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Some Families Of Slain University Of Idaho Students Protest Planned Demolition Of House Where Killings Occurred
“The home itself has enormous evidentiary value as well as being the largest, and one of the most important, pieces of evidence in the case,” said Shannon Gray, a lawyer representing the family of Kaylee Goncalves.
Shannon Gray, a lawyer representing the family of Kaylee Goncalves, one of the four victims, has accused the university of ignoring a request to not demolish the home until after suspect Bryan Kohberger’s scheduled trial in October, according to The Idaho Statesman. The Goncalves family are arguing the home should be left standing until after the murder trial.
On Nov. 13, 2022, Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were found dead at the rental property, which lies footsteps from the University of Idaho campus. The four victims were stabbed to death in their beds while they slept, according to a Latah County coroner’s report. Kohberger, 28, was later arrested and charged with four counts of murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against the former Washington State University Ph.D. criminology student.
The home where the killings occurred was previously privately owned; however, following the gruesome murders, the owner gifted the property to the University of Idaho.
Gray told the Idaho Statesman in an email that the university had consulted the families prior to making the decision, however, school officials “proceeded to ignore those opinions and pursue their own self-interests,” according to the attorney.
The Mogen and Kernodle families have also voiced their support of delaying the demolition until after Kohberger’s trial has concluded, Gray said. The other families didn’t respond to interview requests from the Idaho Statesman.
An official date for the demolition hasn’t been set. A spokesperson for the University of Idaho indicated the school intended to demolish the home before the beginning of the fall semester.
“The home itself has enormous evidentiary value as well as being the largest, and one of the most important, pieces of evidence in the case,” Gray said.
However, an attorney representing the University of Idaho told Gray that neither Kohberger’s lawyers nor the prosecution had disputed the planned demolition. University of Idaho lawyer Kent Nelson stated that school officials required a “cogent argument,” based on case law, in order for it to halt the pending demolition. Gray claimed to have gotten the written notice from the university’s legal team on June 22. It’s unclear he met the deadline, per the Idaho Statesman.
Oxygen.com has reached out to the University of Idaho for further comment regarding the demolition.