Surveillance videos under scrutiny at hearing for Bryan Kohberger

Posted at 8:10 AM, May 31, 2024

LATAH COUNTY, Idaho (Scripps News Boise/Court TV) — Accused quadruple murderer Bryan Kohberger was back in court Thursday for a pretrial hearing where his defense called multiple investigators to the stand.

Kohberger is accused of the November 2022 murders of four University of Idaho students: Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin at a house near the school campus.

Bryan Kohberger sits in court

Bryan Kohberger appears in court for a hearing on Oct. 26, 2023. (Court TV)

At Thursday’s hearing, Cpl. Brett Payne, the case agent in charge of investigating the murders, discussed the thousands of hours of surveillance video collected during the investigation. Payne also testified about collecting certain videos of interest. He said footage was collected from 79 businesses and residences, but the defense had questions about whether all of the available video was collected.

Defense attorney Anne Taylor questioned Payne about certain surveillance videos that had not been turned over to Kohberger’s defense.

Payne said they were not able to obtain surveillance video from the US-95, but he clarified that the police do not believe this was necessarily the route that Kohberger would have taken as he allegedly left Moscow on the night of the murders.

Sy Ray, founder of ZetX Corporation and a former police officer, was also called to the stand as an expert witness. Ray discussed cell phone data during his testimony with a focus on location data.

Ray explained that “about 2-3%” of the location data from Kohberger’s phone on the night of the murders is missing, and that this could be very impactful to the case. At this time, Ray believes the phone data does benefit Kohberger’s case.

“The wheels fell off here. There are records that will never be supported by the data. Does not represent what it claims to represent,” Ray explained in court. “Because of the inaccuracy and missing data these are helpful for Mr. Kohberger. There are things I would have said to help the MPD if I were involved, like if we don’t get those documents, it’s going to be harmful for the state, but now it’s helpful for Mr. Kohberger.”

Two additional witnesses spoke at a closed hearing following the open hearing, they testified on details of the investigative genetic genealogy (IGG) used in the case likely relating to the knife discovered at the crime scene.

Prosecutors have indicated that the IGG evidence is not essential to their case as they have a DNA match to Kohberger from the cheek swab taken at his arrest.

Following the hearing, Kaylee Goncalves’ family released the following statement:

“Unfortunately, today’s hearing was business as usual. The defense claiming they haven’t received all the evidence in the case and the prosecution stating, “We can’t give it if we don’t have it.” Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s office sits idly appearing to be more of a spectator than someone assisting with a prosecution. Is the defense unaware that they can subpoena records and evidence? Wasn’t this hearing supposed to address a motion to compel discovery? How did it evolve into an attack on the probable cause affidavit, the prosecution’s witnesses, training records, and their evidence-gathering techniques? The court needs to take control of the case and the attorneys involved. As long as the Court continues to entertain anything and everything at every hearing, the delay will never end. The hearings have become a Wild West of statements, witnesses, issues, hand holding of the attorneys and excuses for continued delay. The victims’ families want justice, but just as importantly, we want the case to move forward. Every hearing is painful to watch with an endless lack of organization and accountability. Why isn’t the alibi issue being addressed? What happened to the change of venue issue? When will a trial date be set?!!”

This story was originally published by Scripps News Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.