Details in murder of Kentucky college student revealed in court

Posted at 2:03 PM, March 6, 2024

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. (Court TV) — A preliminary hearing Wednesday revealed details in the murder of a Kentucky college student.

Charles Escalera, 21, is charged with murder and second-degree burglary in the death of 18-year-old Josiah Kilman. Both men were students and wrestling teammates at Campbellsville University, a private Christian university. A coroner confirmed Kilman’s cause of death was asphyxiation by manual strangulation.

charles escalera booking photo

This Feb. 24, 2024, booking photo provided by the Taylor County Detention Center shows Charles Escalera, accused in the death of Josiah Kilman. (Taylor County Detention Center)

At the hearing, Campbellsville Police Detective Jeremy Burton testified that surveillance video played a key part in identifying Escalera as a suspect after Kilman was found unresponsive in his dorm room on Feb. 24.

Detective Burton said the video showed Escalera enter the dorms, wearing a backpack, then later leaving without the bag. His backpack was found at the crime scene.

Footage from a local Walmart also shows Escalera stealing clothes and changing in the store, testified Burton.

Escalera was arrested after a resident found him hiding in their hay barn.

Burton also testified that during a police interview, Escalera admitted to killing Kilman and fleeing the scene. Escalera was also reportedly wearing a bloodied shirt when apprehended.

It was also revealed that days before the murder, Escalera was treated at a hospital following “an issue” in the university’s cafeteria.

Escalera remains in jail on a $2 million bond.