The suspect in the November murder of four University of Idaho students could soon be in Idaho to face first-degree murder charges if — as expected — he does not contest his extradition to the state of Gem during a hearing Tuesday in Pennsylvania.
Bryan Kohberger’s state-appointed attorney indicated that his client planned to waive extradition from his home state and called the hearing “a formality proceeding.”
All the Commonwealth needs to prove is that its client looks like or is the person targeted by the arrest warrant and was in the area at the time of the crimes, the county’s chief public defender said. Monroe, Jason LaBar, to CNN’s Jean Casarez.
Kohberger was arrested Friday in Pennsylvania, nearly seven weeks after 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found dead Nov. 13 at an off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho.
Kohberger was “a little shocked,” LaBar told CNN a day after his client was arrested. Kohberger is presumed innocent until proven guilty, LaBar added in a statement. He “believes he is going to be exonerated”. LaBar said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday.
Kohberger was “very easy to talk to,” is “calm in demeanor,” and understands the process, including what to expect regarding his transportation to Idaho and what to expect when he gets there, said LaBar.
Last month, the 28-year-old suspect completed his first semester as a doctoral student in the criminal justice program at Washington State University’s campus in Pullman, about a 15-minute drive west of Moscow.
He returned home to Pennsylvania for the holidays, accompanied by his father, LaBar told CNN on Saturday. The two arrived in the Commonwealth around December 17.
A white Hyundai Elantra wanted by authorities in connection with the murders was found at the home of Kohberger’s parents, LaBar confirmed.
Investigators focused on Kohberger as a suspect after tracing the ownership of the Elantra, which had been seen in the area of the murders, back to him, according to two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation. . In addition, his DNA was matched to genetic material recovered from the house where the students were killed, the two sources said.
An FBI surveillance team followed Kohberger for four days before his arrest while law enforcement worked with prosecutors to develop enough probable cause to obtain a warrant, the two law enforcement sources said.
Other than the DNA and the car, details such as Kohberger’s knowledge of the victims – or a possible motive for the murders – are not publicly known. The probable cause affidavit, which is believed to contain information supporting the suspect’s arrest, remains sealed until it appears in court in Idaho.
With these details still unknown, much public interest has focused on Kohberger’s criminal justice studies.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and this year completed his master of arts in criminal justice at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, according to a university spokesperson.
In a post removed from Reddit after news of his arrest was announced, a student investigator associated with a DeSales University study named Bryan Kohberger sought participants for a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence the decision-making when committing a crime”.
“In particular, this study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with a focus on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience,” the post read.
Moscow Police Department Chief James Fry said after the arrest that the investigation into the complex and extensive case was not complete.
Investigators are still looking for evidence, Fry said, including the weapon used, believed to be a fixed-blade knife.
“We’ve developed a clear picture over time,” he said, “(but) rest assured the job is not done. It’s only just begun.
Kohberger is being held without bond in Pennsylvania, Latah County District Attorney Bill Thompson said Friday. Once Kohberger is in Idaho, he is expected to appear before a magistrate for the first time, and more hearings will be scheduled.