PA STROUDSBURG – After giving up his right to an extradition hearing the day before, a criminology graduate student accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November is no longer being detained in a Pennsylvania jail as of Wednesday morning.
In order to expedite his transportation to Idaho to face trial, Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old PhD candidate and teaching assistant at Washington State University, renounced his right to an extradition hearing in a Pennsylvania court on Tuesday.
Around 9 a.m. EST on Wednesday, a jail official informed ABC News that Kohberger was no longer being held at the Monroe County, Pennsylvania jail. The jail official reported that he left on a plane on Wednesday morning.
During the weeks that investigators appeared to be baffled by the inexplicable and horrific stabbings on November 13, University of Idaho students and the local community lived in fear. However, after looking for a white vehicle observed close to the time of the killings and examining DNA evidence at the scene, Idaho police seemed to make progress.
According to the investigators, they are still searching for a murder weapon and a reason for the crimes. After Kohberger arrives in Idaho and an affidavit is unsealed, further information regarding the case is anticipated to be made public.
But since an Idaho magistrate judge on Tuesday evening issued a so-called gag order prohibiting officials from speaking publicly about many aspects of the case outside of court, lawyers, law enforcement officers, and other parties involved in the case won’t be able to discuss the affidavit or other court documents.
When a judge believes that pretrial publicity may hinder a defendant from receiving a fair trial, they may issue the orders.
Kohberger admitted to being charged with four counts of first-degree murder as well as a burglary charge during a brief hearing on Tuesday in a Pennsylvania courthouse while wearing a red jumpsuit and having his wrists chained in front of him.
Kohberger was detained in a jail in Monroe County, Pennsylvania until his extradition after being apprehended by state police at his parents’ house in eastern Pennsylvania on Friday.
Behind the defense table in the front row of the courtroom gallery were Kohberger’s parents and sisters. As he entered the courtroom, his mother and sister Melissa started crying and embracing each other close. A box of Kleenex was delivered to them by a sheriff’s officer. Kohberger cast a fleeting glimpse at his loved ones as he was escorted out of the courthouse.
Prosecutors in Latah County, Idaho, have stated that they think Kohberger broke into the victims’ house nearby the university with the intent to kill them.
The students were: Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho. They belonged to the university’s Greek system and were good friends.
The three-story rental house housed Mogen, Goncalves, and Kernodle along with two other roommates. Chapin had come over to the house that evening; the two were dating.
Moscow, Idaho, a small rural town, has been devastated by the deaths, and authorities have given little information about their investigation. Even though a suspect had not been identified, the Moscow Police Department received harsh criticism for weeks for reassuring terrified citizens that there was no risk to the neighborhood.
Despite the fact that the university employed more security to accompany students around campus, nearly half of the 11,500 total students temporarily abandoned the school in favour of the alleged security of online courses.
Online, would-be sleuths made their own ideas in an effort to fill the hole; some of them targeted the friends and acquaintances of the murdered teenagers with harsh and false accusations.
According to the Monroe County top public defender, his client is eager to be cleared. The public lawyer, Jason LaBar, argued that Kohberger should be treated as innocent and “not prosecuted in the court of public opinion.”
Kohberger will be represented by the top public defender in Kootenai County, Idaho, following his extradition, as per LaBar, who called him “an ordinary guy” following the hearing on Tuesday.
The Associated Press was informed on Saturday that officials suspect Kohberger was responsible for all four murders at a rental house close to campus, according to Capt. Anthony Dahlinger of the Moscow Police Department in Idaho.
“We think we’ve got our man,” Dahlinger said, adding that once Kohberger was caught, detectives took DNA samples from him directly.
According to Pennsylvania State Police Maj. Christopher Paris, Kohberger should have been arrested after dark on Tuesday because his warrant met a higher threshold of probable cause.
“When we believed it would be the safest for everyone, we wanted to enter. Safest for Mr. Kohberger, safest for anyone else in the house, and safest for our staff “said he.
A tactical response team examined the home’s floor plans and shattered a number of doors and windows to gain inside, according to Paris.
Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall issued a “non-dissemination order” that forbade everyone engaged in the case from discussing anything that was “reasonably likely to interfere with a fair trial of this matter.” According to Marshall’s order, this includes specifics regarding any evidence, the existence of any confessions or other statements made by the defendant, or the strength of the case.
The court may modify the gag order at any time prior to the announcement of the decision. However, once Kohberger gets to Idaho, it’s anticipated that the paper records of the criminal case will continue to be accessible to the public.
A law enforcement official said last week that DNA evidence was crucial in identifying Kohberger as a suspect and that authorities were able to match his DNA to genetic material found throughout the inquiry. Because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the specifics of the ongoing inquiry, the official spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The official, who wished to remain unidentified, stated that in addition to the DNA evidence, officials discovered Kohberger had a white Hyundai Elantra.
After identifying a white Hyundai Elantra observed close to the crime site, Moscow police appealed for the public’s assistance in locating the vehicle. As information streamed in, Idaho detectives quickly found themselves trying to select the appropriate vehicle from a list of over 20,000 potentials.
The Indiana State Police reported on Tuesday that a white Hyundai Elantra was stopped on Interstate 70 on December 15 for following too closely. According to the police, Bryan Kohberger seemed to be in the driver’s seat according to a body camera worn by the trooper. The trooper was given verbal caution and released because, according to the agency, he did not have any information at the time that would have identified Kohberger as a suspect in the Idaho killings.
A Hancock County Sheriff’s Department deputy had also verbally warned Kohberger for following too closely after stopping him a short time earlier, according to the sheriff’s office.
According to the official who requested anonymity, federal and state investigators are scouring Kohberger’s past, finances, and electronic communications as they try to build a case against him. According to the official, the investigators are also speaking with individuals who knew Kohberger, including those at Washington State University.
Although they expressed sympathy to the families of the victims, Kohberger’s relatives in Pennsylvania promised to stand by him and support “his presumption of innocence.”
Anyone who knows Kohberger has been asked to provide information about him, and within an hour of making that request, 400 calls to a tip line, according to Dahlinger, were made. They were “trying to build this picture of him now: Who he is, his history, how we got to this event, why this event occurred,” he claimed.
From Boise, Idaho, Boone contributed to this report.