home at least a dozen times since last June and had also been near the site of the killings hours later, between 9:12 a.m. and 9:21 a.m., the document says. Additionally, Kohberger’s DNA was a “statistical match” to DNA collected from the sheath of a knife found at the crime scene, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

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Trial delayed for University of Idaho student killing suspect Bryan Kohberger