Judge denies Bryan Kohberger’s motion to dismiss indictment

Posted at 5:40 PM, October 26, 2023 and last updated 6:53 PM, October 26, 2023


MOSCOW, Idaho (Court TV) — Bryan Kohberger returned to court for two hearings on Thursday, where his attorneys asked a judge to dismiss the indictments against him or send his case back to a preliminary hearing.

The hearing was initially scheduled for September but was rescheduled due to illness. Court TV was inside the courtroom Thursday, bringing you every moment of the proceedings.

Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a motion hearing

Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a motion hearing regarding a gag order, Friday, June 9, 2023, in Latah County District Court in Moscow, Idaho. A judge overseeing the case against Kohberger, charged with killing four University of Idaho students last fall, is set to hear arguments over a gag order that largely bars attorneys and other parties in the case from speaking with news reporters. (Zach Wilkinson/Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP, Pool)

Kohberger is accused of breaking into a home on Nov. 13, 2022, and killing four University of Idaho students inside. Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xena Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were found stabbed to death in their rooms.

In May, Kohberger was indicted, and then arraigned on four charges of first-degree murder and one count of burglary. His defense says the grand jury should have been instructed to find “proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” to legally indict him.

In July, Kohberger’s attorneys filed a lengthy motion to either dismiss the indictments entirely or remand the case for a preliminary hearing, citing cases as far back as the founding fathers of the Constitution to prove the point that the grand jury was misled.

READ MORE: Court Docs Reveal DNA Link to Bryan Kohberger

The state has objected to what they called the defense’s “jarring theory,” and pointed to the Idaho Supreme Court, which they say has maintained the correct standard of proof is probable cause.

Idaho law states, “The grand jury ought to find an indictment when all the evidence before them, taken together, if unexplained or uncontradicted, would, in their judgment, warrant a conviction by a trial jury.”

So, the question remains: How much evidence warrants a conviction? Probable cause or proof beyond a reasonable doubt?

At the hearing, Kohberger’s attorney argued that the current standard of proof in Idaho has created a flawed system, while prosecutors said that the Idaho Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the lesser standard for grand juries.

Judge John Judge ultimately said he was bound to uphold the current law as it stands, and encouraged Kohberger’s attorneys to take the issue up with a higher court.

Prior to the hearing, Kohberger and his attorneys will be at a 9:30 a.m. PT hearing that will be closed to the public and media. That hearing will address a separate motion to dismiss the indictment.

In that motion, Kohberger’s attorneys have asked for the indictment to be tossed out or remanded to a preliminary hearing on the grounds of grand jury bias, inadmissible evidence, insufficient evidence and prosecutorial misconduct. The full motion, as well as the state’s response, have been sealed and are not available for Court TV to review.