By: BETH HEMPHILL
MOSCOW, Idaho (Court TV) — The FBI has returned to the boarded-up home where four University Idaho Students were fatally stabbed as investigators and the prosecution prepare for the indefinitely delayed trial.
The news comes days after District Judge John Judge declined to dismiss the grand jury indictment of Bryan Kohberger over jury bias, inadmissible evidence and the legal standard of probable cause, which they say wasn’t high enough to indict, according to the defense motion filed earlier this year.
Both investigators and the prosecution requested access to the off-campus rental home, which was donated to the University of Idaho after the killings. In February, the school announced plans to demolish the home after its abatement but decided to pause the demolition after receiving feedback about the potential and conflicting impacts of such permanent actions.
“On the one hand, some people want it taken down. It is a constant reminder of the heinous acts that went on inside it. It is also a place that continues to draw unwanted attention from media, YouTubers and others. On the other hand, it elicits deep emotional responses from those who are working through grief and who fear that its destruction could impact the court case,” the school stated in a press release.
The FBI arrived at the scene Tuesday, Oct. 31, to begin collecting measurements and details to construct visual and audio exhibits and a physical model of the crime scene where Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were brutally murdered.
“The visual displays take months to build and were not feasible under the timeline of an October trial. While the measurements and details needed to build a model were taken at the time of the initial investigation, the FBI is using this extended trial timeline to gather their own measurements and images now that the personal property has been removed from the premises,” the University reported.
The University said the FBI must first remove the plywood securing the windows and the door before a specialized team begins their work, which is expected to last two days.
“Upon completion, the house will be re-secured. While the university still intends to demolish the home, it will not be done this semester,” the University said.
The bodies of Mogen, Goncalves, Kernodle and Chapin were found on Nov. 13, 2022, at a home across the street from the University of Idaho campus. Investigators pieced together DNA evidence, cellphone data and surveillance video that they say links Kohberger to the murders.
Kohberger formally waived his right to a speedy trial months before his scheduled Oct. 2, 2023 trial date. No new trial date has been set.