BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A suspect arrested in connection with the murders of four University of Idaho students plans to skip an extradition hearing so he can be brought to Idaho quickly to face murder charges, his defense attorney said Saturday.
Brian Kohberger, a 28-year-old Ph.D. The student and teaching assistant in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University was arrested Friday morning by Pennsylvania State Police at his parents’ home in Chestnut Hill, authorities said.
“We believe we have our man,” Moscow Police Department Captain Anthony Dahlinger told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Dahlinger said investigators obtained samples of Kohburger’s DNA directly from the suspect after he was arrested.
“He is the person we believe is responsible for all four murders,” he said.
Latah, Idaho, District Attorney Bill Thompson said at a news conference Friday that investigators believe Kohberger entered a University of Idaho student home near campus “with the intent to commit murder.” The bodies of the students — Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Zanna Kernodel and Ethan Chapin — were found on Nov. 13, hours after investigators believed they were dead.
An arrest in the disturbing case brought a sense of relief to the small North Idaho college town after weeks of police releasing little information. But it has also raised questions about whether the suspect knew the victims, what he was doing in the weeks after the murders and how authorities tracked him down in Pennsylvania.
Dalinger said many of those details will be released after Kuhberger’s first appearance in an Idaho court. He said state law prohibits police from releasing more investigative records during an investigation, and investigators have kept many details of the investigation secret to avoid damaging the case.
“I really hope everyone can understand the ‘why’ behind us keeping so much information close to our vests,” Dahlinger said. “This is the positive result we were looking for all along.”
Kuhberger is eager to be exonerated and plans to tell a judge in Monroe County, Pennsylvania on Tuesday that he is waiving his extradition hearing so he can be brought to Idaho quickly, said public defender Jason Labar, Kuhberger’s lawyer.
LaBar also warned the public not to pass judgment on the case until a fair trial is held. The case has sparked widespread speculation on social media, with potential workshops suggesting possible motives and often trying to blame the murders on various friends and acquaintances of the victims.
“Kuhberger has been charged with very serious crimes, but the American justice system shrouds him in a veil of innocence,” Mr. LaBarr wrote in a prepared statement. be judged by the court of public opinion.
Dollinger said police are now trying to understand “all aspects” of Kohburger. Once an arrest is made, investigators are asking anyone who knows Kohburger to call the tip line to share information.
The response was immediate.
“We got 400 phone calls in the first hour after the press conference, which is great,” Dalinger said. We’re trying to build this picture of him: who he is, his history, how we got to this event, why this event happened.
Neighbors of the Kohberger family in Chestnuthill County, Pennsylvania, told The (Scranton) Times-Tribune on Friday that they were shocked to see law enforcement vehicles outside their home.
Eileen Cesaretti, who lives across the street, said she loves Kohburger’s parents and their son, who she said helps her and her husband around the house when he comes home from school.
“I don’t think he’s capable of doing something like that. I pray to God that he’s innocent.
Nefi Duff lives next door to Brian Kohberger in the Washington State University apartment complex for graduate students and families. He told Spokane, Washington-based TV station KREM2 that recent crimes, such as the murder in Moscow, have made him feel unsafe.
“I don’t recall seeing him around,” Duff said of Kuehberger. I thought I would move to a small, safe community, but lately that hasn’t been the case. I just think how can I protect (my family) if these things are happening right under my nose?”
BK Norton, a student in WSU’s criminal justice and criminology department, said Friday that they don’t know Kuhberger well, but they don’t like him.
“We interacted in class, but I personally wasn’t a fan of Brian because of the comments he made about LGBTQ+ people,” they told The Associated Press in an email. “He was a little distant, but I always thought that was because he was awkward and wanted to make out with her.”
Federal and state investigators are now poring over records, financial records and electronic communications in an effort to identify a motive and build a case against Kuhberger, a law enforcement official who could not publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation, on condition that he The Associated Press spoke. Investigators are also interviewing people who knew Kuhberger, including those at WSU, the official said on condition of anonymity.
Latta County Prosecutor Thompson said Kohberger is being held without bond in Pennsylvania and will be held without bond in Idaho after his extradition. Thompson said the affidavit on the four counts of first-degree murder in Idaho will remain sealed until he is extradited. He has also been charged with robbery in Idaho. The extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.
students — Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho. Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho. and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Wash. — were members of the university’s Greek system and close friends. Mugen, Goncalves and Kernodel lived in a three-story rented house with two other roommates. Cranodell and Chapin dated, and he was visiting the house that night.
An autopsy showed All four were probably asleep when they were attacked. Some had defensive wounds and each was stabbed several times. Police said there were no signs of sexual assault.
Ben Roberts, a graduate student in the criminology and criminal justice department at WSU, described Kuhberger as confident and outgoing, but said he seemed to be “always looking for a way to fit in.”
“Honestly, I just found him to be incredibly awkward.” Roberts said.
Roberts started the program in August — along with Kuhberger, he said — and had several sessions with him. He described Kohburger as trying to look academic.
“One thing he always did, almost without fail, was find the most complicated way to explain something,” she said.
Dahlinger said the arrest was a bittersweet moment for law enforcement officers.
“We’re very excited about the fact that we were able to find Mr. Kohberger and take him into custody, but we’re all still feeling the sadness,” he said. “We feel terrible for the families and the loss of their loved ones.”
Levy reported from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Balsamo from Washington. Rhonda Schaffner, news researcher in New York; Reporters Mark Scolforo and Brooke Schultz in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Michael Kanzelman in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Martha Belil in Seattle also contributed.