Prosecutors to pursue death penalty for murder of 4 University of Idaho students

Prosecutors will pursue the death penalty against the man accused of the quadruple murder of four Idaho college students, according to court documents filed Monday.

In the filing, the Latah County prosecutor pointed to the “aggravating circumstances” of the November 13 murders, describing them as “particularly heinous” and saying suspect Bryan Kohberger, 28, allegedly showed “complete contempt for human life”.

“Therefore, based on all of the evidence currently known to the State, the State is obligated to file this Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty,” the filing reads.

Kohberger was arrested Dec. 30 in the fatal stabbing of Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Wash.; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Arizona; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho.

After a grand jury indicted him in May, he was indicted on four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary.

Kohberger, who was pursuing a doctorate in criminal justice at a nearby university at the time of his arrest, pleaded not guilty.

The four students were found dead in their off-campus home in Moscow, nearly 300 miles north of Boise.

Authorities linked Kohberger to the crime scene through cellphone signals, security camera video, a witness and a tan leather knife scabbard, according to a filed probable cause affidavit. in January.

In a June 16 filing, prosecutors said investigators also used genetic genealogy — a technique that combines genealogical research on shoe leather with DNA analysis — after biological material found on a knife sheath at the scene did not find a match in an FBI database.

The tool was used to develop a family tree of hundreds of relatives to ultimately identify Kohberger as a suspect, according to the filing.

In a filing last week, Kohberger’s attorney described the technique as a “bizarrely complex DNA tree experiment” and said there was “no connection” between his client and the four students.

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