Bryan Kohberger arraignment: What to expect

Posted at 9:19 AM, May 22, 2023 and last updated 10:16 AM, May 22, 2023


MOSCOW, Idaho (Court TV) – The man accused of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students is set to appear in court Monday after being indicted by a grand jury last week.

The indictment against Bryan Kohberger, dated May 16 and obtained by Court TV, eliminates the need for the week-long pre-trial hearing that was previously scheduled for late June, moving the case closer to trial. 


How can I watch?

The court has prohibited any livestreaming of the arraignment, but Court TV cameras will be rolling, then stream the footage once the hearing has concluded.

Check back here on to stream, watch on TV, or watch on YouTube @COURT TV.

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What’s an arraignment for?

Once an indictment has been filed, the defendant is required by law to appear in court before a judge within 30 days of the filing.

An arraignment is when the defendant is brought in front of the court to hear the charges against them and enter a plea, as defined by Cornell Law School.


What are the charges?

Idaho student killings flyer

FILE – A flyer seeking information about the killings of four University of Idaho students who were found dead is displayed on a table along with buttons and bracelets, on Nov. 30, 2022, during a vigil in memory of the victims in Moscow, Idaho.  (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

  • Count 1: Burglary: 

The indictment states that on or about November 13, 2022, the defendant did unlawfully enter the King Rd. residence with the intent to commit the felony crime of murder.

  • Count 2: Murder in the First-Degree of Madison Mogen
  • Count 3: Murder in the First-Degree of Kaylee Goncalves
  • Count 4: Murder in the First-Degree of Xana Kernodle
  • Count 5: Murder in the First-Degree of Ethan Chapin


Who are the witnesses?

The names of all witnesses who could possibly and prospectively testify before the grand jury have been sealed to protect them, their families and associates from harassment in person and via social media, due to the national scrutiny of this case.


Will Bryan Kohberger plea?

Once the indictment is read, or the charges have been fully explained to the defendant, the defendant is then required to submit a plea. Kohberger can either enter a plea of guilty or not guilty, or remain silent, in which case the judge would enter a plea of “not guilty,” and trial preparations will resume, and a trial date will be decided. If he pleads “guilty,” the case will move into the penalty phase and a sentencing date will be selected.


Bryan Kohberger, left, with his attorney, public defender Anne Taylor, right,

Bryan Kohberger, left, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022, sits with his attorney, public defender Anne Taylor, right, during a hearing in Latah County District Court, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)

Who is representing Bryan Kohberger?

Anne Taylor, the chief of the Kootenai County public defender’s office, began representing Kohberger after he was extradited to Idaho from Pennsylvania where he was arrested. 

The court-appointed attorney had been representing a parent of one of the four Moscow stabbing victims her client is accused of killing.

According to the Idaho Statesman, Taylor filed an attorney withdrawal notice in Kootenai County Court for Kernodle’s mother, Cara Kernodle, on January 5—the same day Kohberger made an initial appearance in the Latah County courtroom.


Who is the judge?

Judge John Judge will be presiding over the hearing and, likely, Kohberger’s eventual trial. Idaho Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter appointed Judge to the Second Judicial District bench on Sept. 19, 2018, taking over a seat left vacant by another judge’s appointment to the Idaho Supreme Court, the Associated Press reported at the time.

Judge was first appointed Latah County Magistrate on Oct. 1, 2008, after spending 24 years in private practice in Moscow. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Santa Barbara, the AP reported. According to his biography, Judge graduated from the University of Idaho College of Law in 1984. He was appointed to serve as an adjunct member of the Judicial Council on July 1, 2016.

What is the maximum sentence?

The death penalty is not off the table in Idaho. 

If the prosecution decides to seek the death penalty, they must file a written notice within 60 days of Kohberger’s plea, including a list of aggravating circumstances, as stipulated by Idaho law.

If they don’t opt for the death penalty, Kohberger will likely face life in prison.

Bryan Kohberger sits with his attorney in court.

Bryan Kohberger, left, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022, looks toward his attorney, public defender Anne Taylor, right, during a hearing in Latah County District Court, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)


What’s next after the arraignment?

While there are no post-hearing press conferences currently scheduled, Court TV staff will be on the ground in Boise to speak to any willing parties.

However, Kohberger’s case is protected by a gag order, which prohibits any attorneys, law enforcement agencies or others involved with the case from talking to the media, unless they are quoting from a publicly available court document. Court TV’s parent company has joined a coalition of other media in filling an appeal of the order.

Immediately following the arraignment, a motions hearing and scheduling conference will take place to discuss pre-trial planning.


For all news related to the Idaho Student Killings, click here.