The man accused in the brutal stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students last fall said he has an alibi for the time they were killed.
Bryan Kohberger has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the killings of Ethan Chapin, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen in their off-campus rental home on King Road in Moscow in the early hours of Nov. 13, 2022.
“Evidence corroborating Mr. Kohberger being at a location other than the King Road address [where the students were killed] will be disclosed” at a later time, his defense attorney, Anne Taylor, said in a court filing Monday.
The filing provided one of the first hints of arguments in defense of Kohberger, whose connection to the students — if any exists — has not been publicly disclosed. Attorneys and investigators in the case are bound by a gag order that has meant a vacuum of information ahead of the trial scheduled for this fall, but Idaho state law requires that defendants provide a written notice if they intend to present an alibi defense in a criminal case. Monday was Kohberger’s deadline to file the response.
The alibi notice should “state the specific place or places at which the defendant claims to have been at the time of the alleged offense and the names and addresses of the witnesses upon whom he intends to rely to establish such alibi,” according to state law.
However, the filing also said Kohberger’s defense team is still investigating his case and may present more specific evidence about where he was at the time of the killings during cross-examination of the state’s witnesses or through their own expert witnesses.
Taylor added that the law preserves Kohberger’s “Constitutional right to silence as well as to testify on his own behalf.”
Kohberger chose to “stand silent” in his arraignment in May, prompting the judge to enter not guilty pleas on his behalf.
“Mr. Kohberger stands firm on his Constitutional right as well as the statutory recognition of that right. Noteworthy is that an alibi ‘indicates a line of proof by which the defendant attempts to show that he could not have committed the crime of which he is accused because he was elsewhere at the time,’” Taylor says in the filing.
Kohberger was a Ph.D. student in criminology at Washington State University’s Pullman campus and lived just 10 miles from the victims’ house. He was linked to the crime scene through DNA found on a knife sheath discovered on the bed next to one of the victims, police said in a probable cause affidavit for his arrest. Authorities said they identified him as the driver of a white Hyundai seen speeding near the house minutes after the killings and pinpointed the alleged route he took the night of the killings using surveillance footage and his cellphone records. He was arrested at his family’s Pennsylvania home on Dec. 30.
Kohberger’s trial is set to begin in October. Prosecutors announced last month that they intend to seek the death penalty.