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Suspect in Idaho murders plans to cancel extradition hearing

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BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A suspect arrested in connection with the murder of four University of Idaho students plans to waive an extradition hearing so he can be quickly brought to Idaho to face charges. murder charges, his attorney said on Saturday.

Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old Ph.D. A student and teaching assistant in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University was taken into custody early Friday morning by Pennsylvania State Police at his parents’ home in Chestnuthill Township, authorities said.

“We think we’ve got our man,” Moscow Police Department Captain Anthony Dahlinger told The Associated Press on Saturday.

Investigators obtained DNA samples from Kohberger directly from the suspect after his arrest, Dahlinger said.

“He is the one we believe responsible for the four murders,” he said.

Bill Thompson, a Latah County, Idaho district attorney, told a news conference Friday that investigators believe Kohberger broke into the University of Idaho student house near the campus “with intent to commit murder”. Student bodies – Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington – were found on November 1. On the 13th, several hours after investigators believed they were dead.

The arrest in the disturbing case has brought a sense of relief to the small northern Idaho college town after weeks gone by with little information released by police. But it also raised questions about whether the suspect was the victims, what he did in the weeks after the killings and how authorities tracked him down in Pennsylvania.

Many of those details will be released after Kohberger makes his first appearance in an Idaho courtroom, Dahlinger said. State law prohibits police from releasing most investigative records while the investigation is ongoing, and investigators have kept many details about the investigation secret to avoid harming the case. did he declare.

“I really hope everyone can understand the ‘why’ behind us holding a lot of information close to our vest,” Dahlinger said. This is the positive result we have been looking for all this time.

Kohberger’s attorney, Chief Public Defender Jason LaBar, said Kohberger was eager to be exonerated and planned to tell a judge in Monroe County, Pa., on Tuesday that he would forfeit his extradition hearing. so that he could be quickly brought to Idaho.

LaBar also cautioned people against passing judgment on the case until a fair trial has taken place. The case has generated huge amounts of speculation on social media, with would-be detectives suggesting possible motives and frequently trying to pin the blame for the deaths on various friends and acquaintances of the victims.

“Mr. Kohberger has been charged with very serious crimes, yet the American justice system shrouds him in a veil of innocence,” LaBar wrote in a prepared statement. “He should be presumed innocent until proven guilty — and not judged by the court of public opinion.”

Police are now trying to understand “every aspect” of Kohberger, Dahlinger said. When the arrest was announced, investigators asked anyone who knew Kohberger to call a hotline to share information.

The response was immediate.

“We got 400 phone calls in the first hour after the press conference, which is great,” Dahlinger said. “We are now trying to build this image of him: who he is, his story, how we got to this event, why this event happened.”

Neighbors of the Kohberger family in Chestnuthill Township, Pa., told the (Scranton) Times-Tribune on Friday that they were shocked to see law enforcement vehicles outside the home.

Eileen Cesaretti, who lives across the street, said she loved Kohberger’s parents and loved their son, who she said helped her and her husband around their home when he came home from school.

“I don’t think he’s capable of doing something like that. I pray to God that he is innocent,” Cesaretti said.

Nephi Duff lives next door to Bryan Kohberger in a Washington State University apartment complex for graduate students and families. He told Spokane, Washington-based television station KREM2 that recent crimes like the Moscow murders left him in danger.

“I don’t remember ever seeing him,” Duff said of Kohberger. “I was thinking of moving to a small, safe community, but that hasn’t been the case recently. I just think if these things are happening under my nose, how can I protect (my family)? »

BK Norton, a student in WSU’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, said Friday that they didn’t know Kohberger well, but didn’t like him.

“We interacted in class, but personally I wasn’t a fan of Bryan because of the comments he made about LGBTQ+ people,” they said in an email to The Associated Press. “He was a bit quirky, but I always thought it was because he was awkward and wanted to fit in.”

Federal and state investigators are now combing through Kohberger’s background, financial records and electronic communications as they work to identify a motive and build the case, a law enforcement official who could not publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. Investigators are also interviewing people who knew Kohberger, including those at WSU, the official said.

Kohberger is being held without bond in Pennsylvania and will be held without bond in Idaho once he is removed, said Thompson, the Latah County prosecutor. The affidavit for four first-degree murder charges in Idaho will remain sealed until his return, Thompson said. He is also charged with burglary in Idaho. An extradition hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

Students were members of the university’s Greek system and close friends. Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived in the three-story rental house with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating and he was visiting the house that evening.

Autopsies showed all four were probably asleep when attacked. Some had defensive wounds and each was stabbed multiple times. There were no signs of a sexual assault, police said.

Ben Roberts, a graduate student in WSU’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, described Kohberger as confident and outgoing, but said it seemed “he was always looking for a way to fit in.”

“Honestly, I just identified him as super clumsy.” said Roberts.

Roberts started the program in August — with Kohberger, he said — and took several classes with him. He described Kohberger as wanting to appear academic.

“One thing he always did, almost without fail, was find the most complicated way to explain something,” he said.

The arrest marked a bittersweet moment for law enforcement, Dahlinger said.

We are very happy that we were able to locate Mr. Kohberger and bring him into custody, but we all still feel sadness and pain,” he said. “We feel awful for the families and the loss of their loved ones.”


Levy reported from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Balsamo reported from Washington. news researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York; journalists Mark Scolforo and Brooke Schultz in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Michael Kunzelman in Silver Spring, Maryland; and Martha Bellisle in Seattle also contributed.

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