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Judge Denies Motion From Bryan Kohberger's Defense to Toss Indictment Based on "Error in Grand Jury Instructions”
A Latah County judge called the defense's argument to dismiss the University of Idaho murder suspect's indictment based on error "creative," but said it's an issue to raise with the Idaho Supreme Court.
The 28-year-old’s defense team argued in court that his indictment be tossed for reason of “error in grand jury instructions,” Washington station KREM-TV reported.
Why did Bryan Kohberger's lawyers seek to dismiss his murder indictment?
Defense attorney Jay Logsdon contended that the burden of proof was improperly relayed to the grand jury, stating that the Idaho State Constitution sets the standard of proof for the grand jury as “beyond reasonable doubt” and not probable cause. The defense argued that failing to give the grand jury the correct instructions was grounds for the indictment's dismissal.
Latah County District Judge John Judge denied the motion, telling the defense, “I appreciate the argument. I think it’s really creative and I appreciate the journey back through history,” according to the Idaho Statesman.
He continued: “I mean, what it comes down to for me is that I am constrained by what I believe is settled law in Idaho. I may be wrong, but this is certainly an issue that you would have to bring up with a higher court, like the Idaho Supreme Court, and I look forward to getting that.”
CNN reported that prior to this open hearing, an earlier, closed, hearing on Thursday dealt with a different dismissal request, in which the defense claimed a biased jury. A decision on that has not yet been made public.
During Thursday’s court proceedings, Judge also announced that he will continued to allow cameras in the courtroom, but with more control over them, KMTV-11 reported.
According to the outlet, Judge said he has been disappointed by how video footage has been used by people on the internet, but he didn't specify how he would go about controlling the footage. While he has yet to issue a final decision on the matter, he said cameras will be permitted in the courtroom for now.
Kohberger’s attorneys argued last month that the presence of cameras in the courtroom has obstructed their client of his constitutional right to due process.
Logsdon wrote in a legal filing — which sought to eliminate cameras in the courtroom — that photos solely of Kohberger “are also later appended to articles with blatantly sensationalistic and prejudicial headlines and content."
Thursday’s hearings came less than three weeks before the one-year anniversary of the brutal killings of four University of Idaho students, Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, who were stabbed to death in their beds on November 13, 2022. Kohberger was arrested last December and formally charged in January with four counts of murder.
At the time of the murders, Kohberger was a graduate student studying criminology at the University of Washington’s campus in Pullman, Washington, roughly 10 miles from Moscow, Idaho, where the killings took place.
In June, prosecutors announced that they will be pursuing the death penalty.