In a recent development in the case of Bryan Kohberger, the suspect charged with the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students, his defense team has requested additional time to determine whether to provide a formal alibi, CrimeSpace can report.
Public defender Anne Taylor filed a motion in Latah County District Court on Friday, stating that the defense had not been given sufficient time to thoroughly review the extensive evidence presented by the prosecution. The evidence, which includes thousands of pages of discovery, photographs, and hours of recordings, requires careful examination, Taylor argued.
Under normal circumstances, Idaho law grants a criminal defendant a period of ten days to provide information regarding their intention to present an alibi, demonstrating they were not present at the scene of the alleged crime. However, the judge has the discretion to extend this deadline as necessary.
According to Taylor, the defense team requires additional time to make a thorough determination and consider the applicable evidentiary rules.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary for the killings that occurred on November 13. The victims, Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found stabbed to death at a residence located just outside the main campus of the University of Idaho in Moscow. Kohberger has entered a not guilty plea, and he has been in police custody since his arrest at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania in late December. He is currently being held without bail.
In addition to Kohberger’s request for more time, Latah County District Court Judge John Judge is also expected to make a ruling regarding arguments presented by a media coalition and an attorney representing the Goncalves family. They have requested a modification to the existing gag order in the case, which currently prohibits all attorneys involved, including prosecutors, defense lawyers, and those representing victims and witnesses, from making any public statements beyond what is already on the public record.
Both defense attorneys and prosecutors have argued that the gag order is necessary to prevent potential bias among jurors. However, Shanon Gray, the attorney representing the Goncalves family, has urged the court to amend the order, allowing him to speak publicly on behalf of his clients. Gray emphasized that his clients are neither parties nor witnesses in the case and should not be subject to the restrictions imposed by the gag order, CNN reported.
A media coalition has also challenged the gag order, describing it as vague, overbroad, unduly restrictive, and lacking specificity. Wendy Olson, an attorney representing the media coalition, stated that publicity alone is not inherently prejudicial and that allowing reporters to obtain accurate information would aid the public in better understanding the case. Olson also proposed alternative measures to ensure an impartial jury, such as holding the trial in a different location or sequestering the jurors.
The families of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin, and Xana Kernodle, the victims in the Bryan Kohberger case, have been prohibited from speaking publicly about the ongoing investigation. Kohberger, who declined to enter a plea in May, had a not guilty plea entered on his behalf by the judge. The trial is scheduled to take place in Latah County in October.
In recent court filings, Kohberger’s defense attorneys have requested an extension to make a decision regarding the presentation of an alibi, citing the voluminous and ongoing nature of the discovery process. Idaho state law requires attorneys to declare their intention to provide an alibi before the trial commences.
During the recent hearing, Kohberger’s attorneys argued against lifting the existing gag order that prevents attorneys from discussing the case publicly. The order has also limited the ability of the victims’ families to address the media. Kohberger’s legal team claimed that he is being overly scrutinized, expressing concerns about biased media coverage and describing the attention surrounding the case as grotesque.
The police investigation has linked Kohberger to the crime through DNA evidence found at the scene as well as his vehicle. Surveillance footage captured a white Hyundai Elantra, matching Kohberger’s car, in the vicinity of the crime scene before and after the quadruple killings. Additionally, one of the victims’ housemates identified Kohberger based on his distinctive bushy eyebrows after encountering the killer.
While Kohberger has yet to submit a plea or defense strategy, he has consistently maintained his determination to fight the case. As the trial date approaches, the families of the victims await further developments, unable to publicly share their thoughts and experiences surrounding this tragic event.