Home Kohberger attorney: Idaho murders suspect ‘eager to be exonerated’

Kohberger attorney: Idaho murders suspect ‘eager to be exonerated’

Chris Graham
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The Pennsylvania public defender representing Bryan Kohberger, who has been charged in the grisly Nov. 13 murders of four Idaho college students, is trying to sell the media on the idea that the grad student is “eager to be exonerated.”

“Mr. Kohberger has been accused of very serious crimes, but the American justice system cloaks him in a veil of innocence,” said Jason LaBar, the chief of Monroe County public defender office, who is representing Kohberger in Pennsylvania as he awaits extradition to Idaho.

Kohberger, 28, faces four counts of first-degree murder in the stabbing deaths of Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20.

According to authorities, the four – all students at the University of Idaho, which is located in Moscow, Idaho – were attacked in at least two separate bedrooms, presumably as they slept.

Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived at the rental house where the attack occurred. Chapin was visiting Kernodle, his girlfriend.

Two of their roommates apparently slept through the stabbings and did not wake up until several hours afterward.

Kohberger is a grad student working toward a doctoral degree in criminology at Washington State University, which is located in Pullman, Wash., 10 miles from Moscow.

LaBar, his attorney, stressed in a statement on behalf of Kohberger that his client “should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise – not tried in the court of public opinion.”

“One should not pass judgment about the facts of the case unless and until a fair trial in court at which time all sides may be heard and inferences challenged,” said LaBar, who also shared a statement from the Kohberger family that played up the presumption of innocence angle.

“We will continue to let the legal process unfold and as a family we will love and support our son and brother,” the family said in their statement. “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.”

The gruesome murders rocked Moscow, which had not recorded a murder in seven years, and the apparent lack of progress in the investigation into what had happened, and who was responsible, fueled community fear and frustration with police, who have cited constraints unique to the criminal justice system in Idaho in keeping what they know close to their vests.

Even after Kohberger was arrested on Friday at his parents’ home in Chestnuthill Township, Pa., police have not had a lot to say about their case against him.

The police chief in Moscow, James Fry, did tell ABC News on Saturday that police there believe Kohberger is the man responsible for the murders.

“We believe we have our guy, the one that committed these murders,” said Fry, who also told ABC News that a white Hyundai Elantra that police had been searching for in connection with the crime belongs to Kohberger and was seized at his parents’ home where he was arrested.

But at this point, police have not found the long knife that they believe was used to carry out the attacks, and they’ve not offered anything publicly about the possible motive.

The probable cause affidavit detailing the reasons for Kohberger’s arrest is sealed under Idaho law until he is returned to Idaho. Once it is unsealed, more information, most notably, what led police to the Hyundai Elantra, will be made public, Fry said.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].