Bryan Kohberger’s defense, prosecutors: ‘no objection’ to demolishing crime scene

Posted at 8:37 PM, July 12, 2023 and last updated 6:56 AM, July 13, 2023


MOSCOW, Idaho (Court TV) — Prosecutors and Bryan Kohberger’s defense have “no objection” to the crime scene where four University of Idaho students were killed being demolished, according to emails obtained by Court TV.

Idaho Student Killings crime scene

This Nov. 19, 2022 photo shows the home where four University of Idaho students were killed in Moscow, Idaho. (Court TV/Brian Primm)

The off-campus rental home in Moscow was donated to the university after the killings. In February, the school announced plans to demolish the home. A demolition date has not been set, but the school has said it wants to tear the home down before the start of fall semester, reports the Idaho Statesman.

Kohberger, 28, is charged with four counts of murder and one count of burglary in the November 13, 2022, deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

As Kohberger’s October 2 trial date approaches, there had been objections made about plans to demolish the scene from the victims’ families.

Shanon Gray, attorney for the family of Kaylee Goncalves, told the Idaho Statesman that the university is ignoring the families’ requests to leave the home standing until after the trial.

Prosecutors, however, have no objection to demolishing the scene. In an email dated April 6, 2023, Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson told the university:

“We have discussed this among ourselves and with the investigation leadership, and have no objection to UI proceeding as you outlined. As you know, the court has already released the scene from LE custody based on a stipulation of the parties. The scene has been substantially altered from its condition at the time of the homicides including removal of relevant property and furnishings, removal of some structural items such as wallboard and flooring, and subjected to extensive chemical application creating a potential health hazard. These are some of the reason that a ‘jury view’ would not be appropriate.”

In an email dated April 5, 2023, public defender Anne Taylor, representing Kohberger, also told the university:

“I am writing to let you know that the defense has no objection to the University proceeding as it sees fit with the residence on King road. Previously, the defense agreed to release the property. Upon communication with the University we were asked to weigh in on demolition of the premises. We appreciate the accommodation of one final walk through. After the walk through our team has discussed the demolition of the premises again and have no objection.”

On Wednesday, the University of Idaho announced it would delay the demolition of the house until October. In a statement, university president Scott Green said, “Every action and decision around this horrific incident is painful and invokes emotions. That is why every decision we have made this far is with the families of the victims and our students in mind.”

A spokesperson for the university told Court TV’s Chanley Painter that the school chose to delay until October because of the trial’s current scheduled start date. The spokesperson said if the trial is delayed, the school would “reconsider at that point.”

Kohberger’s case is due back in court August 18 for a motions hearing. Recently, a judge issued a brief stay in the case to give the defense adequate time to review the grand jury transcript.