Doctoral student accused in Idaho college slayings agrees to extradition

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) -The doctoral student accused in the November stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students will be transferred to Idaho to face murder charges there, after he agreed at a Tuesday court hearing in Pennsylvania not to fight extradition.

Bryan Kohberger, 28, was taken into custody last week in Monroe County in eastern Pennsylvania, where he was visiting family. Kohberger has been working toward a criminal justice PhD degree at Washington State University, located near the University of Idaho campus.

Jason LaBar, his public defender in Monroe County, told NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday that Kohberger believes he will be exonerated. He faces four counts of first-degree murder and felony burglary.

Kohberger's transfer to Idaho must occur within 10 days, according to a court order. Authorities in Pennsylvania and Idaho are discussing his transport, Pennsylvania State Police Major Christopher Paris said at a news conference, but the timing remained unclear.

The crime stunned the small college town of Moscow in northwestern Idaho, where the four victims - three women and one man - were found dead on the morning of Nov. 13 in the women's house.

The victims - Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho - all suffered multiple stab wounds, according to authorities. Chapin was Kernodle's boyfriend.

Two other female roommates in the house at the time of the killings were unharmed, apparently having slept through the attack.

Kernodle and Chapin had attended a party the night before, while best friends Mogen and Goncalves had visited a local bar and food truck, with all four returning to the house before 2 a.m. Authorities have said the slayings occurred between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.

Authorities have not publicly disclosed a motive but have said they are confident Kohberger is responsible for all four killings. A probable cause affidavit that lays out the basis for the charges will offer additional details, but it remains under seal until Kohberger is physically in Idaho.

Police served three search warrants when taking him into custody on Friday, Pennsylvania officials said. The warrants gave investigators the right to search his family's house, search a white Elantra and take DNA samples and photographs of Kohberger.

Idaho authorities have previously said that a white Elantra was spotted near the murder scene.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Will Dunham, Tomasz Janowski and Lisa Shumaker)