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Bryan Kohberger: Suspect in Idaho college killings plans to waive extradition hearing, lawyer says

Bryan Kohberger: Suspect in Idaho college killings plans to waive extradition hearing, lawyer says

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CNN

The suspected in the murders of four University of Idaho students plans to waive his extradition hearing this week, his lawyer said, to expedite his return to the precious state, where he faces four counts of first-degree murder.

Brian Christopher Koberger is “a little shocked,” Jason LaBarre, chief public defender for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, told CNN on Saturday. a day after the 28-year-old was arrested in his home state on charges related to the fatal stabbings to Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20. He also faces a felony burglary charge, according to Latta County, Idaho, prosecutor Bill Thompson.

LaBar did not discuss the slaying case with the suspect when they spoke for about an hour Friday night, the attorney said, adding that he did not have probable cause documents related to him and was only representing Kohberger in his extradition matter, which attorney, called a ‘formality’.

“It’s a procedural matter and really all the Commonwealth has to prove is that he resembles or is the person for whom the warrant was issued and that he was in the area at the time of the crime,” LaBarre said.

Waiver of the extradition hearing scheduled for Tuesday was “obviously an easy decision,” LaBarre said, “because he does not dispute that he is Brian Koberger.”

In a statement, LaBarre emphasized that his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty, saying, “Mr. Kohberger is eager to be cleared of these allegations and looks forward to resolving these matters as quickly as possible.

The arrest of the suspect — a doctoral student in Washington State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, the school confirmed — comes nearly seven weeks after the victims were found stabbed to death in an off-campus home on Nov. 13. Since then, investigators say they have conducted more than 300 interviews and reviewed approximately 20,000 tips.

But authorities have yet to publicly confirm the suspect’s motive or even whether he knew the victims, whose deaths rocked the college community and the surrounding city of Moscow. The murder weapon has also not been found, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said Friday.

In the weeks since the murders, some community members have grown frustrated that investigators have yet to offer a thorough account of how the night unfolded. Authorities have released limited details, including the victims’ activities leading up to the attacks and the people they have ruled out as suspects.

Frye told reporters Friday that state law limits the information authorities can release before Kochberger’s first appearance in an Idaho court. The probable cause affidavit — which details the factual basis of Kohberger’s charges — is sealed until the suspect is physically in Latah County and served with the Idaho warrant for his arrest, Thompson said.

Investigators honed in on Koberger as a suspect through DNA evidence and by confirming his ownership of a white Hyundai Elantra seen near the crime scene, according to two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation. Authorities say he lived just minutes from the scene of the stabbings.

He was driving a white Hyundai Elantra and arrived at his parents’ house in Pennsylvania around Christmas, according to a law enforcement source. Authorities began tracking him at some point during his trip east of Idaho.

An FBI surveillance team tracked him for four days before his arrest while law enforcement worked with prosecutors to develop enough probable cause to obtain a warrant, two law enforcement sources said.

Genetic genealogy techniques were used to link Kohberger to unidentified DNA evidence, another source familiar with the case told CNN. DNA was run through a public database to find matches to potential family members, and subsequent investigative work by law enforcement led to his identification as a suspect, the source said.

LaBar confirmed that Kohberger, accompanied by his father, drove from Idaho to Pennsylvania to celebrate the holidays with his family. A white Hyundai Elantra was found at his parents’ home, LaBar said, where authorities arrested Kohberger early Friday.

LaBar was unsure how quickly his client would be returned to Idaho after his intention to waive extradition at Tuesday’s hearing, saying it would be based on authorities. But LaBar expected Kohberger to be returned to Idaho within 72 hours of the proceedings.


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