Suspect in Idaho student killings wants more time to respond to prosecutor’s request for alibi
(CNN) — Bryan Kohberger – charged with stabbing four University of Idaho students to death last year – is asking a judge for more time to decide whether to offer a formal alibi in the case.
Kohberger’s public defender, Anne Taylor, said in a motion filed Friday in Latah County District Court his defense had not had sufficient time to fully review evidence provided by the prosecution. The evidence “includes thousands of pages of discovery, thousands of photographs, (and) hundreds of hours of recordings,” Taylor wrote.
Under Idaho law, a criminal defendant normally has 10 days to offer information on whether they plan to provide an alibi showing they were not at the scene when the alleged offense took place – but a judge can extend that deadline.
“The defense needs time to make this determination and consider evidentiary rules,” said Taylor.
Kohberger, 28, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary in the November 13 killings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, at a home just outside the university’s main campus in Moscow. A not guilty plea has been entered on his behalf.
The killings and lengthy investigation rattled Moscow, a city of 25,000 people that hadn’t recorded a murder since 2015. After weeks of little information and heightened anxieties in the community, Kohberger was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania in late December and identified as the alleged killer. He has been in police custody since and is being held without bail.
Latah County District Court Judge John Judge is also expected to issue a decision on arguments from a media coalition and an attorney for the Goncalves family asking him to amend a gag order implemented in the case.
The order prohibits all attorneys in the case – prosecutors, defense lawyers, and those representing victims and witnesses – from saying anything publicly beyond what is already in the public record.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors claim without the gag order jurors may come to the trial with an opinion already formed.
But Shannon Gray, an attorney representing the Goncalves family, urged the court Friday to amend the gag order to allow him to speak publicly on behalf of his clients.
Gray argued that he and his clients are not parties or witnesses in the case and should not be subject to the gag order.
A media coalition has argued the gag order should be removed. The order is “vague, overbroad, unduly restrictive, and not narrowly drawn,” the coalition said in a previous filing. “Publicity in and of itself is not prejudicial,” said Wendy Olson, an attorney representing the media coalition. “What they (media coalition clients) want is for their reporters to be able to obtain accurate information, of the kind that might help the public better understand all of this.”
Olson also suggested other alternatives to guarantee an impartial jury, including holding the trial in a different area or sequestering the jurors.