Bryan Kohberger: Idaho student murder suspect plans to waive extradition hearing, attorney says


The suspect in the murder of four University of Idaho students plans to waive his extradition hearing this week, his attorney says, to expedite his return to Gem State, where he faces four counts of first degree murder.

Bryan Christopher Kohberger is “a little shocked,” Jason LaBar, the chief public defender for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, told CNN on Saturday, a day after the 28-year-old was arrested in his home state. for charges related to the fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Kaylee Gonçalves; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20. He also faces a burglary charge, according to Latah County, Idaho, prosecutor Bill Thompson.

LaBar released a statement on behalf of Kohberger’s family on Sunday, saying “there are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel.” This is the first time the family has released a public statement since Kohberger’s arrest on Friday.

“Above all, we care deeply about the four families who lost their precious children. There are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray for them every day,” the family statement read. “We will continue to let the legal process unfold and as a family we will love and support our son and our brother. We fully cooperated with law enforcement with the aim of seeking the truth and promoting his presumption of innocence rather than judging unknown facts and making wrong assumptions.

LaBar did not discuss the murder case with the suspect when they spoke for about an hour Friday night, the attorney said, adding that he does not have probable cause documents on it and does not represented Kohberger only in the matter of his extradition, which the attorney called a “formality.”

“It’s a procedural matter, and all the Commonwealth here has to prove is that he looks like or is the person who is the subject of the arrest warrant and was in the area at the time of the crime. “, said LaBar.

Waiver of the extradition hearing scheduled for Tuesday was “an easy decision obviously,” LaBar said, “since he doesn’t dispute that he is Bryan Kohberger.”

In a statement, LaBar stressed that his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty, saying, “Mr. Kohberger is eager to be cleared of these charges and looks forward to resolving these issues as quickly as possible. »

The arrest of the suspect – a doctoral student from Washington State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, the school confirmed – comes nearly seven weeks after the victims were found stabbed to death in a home off-campus on November 13. Since then, investigators say they have conducted more than 300 interviews and scoured around 20,000 tips.

But authorities have yet to publicly confirm the suspect’s motive, or even whether he knew the victims, whose deaths shook the university community and the surrounding city of Moscow. The murder weapon has also not been located, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said Friday.

In the weeks following the killings, some members of the community grew frustrated as investigators have yet to offer a detailed account of how the night unfolded. Authorities have released limited details, including the victims’ activities leading up to the attacks and who they have ruled out as suspects.

Fry told reporters Friday that state law limits what information authorities can release before Kohberger makes his first appearance in an Idaho court. The probable cause affidavit — which details the factual basis for Kohberger’s charges — is sealed until the suspect is physically in Latah County and has received the Idaho warrant for his arrest, Thompson said.

Investigators turned to Kohberger as a suspect based on DNA evidence and confirming he owned a white Hyundai Elantra seen near the crime scene, according to two law enforcement sources briefed on the incident. ‘survey. Authorities say he lived minutes from the scene of the stabbings.

He drove across the country in a white Hyundai Elantra and arrived at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania around Christmas, according to a law enforcement source. Authorities began tracking him at some point during his journey east of Idaho.

An FBI surveillance team followed him for four days before his arrest while law enforcement worked with prosecutors to develop enough probable cause to obtain a warrant, the two law enforcement sources said. .

Genetic genealogy techniques were used to link Kohberger to unidentified DNA evidence, another source with knowledge of the matter told CNN. The DNA was analyzed against a public database for potential matches to family members, and subsequent investigative work by law enforcement led to his identification as a suspect, the police said. source.

LaBar confirmed that Kohberger, accompanied by his father, drove from Idaho to Pennsylvania to celebrate the holidays with his family. A white Hyundai Elantra was found at his parents’ home, LaBar said, where authorities apprehended Kohberger early Friday.

LaBar was unsure how quickly his client would be returned to Idaho following his intention to waive extradition at Tuesday’s hearing, saying it would be based on authorities. But LaBar expected Kohberger to be returned to Idaho within 72 hours of the procedure.

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