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Idaho Murders Suspect Bryan Kohberger Arrested for Allegedly Stealing Sister's iPhone Years Before Quadruple Slayings
Bryan Kohberger was first arrested in 2014 after he allegedly stole his sister's $400 iPhone and told his father "not to do anything stupid" when the alleged theft was discovered.
The suspect accused of brutally stabbing four college students to death in their University of Idaho off-campus home was arrested on separate charges eight years before the 2022 killings, records show.
Kohberger’s father, Michael Kohberger, who reported the incident, told law enforcement officials that his son told him “not to do anything stupid” when he discovered Kohberger had taken the phone. The then-19-year-old was struggling with addiction at the time, according to his father.
According to the records reviewed by ABC News, Kohberger had recently come home from rehab on February 8, 2014 when he took his sister Melissa’s iPhone, which was estimated to cost around $400, and then paid a friend $20 to drive him to the mall, where he sold the phone for $200.
Kohberger never served any jail time for the alleged 2014 theft, which has come to light as he prepares to defend himself against murder charges for allegedly killing four University of Idaho students last fall.
The Pennsylvania native was arrested on suspicion of murdering Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, at their off-campus home in Moscow, Idaho on November 13.
He was charged with burglary and four counts of first degree murder, and has been held in Latah County Jail without bail since December 30.
Kohberger declined to offer a plea at his May arraignment, so the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.
On Monday, prosecutors announced that they intend to pursue the death penalty against Kohberger. The trial for the quadruple slaying is scheduled to begin in October.
Kohberger’s earlier run-in with the law could be a point of inquiry for prosecution in his upcoming trial, retired senior FBI official and former prosecutor Richard Frankel told ABC News.
"You want to get all the puzzle pieces figured out, even as you keep finding new pieces," Frankel said about the investigative process to building a case. “You're working to figure out how they all fit together."
"One, that's a big jump to go from [an alleged] non-violent theft — and from a family member — to being charged with multiple homicides. And two, eight years is a long time for nothing to happen," he told ABC News. "So, I would want to know, both as a prosecutor and as the investigator, what he did in those years in between?"
Frankel added that, "It all goes to the assessment of his character — it may also help me when I interview other people about him, because I may know what the right questions are to ask going in."
Kohberger appeared in court Tuesday, where his lawyers requested key FBI and police files relating to the suspect's phone records and his Hyundai Elantra, and additional information on the use of genealogy that led investigators to Kohberger, Fox News reported.
The judge in the case said he will make a decision on that at a later time.