By: Karen Lehr
LATAH COUNTY, Idaho (Scripps News Boise) — Bryan Kohberger was back in a Latah County courtroom Friday, where Judge John Judge denied the defense’s motion to stay proceedings, confirming that the trial will move forward on October 2, with jury selection the week prior.
Kohberger is accused of breaking into an off-campus home near the University of Idaho last November and fatally stabbing students Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, and Xana Kernodle.
At Friday’s hearing, attorneys spent most of the day discussing DNA evidence used to identify Kohberger as the state’s suspect and how DNA databases can be used. Multiple genetic genealogy experts were called to testify for the defense in continued efforts to compel the state to turn over more information on how DNA found at the scene was tested and how DNA databases were used in their investigation.
Arguably one of the strongest pieces of evidence in the state’s case against Kohberger is DNA on a knife sheath found near one of the victims at the crime scene, which prosecutors say was a statistical match to a DNA sample taken from Bryan Kohberger.
Investigators used genetic genealogy to link the DNA to Kohberger leading up to his December 30 arrest at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania.
In court Friday, the state argued that everything they plan to use in the trial has been turned over to the defense and that the process of how they got to Kohberger “simply doesn’t matter” since investigators later confirmed the lead by matching a cheek swab from the suspect to the sample from the crime scene.
A judge will consider arguments heard in court and issue a written ruling at a later date.
In addition to the DNA on the knife sheath, the state also pointed to Kohberger’s cell phone data and white Hyundai Elantra in the affidavit that lead to his arrest. Although Kohberger chose to remain silent when requested to provide an alibi, the defense later shared that Kohberger has a long history of going for drives at night and that they cannot definitively say where he was at exact times throughout the morning of the murders.
At this point, Kohberger has not waived his right to a speedy trial, but the court previously granted the defense a 37-day stay on the case. The prosecution asked for the stay to be rescinded for fear of setting a precedent of allowing defendants delays without having to waive their right to a speedy trial.
Kohberger is currently facing the death penalty for the four first-degree murder charges.
This story was originally published on August 18, 2023, by Scripps News Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.