Update on Idaho murders: Bryan Kohberger followed 3 female victims on Instagram before stabbings, says source

Bryan Kohberger appears in court in Idaho for the first time

Bryan Kohberger is believed to have followed the three female slain University of Idaho victims on Instagram prior to the stabbings, according to a report.

An investigator familiar with the case told People that the 28-year-old criminology PhD student followed the accounts of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves and Xana Kernodle but they did not follow him back.

Then, in late-October – just weeks before the 13 November slayings – Mr Kohberger allegedly messaged one of the victims “repeatedly” on the social media platform, the source said.

Officials have not confirmed the account and a gag order is currently in place around the high-profile case.

Mr Kohberger is facing the death penalty on charges of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary over the quadruple homicide of Mogen, Goncalves, Kernodle and Ethan Chapin in the college town of Moscow, Idaho.

Court documents unsealed last week showed that 15 items – including hairs, receipts, a computer tower, a disposable glove and items with red stains – were recovered from Mr Kohberger’s home in Pullman, Washington, during a search in late December.


What could investigators find from Kohberger’s computer tower and Fire TV stick?

Last week, police in Washington unsealed search warrants for Bryan Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman and his office at Washington State University (WSU).

The unsealed documents reveal that investigators seized a string of items from his home including possible human and animal hair strands, a disposable glove, items with red and brown stains and a computer tower and Fire TV stick.

No items were seized from his office which he shared with other PhD students.

Experts Dr Monte Miller, a former crime scene investigator and forensic expert for the Texas Department of Public Safety and former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer spoke to The Independent about the items seized.

They said that, in addition to physical evidence, investigators could be looking into Mr Kohberger’s behaviour, including computer searches, articles he read and television he watched in the weeks leading up to and in the aftermath of the murders.

“They may be looking at what he watched. Did he watch the news? Did he watch anything connected to the murders? Did he watch shows about [crime]?” Dr Miller told The Independent. “Some of that might go with his PhD, or could be explainable to him. [Investigators] are just trying to put the whole picture together.”

Ms Coffindaffer echoed that assessment, adding that Mr Kohberger’s Fire TV stick could have been paired with other apps and even social media platforms.

“There could be some very important information there related particularly to his searches and social media,” she added.

Rachel Sharp24 January 2023 07:00


Bryan Kohberger’s neighbour reveals ‘normal conversation’ about murders

Bryan Kohberger’s neighbour has revealed how he had a “normal conversation” about the college murders with the man now accused of carrying them out.

The neighbour, who did not wish to be named, told Fox News that the 28-year-old criminology PhD student raised the topic just days on from the 13 November slayings.

“He actually says, ‘Have you heard about the murders?’” FOX Nation host Nancy Grace asked.

The neighbour responded: “Yeah, he’s like, ‘Yeah, it seems like they don’t have any leads.’”

Mr Kohberger chillingly went on to suggest that the murders were a “crime of passion”.

In the early days of the investigation, a Moscow official described the killings in that way.

Rachel Sharp24 January 2023 06:15


VOICES: I lived through an attack similar to the Idaho murders. We must defend the survivors

“It was an amazing, fun, vibrant summer of 1992. I was living in a three-level house off campus from the University at Buffalo with five of my Chi Omega sorority sisters.

“Mine was the front room, a converted patio. The original entrance door was sealed shut and drywalled over, so you wouldn’t know that from the inside.”

Alanna Zabel writes for The Independent:

Rachel Sharp24 January 2023 05:15


‘Possible animal hair’ found at Bryan Kohberger’s home

A “possible animal hair” was among the evidence seized from the home of Bryan Kohberger – sparking speculation that it could belong to victim Kaylee Goncalves’ dog.

Search warrants for Mr Kohberger’s home and WSU office were unsealed last week, revealing what investigators found during searches executed on 30 December.

Among the items seized was a “possible animal hair strand”. While Mr Kohberger is not believed to have a pet, Goncalves had a pet dog named Murphy who she shared with her ex-boyfriend.

Murphy was at home at the time of the murders and was found unscathed in Goncalves’ bedroom. Goncalves and Madison Mogen were found dead in Mogen’s room.

An affidavit in support of Mr Kohberger’s arrest revealed that one of the victims’ two surviving roommates Dylan Mortensen, had heard the dog making noise in Goncalves’ room around the time of the killings.

The affidavit also stated that a security camera near the home heard the dog barking at 4.17am.

Rachel Sharp24 January 2023 04:15


What the newly-expanded gag order means

A gag order was first issued earlier this month preventing law enforcement officials, attorneys for both the defence and the prosecution, as well as others involved in the high-profile case from speaking out about it.

Last week, the gag order was broadly expanded to also ban any attorneys representing survivors, witnesses or the victims’ family members from talking or writing about the case.

In the court order, Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall said that “there is a balance between protecting the right to a fair trial for all parties involved and the right to free expression as afforded under both the United States and Idaho Constitution.

“To preserve the right to a fair trial some curtailment of the dissemination of information in this case is necessary and authorized under the law,” she wrote.

Now a coalition of news organisations is asking a judge to pull back the scope of the gag order, saying that media access to officials can provide the public with important context in such high-profile criminal cases.

“This order is unnecessarily sweeping and broad and severely impedes the public’s understanding of a significant criminal investigation that profoundly impacted the community,” said Josh Hoffner, national news director for The Associated Press.

Rachel Sharp24 January 2023 03:30


Bryan Kohberger’s trial for the Idaho murders is months away. How strong is the case against him?

It will be another six months before Bryan Kohberger and the families of his alleged victims come face to face in court again, after his preliminary hearing was postponed until the summer.

The 28-year-old criminology PhD student could face the death penalty if convicted when he eventually goes on trial for the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin – the four students who were found violently stabbed to death in an off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho, on 13 November.

Details about the murders and his alleged role in them were laid out in the damning probable cause affidavit released earlier this month.

But just how strong is the case against him? What can we expect next from the defence and the prosecution? And why has Mr Kohberger’s attorney requested evidence about a co-defendant?

Duncan Levin, a former assistant district attorney in the Manhattan DA’s office who has no official connection to the Idaho murders case, spoke to The Independent’s Rachel Sharp about the strength of the criminal case and what to expect next as it makes it way through the courts.

Rachel Sharp24 January 2023 02:45


Neighbour says Bryan Kohberger described murders as ‘crime of passion’ prior to arrest

Bryan Kohberger’s neighbour has claimed that the murder suspect brought up the student killings in conversation one time.

The neighbour, who wishes to remain anonymous, told CBS News that Mr Kohberger spoke to him about the quadruple homicide just days on from the 13 November attack.

“He brought it up in conversation,” they said.

“[He] asked if I had heard about the murders, which I did. And then he said, ‘Yeah, seems like they have no leads. Seems like it was a crime of passion.’”

“At the time of our conversation, it was only a few days after it happened so there wasn’t much details out.”

Rachel Sharp24 January 2023 02:00


What forensic experts say about evidence seized from Bryan Kohberger’s home in the Idaho murders case

Authorities have lifted the lid on alleged evidence found in the home of Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger, marking the latest development in a horror case that has gripped the nation for two months.

A search warrant was executed at Mr Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman, Washington, on 30 December, the same day he was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania on charges for the 13 November stabbings of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin in Moscow, Idaho.

A record of evidence recovered during the apartment search was unsealed on Wednesday, revealing the seizure of 15 items including hairs, receipts, a computer tower, a disposable glove and items with peculiar stains.

The record reignited a frenzy of speculation online – despite its simplicity and lack of conjecture.

But what significance, if any, can actually be gleaned from the list? The Independent‘s Andrea Blanco spoke to two experts – Dr Monte Miller, a former crime scene investigator and forensic expert for the Texas Department of Public Safety; and former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer – for their takes on each item.

Read what they said here:

Rachel Sharp24 January 2023 00:30


Mad Greek owner denies suspect dined there

A former employee at the Mad Greek restaurant, where Madison Mogen and Xana Kernodle worked, told People last week that Bryan Kohberger had visited the eatery in the weeks before the murders.

The suspect, who is vegan, popped in at least twice for some vegan pizza, the employee said.

An investigator with knowledge of the case told People that investigators knew about the visits to the restaurant, and had seized footage from it and interviewed both the staff and owners.

However, this was almost instantly refuted by the owner of the Mad Greek, who denied Mr Kohberger had ever been there.

Jackie Fischer slammed the article as “completely fabricated information” in a Facebook post on Friday and urged the public and the media to “please allow us to grieve the loss of our friends and co-worker”.

Officials have not addressed the speculation about the restaurant visit or the Instagram account and are unlikely to do so, due to a gag order preventing law enforcement officials and the defence and prosecution teams from speaking out about the high-profile case.

“The news/media should really do their due diligence before running a story with completely fabricated information. This will be my only response to this story from People… It is not true. This person who wants their 5 minutes of fame has now caused a whole bunch of extra work for myself and the investigators,” the owner wrote.

“To all media/reporters/internet sleuths, etc.. please allow us to grieve the loss of our friends and co workers. This has been incredibly hard on us. With our phones ringing off the hook, reporters banging on my door at my private residence and “hunting” down employees as well as showing up constantly at the restaurant, we have not been afforded the time to grieve. Please stop calling, messaging, knocking and showing up. I personally will not be doing any interviews or entertaining wild accusations at this time. My employees also feel the same!”

Rachel Sharp23 January 2023 23:45


‘Stained’ items found at suspect’s home likely covered in blood, say experts

Last week, police in Washington unsealed search warrants for Mr Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman and his office at Washington State University (WSU).

In the documents, investigators listed several items with stains, including cuttings of a mattress cover, a “reddish/brown” stain on an uncovered pillow and a “collection of dark red spot”.

Experts Dr Monte Miller, a former crime scene investigator and forensic expert for the Texas Department of Public Safety and former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer both told The Independent that police likely believe those stains could be blood.

“A reddish or brown stain is a euphemism for, ‘We found something that looks like blood,’” Dr Miller said. “It might be blood from the victims, might be his blood. They don’t know until they test it, but they’ll be able to get DNA if it is blood. We don’t know what the stains in the cover sheets look like, but again they’re looking for any kind of DNA, evidence that might have come from the crime scene.”

Ms Coffindaffer added: “They don’t call it blood, but it’s definitely inferred that it was blood.”

Dr Miller noted that while stains on clothing and bedding are not necessarily unusual, investigators will try to link the evidence found at the Pullman apartment to the crime scene in Moscow.

“The likelihood that any of those stains came from the crime scene, is going to be dependent on how well he cleaned up,” he said.

Rachel Sharp23 January 2023 23:00

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