Jul. 26—The suspect in the Moscow quadruple murder case may provide an alibi defense as he awaits trial.
Bryan Kohberger faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary in the November stabbing deaths of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. He remains in Latah County Jail as he awaits a trial scheduled Oct. 2 to Nov. 12.
Kohberger has not yet provided an alibi. A court document filed by his attorney Anne Taylor on Monday says Kohberger is exercising his constitutional right to silence. When Kohberger chose to stand silent during his arraignment rather than state his plea, Latah County District Court Judge John Judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
According to Taylor, an alibi defense is still possible.
“A defendant’s denial of the charges against him does not constitute an alibi, but as soon as he offers evidence that he was at some place other than where the crime of which he is charged was committed, he is raising the alibi defense,” the court document says.
Kohberger’s team is continuing to investigate his case. Any evidence showing he was not at the King Road address where the murders took place will be disclosed “pursuant to discovery and evidentiary rules as well as statutory requirements,” Taylor wrote.
His attorneys anticipate this evidence may be offered by way of cross-examination of witnesses.
Kohberger is also preparing to potentially contest his grand jury indictment that led to his arraignment.
He was granted time to review the grand jury records and transcript to determine if there are grounds for challenging the grand jury selection process.
He must also decide whether to waive his right to a speedy trial. Earlier this month, District Judge John Judge ordered a 37-day pause of the speedy trial clock to allow Kohberger time to review all the grand jury materials without waiving his right to a speedy trial.
Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson in a recent court filing argued Idaho code does not allow defendants this kind of relief if their trials have been postponed upon their own application.
Thompson wrote that the Idaho Supreme Court rejected the notion that a defendant can partially, but not fully, waive his right to a speedy trial.
One of Kohberger’s attorneys, Jay Logsdon, responded to Thompson in a Monday court filing.
Logsdon argued the state has prosecuted Kohberger on its own timetable, but now that timetable must abide by Kohberger’s constitutional rights. Logsdon accused the government of having a “cavalier attitude” toward the suspect’s fundamental rights.
“The State cannot cry foul when its decisions post-arrest make an October trial date untenable,” Logsdon wrote. “Mr. Kohberger has a right to a fair trial, to a defense, and to due process.”
Logsdon added that Kohberger is not required to give up his right to a speedy trial because the state chose “the protracted litigation involved with a grand jury rather than a preliminary hearing.”
Kuipers can be reached at [email protected].