Moscow student killer's motion denied by Idaho Supreme Court

 March 14, 2024

A man accused of stabbing four University of Idaho students at the off-campus house in Moscow where three of them lived had his motion to appeal denied by the Idaho Supreme Court, but the motion was also sealed by the court so its contents are unknown.

The appeal was in response to Latah County District Court Judge John Judge's decision not to toss Brian Kohberger's grand jury indictment in the quadruple murder case.

The court also sealed prosecutors' objection to the motion.

The students stabbed were Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Kaylee Goncalves. All but Chapin lived in the house; he was Kernodle's boyfriend who was sleeping there on that night.

His arguments

Kohberger was arrested about six weeks after the stabbing in November 2022. A DNA match was made to the knife sheath used in the murders, and Kohberger's cell phone records showed that he was in the vicinity of the house repeatedly in the days before the killing and on the day of the killing both before and twice afterward.

Kohberger's attorneys have argued that the grand jury should have to use the standard "beyond a reasonable doubt" to indict rather than "probable cause."

They also argued that a biased grand jury, inadmissible evidence, a lack of sufficient evidence and prosecutorial misconduct were further grounds for dismissal of the charges.

Kohberger did not have a personal relationship with any of the students he allegedly stabbed to death.

He was a PhD student at Washington State University in Pullman studying criminology only eight miles from where the students lived.

Motion to move trial

Kohberger grew up in rural Pennsylvania, where he was arrested after his car matched the description of a vehicle seen near the crime scene.

He was held in a Monroe County prison until he was extradited to Moscow in Latah County.

A motion to move the trial out of Latah County is still before the court. A hearing to decide the matter is scheduled in May.

Kohberger's attorneys argue that a fair jury cannot be found there because of the amount of media attention in the area, even if the jury pool is extended.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in the killings.

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