Years after Idaho college student slayings, judge eyes 2025 trial for suspect

It could be another year or more before a man accused in the 2022 stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students goes to trial.

A judge and attorneys discussed Thursday starting Bryan Kohberger’s trial sometime in June 2025, nearly three years after the killings shocked the small university town.

Idaho Judge John Judge said he wants to set aside two weeks for jury selection, two months for the trial and two weeks at the end for sentencing and other matters if Kohberger is convicted.

“I think already we’re about 13 months from the arraignment, and I think at this point ... we’re getting to a point of diminishing returns,” Judge said after he sent a proposed schedule to attorneys last Friday.

Lawyers for both sides generally agreed with the schedule.

A motion to move the trial from Moscow, Idaho — the small college town where students were killed — was tabled until August. Kohberger’s attorneys fear publicity would prevent a fair trial in Latah County.

Kohberger, a former criminal justice student at Washington State University in nearby Pullman, Washington, faces four counts of murder in the deaths of Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.

They were killed sometime in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2022, in a rental house not too far from the University of Idaho campus.

Police arrested Kohberger six weeks later at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, where he was spending winter break.

Investigators said they linked Kohberger to the crime using DNA found on a knife sheath at the scene, surveillance videos and cellphone data.

Kohberger’s defense lawyers have said in court documents that he was out driving alone the night of the killings, something he did often. They also intend to call a witness in cellphone and cell tower data to show that the night of the deaths, he did not travel east of the main road connecting Pullman and Moscow.

Prosecutors said they will seek the death penalty if Kohberger is convicted.


Thiessen reported from Anchorage, Alaska.