Bryan Kohberger court hearing canceled at last-minute as defense demands evidence in Idaho murders case

Bryan Kohberger court hearing canceled at last-minute as defense demands evidence in Idaho murders case

Two hearings in the Bryan Kohberger quadruple murder trial were canceled at the last minute as the defense demanded new evidence from prosecutors.

Mr Kohberger’s attorney Anne Taylor says state prosecutors are withholding evidence the defense team should be privy to, according to several motions that have been filed.

Judge John Judge postponed the closed-door hearings until 30 May so that both parties have time to review the information submitted between 7 May and 10 May.

It’s the latest delay in the case that has hit multiple roadblocks over the past 18 months since four University of Idaho students were brutally stabbed to death in November 2022 at their off-campus home in Moscow.

Mr Kohberger, 29, a former PhD student who is accused of killing the victims with a military-style knife, appeared in the Latah County courtroom on Tuesday.

Bryan Kohberger, pictured here in September 2023,
Bryan Kohberger, pictured here in September 2023,

The decision came after Mr Kohberger’s defense team requested the new evidence relating to the probable cause affidavit used in his arrest, according to The Idaho Statesman.

This evidence includes cell phone tower data, a video of a vehicle seen near the 1122 King Road home and information relating to a driving test.

“The state knows full well what they have and what they’re withholding from us,” Ms Taylor said at a hearing earlier this month. “We don’t know what they’re going to show, but we know they exist.”

In the alibi motion filed last month, the defence said they planned to call Sy Ray, a former police officer to dispute some aspects of the cell phone pings included in the probable cause affidavit, the newspaper reported.

The evidentiary hearing will now take place at 10am local time on 30 May and be open to the public, however, if “issues arise that must be addressed in a sealed proceeding, the Court will clear the courtroom and discontinue the live stream of the proceedings on the Court’s YouTube channel,” according to court documents.

A second hearing scheduled for later this week has also been postponed until 30 May. It will begin behind closed doors at 130pm local time and will pertain to the investigative genetic genealogy records used by the FBI to identify Kohberger.

Last month, Mr Kohberger's lawyers shared his alibi for the night of the murders, claiming that he was out driving because he often enjoyed looking at the moon and stars.

“Mr Kohberger was out driving in the early morning hours of November 13, 2022; as he often did to hike and run and/or see the moon and stars,” Ms Taylor wrote. “He drove throughout the area south of Pullman, Washington, west of Moscow, Idaho including Wawawai Park.”

Pullman is approximately 8 miles west of Moscow, where the murders took place.

Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were killed 13 November 2022 (Instagram)
Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were killed 13 November 2022 (Instagram)

Earlier this month, Ashlin Couch, a former roommate who moved out six months before the murders spoke out for the first time, revealing the moment she realized her friends were dead and the final text she sent to them.

Ms Couch told KXLY that she moved into the doomed off-campus house on King Road in Moscow, Idaho, in 2020, with her friends Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen. She moved out in May 2022 and Xana Kernodle took over the lease.

Six months later, in the early hours of 13 November 2022, Goncalves, 21, Mogen, 21, Kernodle, 20, and Kernodle’s boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, were stabbed to death inside the student home.

Two other female roommates were in the home at the time but were unharmed. One of the survivors – Dylan Mortensen – came face to face with the masked killer, dressed in head-to-toe black and with bushy eyebrows, as he left the home in the aftermath of the murders, according to the criminal affidavit.

In an emotional interview, Ms Couch recalled the moment that she received an alert from the University of Idaho, alerting her to a suspected murder on King Road – the address that she had moved out of mere months earlier.

She sent a final text to Mogen, asking: “Are you okay?”

“I remember, I think, getting a second alert or I had been driving home and I texted like our group of friends, and I just had said, ‘Has anyone heard from Maddie?’ And I remember, like my last text message to her was like, ‘Are you okay?’” she said.

“And I felt it like right then and there, I kind of just knew that something was wrong.”

For months after the murders, she said she was scared to walk to her car in the dark.

Now, she works to raise awareness and educate students on social media safety.

In May 2023, Mr Kohberger declined to enter a plea in the case, prompting a judge to enter his plea as not guilty.

Idaho prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against Mr Kohberger.

In March, the Idaho Supreme Court denied a request from Mr Kohberger for his grand jury indictment to be thrown out.

A trial date has not been set.