Pleas entered for suspect in 2022 University of Idaho student killings | Idaho

A judge entered not guilty pleas on Monday for a man charged in the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students, setting the stage for a trial in which he could face the death penalty.

The 13 November 2022 killings stunned the rural community of Moscow, Idaho, and prompted many students to leave campus early, switching to remote learning for the remainder of the semester.

Bryan Kohberger, 28, was arrested late last year and charged with burglary and four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the slayings of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin at a rental home near the University of Idaho campus.

Kohberger declined to enter pleas in Latah county district court, with his defense attorney Anne Taylor telling the judge that they were going to “stand silent” at this time. In response, district judge John Judge entered not guilty pleas on Kohberger’s behalf.

Kohberger also declined to waive his right to a speedy trial, so the judge scheduled it to begin on 2 October. It’s still possible that the trial, expected to last six weeks, could be delayed or moved to a different location.

Bryan Kohberger.
Bryan Kohberger. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP

Kohberger was a graduate student studying criminology at nearby Washington State University when the University of Idaho students were killed, but prosecutors have not released any information about how they believe he may have chosen the victims or whether he had met any of them previously.

Police released few details about the investigation until after Kohberger was arrested at his parents’ home in eastern Pennsylvania on 30 December 2022. Court documents detailed how police pieced together DNA evidence, cellphone data and surveillance video that they say links Kohberger to the slayings.

Investigators said traces of DNA found on a knife sheath inside the home where the students were killed matches Kohberger – and that a cellphone belonging to Kohberger was near the victims’ home on a dozen occasions prior to the killings. A white sedan allegedly matching one owned by Kohberger was caught on surveillance footage repeatedly cruising past the rental home around the time of the killings.

Kernodle, Chapin, Mogen and Goncalves were friends and members of the university’s Greek system, and the three women lived together in the rental home just across the street from campus. Chapin – Kernodle’s boyfriend – was there visiting on the night of the attack.

The Latah county prosecutor, Bill Thompson, now has 60 days to inform the court whether he intends to seek the death penalty in the case.

The small courtroom was packed for Monday’s arraignment, with some members of the news media and other onlookers lining up outside three hours before the proceeding began, television station KTVB of Boise, Idaho, reported.

Family members of Goncalves were among those who attended. One of them was weeping as the charges were read.

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