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Idaho Murders Suspect Held Without Bail, Trial Won’t Start Until Summer

The suspect in the murder of four Idaho college students appeared in court on Thursday and waived his right to a speedy probable cause hearing, while a judge ordered him held in state custody with no bond.

Bryan Kohberger faces four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of  Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, in November. The judge set his probable cause hearing for June, according to footage from inside the courtroom.

Photos and footage showed Kohberger with unexplained cuts and bruises on his face and neck during the Thursday court appearance. He appeared in court wearing an orange T-shirt and pants, and gave the judge short one-word answers when she asked him if he understood his rights during the roughly five-minute-long hearing.

Kohberger’s attorney, Anne Taylor, told Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall that Kohberger was willing to waive his right to a speedy preliminary hearing, which would have required that it be held within two weeks. The hearing itself will likely take four or five days, Taylor said.

“He’s willing to waive timeliness to allow us time to obtain discovery in the case and be prepared,” Taylor told the judge.

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said he had no objection to waiting until June or even July for the preliminary hearing.

He has been held without bail in the Latah County jail in Idaho after he was extradited from Pennsylvania, where he was arrested in December. A probable cause affidavit cited witness testimony that she saw a man in black inside the house during the killings, while investigators honed in on a white sedan seen near the home during the time of the killings.

No apparent motive for the killings has been established. There also has not been any established link between Kohberger and the victims.

“This is not the end of this investigation, in fact, this is a new beginning,” Thompson said last month, confirming Kohberger was arrested. “Report anything you know about him, to help the investigators, and eventually our office and the court system, understand fully everything there is to know about not only the individual, but what happened and why,” he added.

Weeks went by without a named suspect and few details were released, but on Dec. 30 Kohberger, a graduate student studying criminology at the university located just 10 miles away—was arrested at his parents’ home in eastern Pennsylvania.

Kohberger was extradited to Idaho last week. University of Idaho students returned from winter break to start classes on Wednesday, many of them coming together for the first time since news of the attack spread across campus.


The partially redacted probable cause affidavit (pdf) was sealed until Jan. 5 because Kohberger wasn’t served with a warrant until he was extradited to Idaho. Officials said that a leather knife sheath located next to a victim’s bed had DNA that was linked to Kohberger.

“The Idaho state lab later located a single source of male DNA left on the button snap of the knife sheath,” the document said. Kohberger’s home in Pennsylvania was sent to the Idaho state lab for DNA testing before it was matched with the suspect, it said.

Officials at the lab “reported that a DNA profile obtained from the trash” matched DNA found on the tan leather knife sheath found at the crime scene, according to the affidavit.

“The sheath was later processed and had ‘Ka-Bar,’ ‘USMC’ and the United States Marine Corps eagle globe and anchor insignia stamped on the outside of it. The Idaho state lab later located a single source of male DNA (suspect profile) left on the button snap of the knife sheath,” the court documents read.

Meanwhile, a witness recalled allegedly seeing the killer after the slayings took place. “The male walked toward the back sliding glass door. D.M. locked herself in her room after seeing the male. This leads investigators to believe that the murderer left the scene,” according to the affidavit.

The witness—a roommate of the victims—had “described the figure as 5’10” or taller, male, not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows,” the affidavit reads. “Kohberger’s physical description is consistent with the description of the male [D.M.] saw inside the King Road Residence on November 13th.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.

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