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Idaho murder suspect Brian Kochberger waives extradition from Pennsylvania




CNN

The suspect in november murder of four University of Idaho students waived extradition from his home state of Pennsylvania to face murder charges in Idaho.

Brian Koberger arrived at the Monroe County Courthouse in Pennsylvania on Tuesday in a prison transport van, handcuffed and wearing a prison jumpsuit, and was escorted to the back of the courthouse by armed law enforcement officers.

Kohberger said no when the judge asked him if he had any mental health issues that would interfere with his ability to waive extradition, and Kohberger’s father, also in the courtroom, shook his head no. Defendant signed the waiver at the defense table with handcuffs around his wrist.

Judge Worthington ordered that Kochberger be turned over to the Latta County District Attorney’s Office within 10 days.

Kochberger has invoked his right to remain silent going forward, said his state extradition attorney, Jason LaBarre.

Tuesday’s move was expected after the lawyer earlier indicated his client planned to waive extradition from his home state and called the hearing a “formal proceeding.”

All that needs to be proven is that his client resembles or is the person in the arrest warrant and that he was in the area at the time of the crimes, LaBarre, Monroe County’s chief public defender, told CNN’s Jean Casarez.

Kohberger did not answer reporters’ questions while being escorted away. He made eye contact and nodded to his family, seated in the front row of the courtroom behind the defense table, as officers ushered him in.

Kochberger’s mother and father sat on either side of his sisters, accompanied by a representative from the public defender’s office, and when the judge told Kochberger he faced murder charges when he returned to Idaho, his mother collapsed into the arms of his sister, both openly sobbing.

Arrangements are being made to transfer Kohberger to Idaho, according to state police, but no timetable has been announced.

“My heart goes out to the families of the victims, their friends, the Moscow community and the University of Idaho,” Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Robert Evanchik said at a news conference. “No words can heal the pain of losing a child. Their young lives ended too soon.

Idaho murder suspect Brian Kochberger waives extradition from Pennsylvania

The warden of the Monroe County Correctional Facility informed officials that Koberger had been a “model inmate” who had not caused any problems during his time in custody, according to a source familiar with Koberger’s status at the facility.

Kohberger, considered a maximum-status inmate, is held in a cell monitored by an officer at all times.

He has been “silent” and “following directions,” according to the source.

Koberger was arrested on Friday in Pennsylvania, nearly seven weeks after Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found dead Nov. 13 at a home off campus in Moscow, Idaho.

Koberger was “a little shocked,” Labar told CNN the day after his client was arrested. Kohberger is presumed innocent until proven guilty, LaBar added in a statement. He “believes he will be exonerated.” LaBar said in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show on Tuesday.

Kochberger was “very easy to talk to,” has a “calm demeanor” and understands the procedure, including what to expect about transporting him to Idaho and what to expect when he gets there, LaBarre said.

Vehicles belonging to University of Idaho victims were towed Nov. 29, 2022, in Moscow, Idaho.

The 28-year-old suspect last month completed his first semester as a doctoral student in the criminal justice program at Washington State University’s Pullman campus, about a 15-minute drive west of Moscow.

He went home to Pennsylvania for the holidays, accompanied by his father, LaBarre told CNN on Saturday. The two arrived in the municipality around December 17.

White Hyundai Elantra authorities have been looking for in connection with the murders was found at Kohberger’s parents’ house, LaBar confirmed.

Driving through Indiana, Kohberger was pulled over twice by law enforcement on Dec. 15 for following another vehicle in an Elantra too closely, authorities said Tuesday. The second stop was by a state trooper who let Kochberger off with a warning.

“At the time of this stop, there was no suspect information available in the Idaho crime, including identifying information or any specific information related to the license plate status or license plate number of the white Hyundai Elantra that was reported in the media to have been spotted in or around the place where the crime was committed,” Indiana State Police said. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, which pulled him over the first time, also said as much in its release.

Brian Koberger was stopped twice by law enforcement while driving a white Hyundai Elantra on Dec. 15, authorities said.

Investigators zeroed in on Koberger as a suspect after tracing ownership of an Elantra that was seen in the area of ​​the killings to him, according to two law enforcement sources briefed on the investigation. His DNA also matched genetic material found in the home where the students were killed, two sources said.

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

Other than the DNA and the car, details such as whether Koberger knew the victims — or a possible motive for the killings — are not publicly known. The probable cause affidavit, which will contain information that would warrant the suspect’s arrest, remains sealed until he appears in court in Idaho.

Michael Mancuso, Monroe County’s first assistant district attorney, said Tuesday that Koberger waived extradition because he wanted to see what was in the affidavit.

“I definitely believe that one of the main reasons that the defendant chose to waive extradition and expedite his return to Idaho was the need to know what was in these documents,” Mancuso said at a news conference.

Because these details are still unknown, much public interest has focused on Kochberger’s criminal justice studies.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and this year completed a master’s degree in criminal justice at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, according to a university spokesman.

In a post removed from Reddit after his arrest was announced, a student researcher associated with a DeSales University study named Bryan Kohberger was seeking participants for a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when making crime’.

“Specifically, this survey seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience,” the post reads.

Moscow Police Chief James Fry said after the arrest that the investigation into the complex, extensive case was not over.

Investigators are still looking for pieces of evidence, Fry said, including the weapon used, which is believed to be a fixed-blade knife.

“We’ve developed a clear picture over time,” he said, “(but) rest assured the work is not done. This has just begun.”

Kohberger is being held without bond in Pennsylvania, Latah County District Attorney Bill Thompson said Friday. Once Kohberger is in Idaho, he is expected to make an initial appearance before a magistrate and further hearings will be scheduled.


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