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Idaho murder suspect Brian Koberger appears in court, waives right to speedy probable cause hearing

Idaho murder suspect Brian Koberger appears in court, waives right to speedy probable cause hearing

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CNN

The man suspected of killing four University of Idaho students appeared in court Thursday for a status conference, where a judge scheduled a preliminary probable cause hearing to begin June 26.

Brian Kochberger, who appeared in court in an orange prison uniform with his legs shackled, waived his right to a speedy probable cause hearing within 14 days. The 28-year-old spoke only briefly as he answered the referee’s questions.

The public defender representing the suspect asked the judge to allow four or five days for a probable cause hearing this summer, and the judge indicated he would block the week of June 26 for the case. The judge also ordered Koberger to remain in state custody without bond.

Kohberger is being held without bond in the Latah County Jail in Idaho, where he faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary in the fatal stabbings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

After a night out, the four students were found dead on Nov. 13 in an off-campus home, police said, wearing out their nerves the college town of Moscow, Idahoalong the Washington state border.

Follow the live updates: Brian Koberger to appear in court

Authorities arrested Kochberger nearly seven weeks later, taking him to his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, where a lawyer said he had been traveling for the holidays. And while it took almost two months for authorities to publicly name a suspect, for police who faced increasing criticism while the investigation outwardly appeared stalled—had begun to focus on Kohberger as a suspect weeks earlier.

Meanwhile, Koberger’s neighbor in nearby Pullman, Washington, said CBS News the suspect asked him about the murders days after they happened, allegedly saying, “Yeah, they don’t seem to have any leads. It appears to be a crime of passion. The neighbor requested anonymity, CBS reported.

Among the most notable pieces of evidence was a witness account from one of the victims’ surviving roommates, who told police she saw a man dressed in black inside the house on the morning of the murders. according to a probable cause affidavit released last week. The witness described the man as about 5-foot-10 or taller and not very muscular but athletically built with bushy eyebrows, the release said.

Investigators were also drawn to a white sedan seen on local surveillance footage in the area around the home. By Nov. 25, they had told local law enforcement to be on the lookout for the car, identified by then as a Hyundai Elantra.

Days later, officers at Washington State University, where Kochberger was a doctoral student in criminal justice, located such a vehicle and discovered it was registered to Kochberger, the affidavit said.

When investigators looked up his driver’s license information, they found it matched the roommate’s description of the man dressed in black, the affidavit said, noting his height, weight and bushy eyebrows.

Koberger got a new license plate for his car five days after the murders, the affidavit said. When he was arrested in Pennsylvania last week, a white Elantra was found at his home, according to Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason LaBarre, who represented the suspect in his extradition.

Other evidence listed in the affidavit included phone records showing Kochberger’s phone was near the victims’ home at least a dozen times since June. The records also show the phone near the scene of the murders hours later, between 9:12 a.m. and 9:21 a.m., the document said.

Additionally, trash authorities removed from Kochberger’s family home revealed a DNA profile matched to the DNA of a tan leather scabbard found on the bed of one of the victims, the affidavit said. DNA recovered from the trash is believed to be that of the biological father of the man whose DNA was found on the wrapper, the release said.

Kochberger was also under surveillance for four days before his arrest, a law enforcement source told CNN. During that time, he was spotted placing trash bags in neighbors’ trash cans and “cleaned his car inside and out, not missing an inch,” according to the source.

A court order barred the prosecution and defense from commenting, except to refer to public records of the case.


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