Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger appears in court to waive extradition in college student killings

The man accused of butchering four University of Idaho students in their beds in a shocking knife attack has appeared in court in Pennsylvania for his extradition hearing.

Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminology PhD student who lived less than 10 miles from the victims, faced a judge in the Monroe County Courthouse at 3.30pm ET on Tuesday – four days after his bombshell arrest for the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

Mr Kohberger confirmed that he is not on any medication that would impact his decision-making before voluntarily agreeing to extradition, paving the way for him to be transported back to Idaho to face murder charges.

The suspect’s parents and two sisters looked on in court as a judge ordered he be extradited to Idaho within 10 days. Mr Kohberger was said to have nodded toward them as his mother cried in the gallery.

Cameras were barred from the courtroom but he was filmed entering and leaving in handcuffs, wearing an orange jumpsuit over a heavily-protective vest.

Prior to the hearing, public defender Jason LaBar said that Mr Kohberger was “eager” to get the process underway so that he could “be exonerated” of the allegations and so that he could focus on “resolving these matters as promptly as possible”.

Mr Kohberger was spotted being led into court late on Tuesday morning ahead of the hearing.

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Dressed in red prison garb and with his hands cuffed in front of him, the accused quadruple murderer was flanked by officers as he exited a prison van and entered the court building.

The suspect could be back in Idaho as soon as Tuesday evening – a move that is likely to lead to the release of information about what ultimately led investigators to hone in on the criminology student in connection to the brutal quadruple murders that have rocked the small town of Moscow and hit headlines across the globe.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry has said he is confident that they have the sole killer of the four students but officials have so far stayed tight-lipped about what evidence they have linking him to the killings.

The police chief said in Friday’s press conference that this is partly due to state law which limits what officials can release before a suspect makes their initial court appearance.

The probable cause affidavit must also remain sealed until the suspect returns to Idaho where he faces charges.

However, two law enforcement sources told CNN that the net closed in on Mr Kohberger when the white Hyundai Elantra seen near the crime scene at the time of the killings was traced back to him.

Bryan Kohberger is seen being led into court in Pennsylvania for his extradition hearing (Brian Entin)
Bryan Kohberger is seen being led into court in Pennsylvania for his extradition hearing (Brian Entin)

His DNA was then also matched through genetic geneology techniques to DNA found at the crime scene, the sources said.

Mr Kohberger has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder as well as a felony burglary charge.

No motive has been given for the brutal stabbings and it is unclear what connection – if any – he may have to the four victims.

Kaylee Goncalves’ father Steve Goncalves told ABC News that he had found unnamed connections between the suspect and his daughter – but was not ready to reveal what these potential ties were.

The grieving father vowed to face his daughter’s alleged killer in court, saying that he wants Mr Kohberger to be “sick of seeing us” as he spoke of his determination to win “a battle of wills” against the man accused of stabbing his daughter to death in her bed.

“I want him to be sick of seeing us and sick of knowing that these people won’t let it go,” he told NBC News on Monday.

“You know, it’s a battle of wills, and we’ll see who wins.”

On Friday, police swooped in on the Kohberger family home in Chestnuthill Township, Monroe County, and arrested him for the 13 November murders in Moscow.

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, pictured in his mugshot after being arrested in connection with the murders of four University of Idaho students (Monroe County Correctional Facility)
Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, pictured in his mugshot after being arrested in connection with the murders of four University of Idaho students (Monroe County Correctional Facility)

As a criminal justice PhD student at Washington State University – just across the Idaho-Washington border from Moscow – Mr Kohberger lives just 15 minutes from the King Road home where the murders took place.

In the aftermath of the murders, he had stayed in Pullman, Washington, and continued with his studies for several weeks before setting off on the 2,500-mile drive to his home state Pennsylvania sometime in December so that he could spend the holidays with his family.

However, his public defender has now revealed that Mr Kohberger did not make the journey alone.

Jason LaBar told CNN that Mr Kohberger’s father had travelled to Washington state to meet his son before Christmas – weeks after the violent quadruple homicide – so that they could make the cross-country drive home together.

The father and son travelled in the suspect’s white Hyundai Elantra – the vehicle that has been at the centre of the murder investigation for several weeks.

They were pulled over by police twice as they passed through Indiana, Mr LaBar told KTVB. Mr LaBar said he wasn’t sure if the stops resulted in citations but said one was for speeding and the other was for following a car ahead too closely.

Sometime during the journey east, investigators began tracking Mr Kohberger’s movements across the US.

“Sometime right before Christmas we were zeroing in on him being in or going to Pennsylvania,” a law enforcement source told CNN.

Two separate witnesses also recalled seeing the two men at an auto repair shop in Pennsylvania on 16 December when the pair stopped off to get the Hyundai Elantra serviced.

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One individual, who did not want to be identified, told CNN that they had a friendly conversation with both Mr Kohberger and his father at the business.

During that encounter, the suspect appeared “a little awkward” but did not appear suspicious, they said, adding that he had spoken of his ambitions to work in behavioural criminal justice and become a professor.

Mr LaBar said that the father and son then arrived at their family home in the Pocono Mountains around 17 December.

An FBI team kept Mr Kohberger under surveillance in the area for several days before his arrest on Friday (30 December).

The white Elantra driven by Mr Kohberger was seized from his parents’ home at the time of his arrest. Investigators had been searching since early December for the occupant of a white 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra which has been spotted in the “immediate area” of the crime scene at the time of the murders.

There is no indication that the suspect’s family had any involvement in or knowledge of his alleged crimes and police believe that he acted alone.

In a statement released on Sunday, his parents vowed to support their son and brother as the legal process moves forward.

“First and foremost we 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 in a statement.

“We will continue to let the legal process unfold and as a family we will love and support our son and brother.

“We have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in an attempt to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions. We respect privacy in this matter as our family and the families suffering loss can move forward through the legal process.”

Mr Kohberger moved to Washington to begin the criminology graduate program at Washington State University in August and had just completed his first semester.

Before this, he studied criminology at DeSales University – first as an undergraduate and then finishing his graduate studies in June 2022.

While there, he studied under renowned forensic psychologist Katherine Ramsland who interviewed the BTK serial killer and co-wrote the book Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer with him.

Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were murdered on 13 November (AP)
Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were murdered on 13 November (AP)

He also carried out a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime”.

He reached out for participants on Reddit, with the chilling survey resurfacing in the wake of his arrest.

“In particular, this study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience,” the post said.

His arrest marked a huge break in the seven-week-long investigation into the murders which rocked the small college town back on 13 November.

The four victims were stabbed to death in their beds with a fixed-blade knife at around 3am or 4am that morning.

Two of the victims were found on the second floor and two on the third floor of the three-storey student rental – a stone’s throw from the University of Idaho campus.

Two surviving roommates slept through the attack in bedrooms on the first floor.

The students’ bodies were discovered at around midday.