September 5 – Many changes have taken place in recent months during the ongoing quadruple homicide case in Moscow involving suspect Bryan Kohberger.
As community members wait for some form of closure, there are unresolved issues to be addressed and questions to be answered.
Here are some of those questions, as well as a summary of recent developments in the case.
A trial date was set for October 2. What happened to that?
Idaho law requires a defendant to be entitled to a trial within six months of arraignment if charged. October 2 was the target date.
Subsequently, on August 23, Kohberger and his attorney Anne Taylor notified Latah County District Judge John Judge that he was waiving his right to an expedited trial.
Facing a tight deadline to prepare for a complicated trial involving the death penalty, Taylor told Judge that delaying the trial will allow Kohberger to receive more effective counsel.
When does the Bryan Kohberger trial start?
It’s hard to say, but previous murder cases suggest that this will take some time.
A recent death penalty case involving a double murder in Grangeville illustrates how long this process can take. Richard Ross is charged with the first-degree murder of 76-year-old Edwina “Eddy” Devin and her 57-year-old son, Michael Devin, at their Grangeville home on September 30, 2021.
He was arrested on October 31, 2021. Ross’s trial is currently scheduled for January 16, 2024.
The most recent hearing in that case took place on Aug. 14, when Second District Judge Mark Monson heard 16 motions, including one of Ross’ attorneys to rule out the death penalty. His attorneys are Anne Taylor and Jay Logsdon, the same attorneys representing Kohberger.
Charles Capone was convicted of the 2010 murder of his estranged wife, Rachael Anderson, in Moscow. His trial did not take place until September 2014, although it was a complicated case involving a missing body and a cover-up involving his friend David Stone.
Convicted Moscow killer John Lee failed to face trial and it took more than a year before he accepted a plea deal in March 2016 for the January 10, 2015 shooting that killed three people.
Will the trial take place in Latah County?
That depends on how concerned the judge is about a biased jury. This is a possibility given the intense media coverage of the Kohberger case.
In the Ross case, Logsdon requested a change of venue to avoid a biased jury due to media coverage.
The 2018 trial of Lewiston murder suspect Patrick Nuxoll was moved from Nez Perce County to Latah County after a majority of jurors were found to have a bias towards the case.
What matters need to be arranged before the process starts?
First, there is the grand jury indictment.
Kohberger was charged in May in a closed grand jury proceeding, which led to his arraignment. Kohberger chose to remain silent during his arraignment rather than make a plea. The judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
Kohberger’s attorneys are working to get the indictment dismissed based on what they see as errors in the jury selection process, as well as the standard of evidence required for an indictment.
In the lawsuits, they argue that the grand jury had to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in order to justify an indictment. Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson argued that they only needed to determine probable cause.
Kohberger’s team also believes that the jury was not selected from a sufficiently large pool of candidates and that there have been irregularities with the jury’s questionnaires.
A hearing on the matter is scheduled for September 22.
In addition, evidence, witnesses and evidence are prepared before the trial. More motions are likely to be introduced, including motions on the death penalty.
There is still some debate about the amount of evidence that has been released. On August 18, the defense argued that there is still DNA evidence to be made public, including other male DNA evidence found at King Road’s home. Thompson argued that his office has already disclosed everything the lab and FBI gave to his team. Thompson said everything he heard from the defense about missing evidence is speculation.
The judge previously ordered all discoveries to be completed by Sept. 1, but now that the trial has been postponed, it’s unclear how this will affect this deadline.
There’s also the matter of his alibi.
What is known about a possible alibi for Kohberger on the night of the murders?
Kohberger drove alone in the evening hours of November 12 and the early morning hours of November 13.
According to Taylor, that’s all the information they have. He has offered no witnesses who can confirm when and where he was during the murder. Taylor stated that more information could emerge as testimony at the trial.
If there are witnesses, the court must have their names and addresses before the hearing.
What is the status of cameras in the courtroom?
This is an ongoing debate. Kohberger’s team alleges that the media’s cameras have created a bias that hinders his right to a fair trial. It filed a motion asking the judge to ban cameras in future court proceedings.
In a recent lawsuit, attorney Jay Logsdon argued that the media has failed to follow the court’s directive to stop focusing their cameras solely on Kohberger.
Logsdon wrote that the Kohberger case carries a risk of bias. The videos and photos of court proceedings are “gradually poisoning the potential jury pool.” The photos, he says, are attached to articles “with blatantly sensational and biased headlines and content…”
A coalition of media, represented by attorney Wendy Olson, wants to challenge Kohberger’s motion.
In a motion filed Wednesday, Olson argued that the Idaho Supreme Court has made it clear that media presence on a limited basis is appropriate to defend the public’s right of access and freedom of expression.
The judge scheduled a hearing for September 13 to discuss the matter.
What is the status of the media’s challenge to the silence order in relation to this case?
This is another example of the delicate balance between the First and Sixth Amendments.
In January, a gag order signed by Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall prohibited lawyers and law enforcement involved in the case from speaking publicly about the trial.
A media coalition that included the Daily News and the Lewiston Tribune challenged this order before the Idaho Supreme Court and later Latah County District Judge John Judge.
The injunction was upheld, but clarified by Judge, who wrote that attorneys and law enforcement are prohibited from making extrajudicial statements that they “ought reasonably to know are likely to materially prejudice or otherwise prejudice the outcome of the case.” to influence.”
This includes statements of evidence, witnesses, victims, or any opinion regarding Kohberger’s guilt or innocence.
What is the status of the King Road house where the murders took place?
The University of Idaho plans to eventually demolish the house where the four students were killed, but a delayed trial date seems likely to delay that demolition even further.
After the murders, the owner of the property donated the house to the UI, who planned to demolish it before the start of the school’s fall semester as a healing gesture for the community and to prevent attempts to sensationalize the crime scene .
UI officials said the school has received clearance from the prosecution and defense to do so. Relatives of Kaylee Goncalves, however, requested that the house remain until after the trial, in case it still needed to be kept as evidence.
The UI has mandated and covered costs for security, removal of personal items given to victims’ families, and cleaning up hazardous materials in the home.
Idaho Education News reported in August that costs associated with the King Road home were nearly $98,000.
Kuipers can be reached at [email protected].