Suspect in Idaho slayings not expected to fight extradition
STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A man facing first-degree murder charges in the slayings of four University of Idaho students last fall is not expected to fight extradition at a hearing Tuesday in Pennsylvania, where he was captured at his parents home.
Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old doctoral student and teaching assistant in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, was taken into custody early Friday by state police in eastern Pennsylvania, authorities said.
Monroe County’s chief public defender, Jason LaBar, said his client is eager to be exonerated and plans to tell a judge in Pennsylvania that he will waive his extradition hearing so he can be quickly taken to Idaho.
LaBar said his client should be presumed innocent and “not tried in the court of public opinion.”
Capt. Anthony Dahlinger, of the Moscow Police Department in Idaho, told The Associated Press on Saturday that authorities believe Kohberger was responsible for all four murders.
“We believe we’ve got our man,” he said, adding that investigators obtained samples of Kohberger’s DNA directly from him after he was arrested.
Kohberger’s relatives in Pennsylvania have expressed sympathy for the families of the victims but vowed to support him and promote “his presumption of innocence.”
His parents, Michael and Maryann, and his two older sisters, Amanda and Melissa, said in a statement released Sunday by his attorney that they “care deeply for the four families who have lost their precious children. There are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray each day for them.”
The family said that relatives will continue to let the legal process unfold, and that “as a family we will love and support our son and brother.” They say they have fully cooperated with law enforcement to try to “seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions.”
Latah County prosecutors in Idaho have said they believe Kohberger broke into the students’ home near the university campus intending to commit murder. Their bodies were found Nov. 13, several hours after investigators believe they died.
The students — Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington — were members of the university’s Greek system and close friends.
Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived in the three-story rental home with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating, and he had been visiting the house that night.
Latah County prosecutors have said the affidavit for four charges of first-degree murder will remain sealed until he is returned. He is also charged with felony burglary.
Investigators have asked for information about Kohberger from anyone who knows him, and Dahlinger said investigators got 400 calls to a tip line within the first hour of that request. He said they were “trying to build this picture now of him: Who he is, his history, how we got to this event, why this event occurred.”