The recent hearing to challenge the gag order in the case against Bryan Kohberger, the individual accused of the tragic killing of four University of Idaho college students last autumn, concluded without a decision, CrimeSpace can report.
During the hearing, which took place on Friday, all parties involved, including prosecutors, defense attorneys, and legal representatives for the victims’ families and witnesses, were restricted from making any public statements beyond what had already been disclosed in the public record.
While court documents offered limited details, they did mention a possible link between Kohberger and DNA evidence found on a knife sheath, as well as cellphone data.
At the beginning of the hearing, Judge John Judge expressed his apologies to the families of the victims for mispronouncing some of their names during Kohberger’s arraignment. The four students who tragically lost their lives were Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin.
Throughout the proceedings, the judge expressed his discontent with the media coverage that followed Kohberger’s decision to remain silent, which led the judge to enter a “not guilty” plea on Kohberger’s behalf.
Attorney Shanon Gray, who represented the Goncalves family, presented arguments opposing the gag order. Gray argued that the revised order imposed excessive restrictions on what attorneys could disclose about the case.
The judge acknowledged that the Goncalves family had not previously been subjected to any restrictions and had been allowed to express their opinions. Gray agreed with this observation, emphasizing that he should also be permitted to present his perspective and convey his clients’ sentiments.
Moreover, Gray criticized the prosecution, alleging a lack of sufficient communication from their side. He suggested that this lack of communication might be a result of the family’s early criticisms of the investigation.
In response, Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson refuted the claim, stating that his office had not withheld any information from Gray and his clients. Thompson argued in favor of maintaining the gag order, highlighting its importance in preventing juror bias and ensuring fairness.
Kohberger’s defense team also supported the continuation of the gag order, asserting that statements should be confined to the courtroom.
Gray countered the prosecution’s argument, emphasizing that there was no obstacle preventing them from contacting his clients even before he began representing the family.
The judge assured all parties involved that a decision would be reached promptly.