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University of Idaho Murder Suspect Bryan Kohberger Waives Rights to Speedy Trial, Delaying Case
"We want to get this trial over," loved ones of murder victim Kaylee Goncalves stated before alleged killer Bryan Kohberger's trial was officially delayed.
Bryan Kohberger, who's charged with the murders of four University of Idaho students, waived his right to a speedy trial in Latah County Court on Wednesday, postponing the case indefinitely.
Kohberger’s trial was scheduled to begin on October 2 in Moscow, Idaho, the site of the off-campus home where Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were stabbed to death in their beds as they slept on November 13, 2022.
Kohberger’s lead defense attorney, Anne Taylor, cited inadequate time for proper legal counsel in court Wednesday, according to the Idaho Statesman, and Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson reportedly called postponing the start date a “smart move.” Before delaying the trial, the judge confirmed with Kohberger that he understood he was giving up the right to a speedy trial, and the defendant responded, "Absolutely."
In July, a judge granted a 37-day stay of Kohberger’s trial to allow the defense to review new materials. Kohberger previously waived his extradition hearing.
Before the hearing, loved ones of Goncalves shared their fears that Kohberger would drag out the trial and asked for prayers on a Facebook page managed by the family, adding in the comments, “We are afraid he is going to waive his rights to a speedy trial. If he does… it is very likely that it won’t take place for years. We want to get this trial over. Just thinking it could be years absolutely kills me.”
The right to a speedy trial is protected under the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution, and Idaho law dictates that a trial must occur within six months of arraignment. But often, in complicated cases, defendants waive their right to allow more time for research and strategizing. Kohberger was indicted in May by a jury on four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary. Because he didn’t enter a plea at his arraignment, the judge pleaded not guilty on his behalf. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
In June, Kohberger was directly linked to the crime scene at the off-campus house through DNA from a knife sheath found at the time of the murders, prosecutors said in a court filing. The sheath was discovered on the bed next to the bodies of Mogen and Goncalves. The knife used in the quadruple murders was never recovered.
Earlier this month, Kohberger's attorneys filed a motion suggesting that their client was out on a drive by himself at the time of the murders.
Kohberger's defense team has also questioned the alleged DNA match between the knife sheath and the suspect.
“What the State’s argument asks this Court and Mr. Kohberger to assume is that the DNA on the sheath was placed there by Mr. Kohberger, and not someone else during an investigation that spans hundreds of members of law enforcement and apparently at least one lab the State refuses to name,” Kohberger’s legal team stated in court filings.
Taylor said at the hearing on Wednesday that she intends to file motions striking the death penalty and banning cameras in the courtroom.
Kohberger was arrested in Pennslyvania at his family’s home on December 30, 2022. At the time of the massacre, he was a 28-year-old criminal justice graduate student at Washington State University.