Home News Idaho Murders Suspect Is Indicted by Grand Jury

Idaho Murders Suspect Is Indicted by Grand Jury

by Staff

The man accused of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students last year has been indicted by a grand jury and will be arraigned on murder charges next week, a court spokesman said Wednesday.

The suspect, Bryan Kohberger, a former graduate student in criminology at a nearby university, was arrested in the case in December but has yet to enter a plea. Defense lawyers had moved to hold an extended preliminary hearing, scheduled for next month, that would have explored much of the evidence collected by investigators, but the grand jury indictment eliminates that process.

The authorities have yet to describe a motive or lay out many details of the killings, in which the four victims were stabbed to death in the predawn hours one Sunday in November in a house not far from campus. They have not detailed any prior connections between Mr. Kohberger and the victims, Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

Mr. Kohberger, originally from Pennsylvania, had been a Ph.D. student studying criminology at Washington State University in Pullman, just across the state border from the Idaho campus. Investigators have said they linked him to the scene with DNA found on a knife sheath in the home, apparently matching that sample to his father after testing trash at the family’s home.

Mr. Kohberger drove a white Hyundai Elantra that appeared to match a vehicle seen on surveillance footage near the home, investigators have said. An affidavit filed by the police said that Mr. Kohberger’s phone was detected moving around the region in the hours before and after the killings but that it was disconnected from cell networks, perhaps turned off, for about two hours around the time of the killings.

The case has upended life in the community of Moscow, Idaho, which had not recorded a murder in seven years. Residents of the town spent weeks in uncertainty as investigators struggled to find a suspect. In recent days, at graduation ceremonies, the University of Idaho honored the four victims with posthumous degrees or certificates.

Mr. Kohberger has said through a public defender that he expects to be exonerated. Nate Poppino, a court spokesman, said that Mr. Kohberger would be arraigned on the new indictment at a hearing scheduled for Monday morning.

Former friends and his own online postings have detailed Mr. Kohberger’s troubled past, including emotional problems and heroin use that he struggled with in his teenage years. He had appeared to turn his life around after getting clean and focusing on his studies, they reported, and he had said that he hoped to one day provide counseling for high-profile criminals.

But after arriving at Washington State University last year, he appeared to run into new trouble. The university counseled him over a verbal altercation he had with a professor and investigated his conduct with women around the time of the killings. He was ultimately fired from his job as a teaching assistant in December, shortly before his arrest at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania.

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