MOSCOW, Idaho (Court TV) — Despite pushback from some victims’ families, demolition on the house where four University of Idaho students were brutally murdered began on Dec. 28.
A petition was posted on Change.org seeking to “halt the demolition of the King Road house until after trial,” in the wake of an announcement by the University of Idaho that demolition would begin after Christmas.
The house on King Road was the site where Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves and Ethan Chapin were stabbed to death on Nov. 13, 2022. Bryan Kohberger has been charged with their murders and faces a potential death sentence if convicted.
The four victims were students at the University of Idaho, which purchased the off-campus property in the wake of the murders. The school initially announced plans to tear the house down in February, before delaying plans because of the trial’s anticipated start date.
On Thursday, the university said that Kohberger’s defense team was visiting the site twice more before the demolition’s scheduled start.
But the petition, posted by someone who describes themselves as “someone who has been closely following this case on YouTube,” argues that the house is “a significant piece of evidence in one of the most violent crimes ever. Its premature demolition could potentially hinder a fair path to justice for the familys (sic). It’s critical that all evidence remains intact until after his trial concludes.”
As of Monday morning, the petition was less than 20 signatures shy of its goal of 1,000.
Among the comments on the petition is one that purports to be from a member of a victim’s family. Cara Kernodle, Xana’s mother, appeared to comment, “My daughter was murdered in that house and there is no way they should be destroying any evidence.”
Kaylee Goncalves’ family has also spoken out against the demolition plans. In a Facebook post on Thursday night, her father said, “Today was especially hard, because we were notified that they plan on tearing down the house on December 28th…just 3 days after Christmas. Here is the thing with the house, I get it, ‘it’s an eyesore, it makes the community and college sad, it’s a house of horrors’, so on, so forth. Yes, Kaylee unfortunately died in that house, but more importantly KAYLEE LIVED a fun, happy life in that house. So, my point is, when the house is torn down, it will be a very sad day for me. Salt in a wound that never heals.”
On the day the demolition began, the Goncalves family posted again, saying it had reached out to the prosecutor’s office and the University to “stop this madness.”
Both the prosecution and Kohberger’s defense previously told the court they had “no objection” to the demolition.
The University of Idaho has said it plans to create a healing garden and memorial in memory of the four students killed.