Idaho murders update: Bryan Kohberger attorney’s ties to victim’s family raise conflict of interest concerns

Bryan Kohberger appears in court in Idaho for the first time

Concerns about a possible conflict of interest have arisen in the Idaho murders case after it emerged that Bryan Kohberger’s attorney previously represented a family member of slain student Xana Kernodle.

Court documents, filed on 5 January, show public defender Anne Taylor withdrawing from representing Kernodle’s mother. Ms Taylor is now representing Mr Kohberger as he faces the death penalty for the stabbing murders of Kernodle, her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, and two roommates Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen in Moscow, Idaho.

It has also emerged that Mr Kohberger sent a gushing email to a local police chief months before he allegedly murdered the four students.

The 28-year-old PhD student applied for a research assistant position in public safety with the Pullman Police Department in Washington in early 2022 and was interviewed by Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins for the position.

After the 12 April meeting, Mr Kohberger sent an email to the police chief saying it was “a great pleasure to meet with you”.

It is unclear if Mr. Kohberger was offered the position, which was due to start in August.

1674714600

Bryan Kohberger attorney previously represented victim’s parent

Concerns about a possible conflict of interest have been raised in the Idaho murders case as it has emerged that Bryan Kohberger’s attorney previously represented a family member of one of the victims.

Court documents, filed on 5 January, revealed that public defender Anne Taylor stood down as the attorney for Xana Kernodle’s mother.

Ms Taylor is now representing Mr Kohberger as he faces the death penalty for the murders of Kernodle, her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, and two roommates Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen.

Former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer tweeted that this marks a conflict of interest in the case.

“Can’t understand how a conflict of interest didn’t exist when AT took the case. IME w/ the Public Defenders Office, when their office represented a client associated with a case they could NOT except the client,” she said.

“Have never seen a conflict like this overlooked by a court.”

Bryan Kohberges is being represented by a legal team led by public defender Anne Taylor

(Getty Images)

Andrea BlancoJanuary 26, 2023 06:30

1674709200

Mad Creek, restaurant where Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen worked, denies Bryan Kohberger rumours

The owner of a restaurant where two of the four University of Idaho victims worked has denied a report that suspects Bryan Kohberger ate at the business.

Jackie Fischer, owner of the Mad Greek — where other students Madison Mogen and Xana Kernodle were servers — spoke out in a strongly-worded Facebook post on Friday after an anonymous former staff member claimed to People that Mr. Kohberger had visited the eatery in the weeks before the killings.

According to the People report, Mr. Kohberger visited the restaurant in Moscow twice in the week leading up to the murders and ordered vegan pizza. It is also alleged that an investigator with insight into the case reportedly told the magazine that authorities knew about the visits to the restaurant, had seized footage and that both staff and owners had been interviewed by law enforcement.

But within hours of the article being published, Ms Fischer slammed the claims and said they were unequivocally false.

The Independents has the story:

Andrea BlancoJanuary 26, 2023 05:00

1674703853

Investigators found possible animal hair at Bryan Kohberger’s Washington state home

A “possible animal hair” was among the evidence seized from the home of Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger – sparking speculation that it could belong to victim Kaylee Goncalves’ dog.

Records of evidence recovered from Mr Kohberger’s home were unsealed on Wednesday, nearly three weeks after his arrest for the November 13 stabbings of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

Included on the list of seizures was a “possible animal hair strand”. While Mr. Kohberger is not believed to have a pet, one of the victims he is accused of killing, Goncalves, had a dog who was at home at the time of the murders.

“If there’s a root in that, if there is any skin on that hair, they could do a DNA test with that dog. If it’s just a hair that’s been shed and there is no skin, they would still be able to do a microscopical comparison and exclude most dogs but they wouldn’t be able to connect it necessarily to that dog.”

Former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer also explained that the suspect would have left behind evidence at the scene but also taken evidence with him before leaving. She said she was surprised by how little hair was listed on the search warrant record.

“I would expect those items to have been transferred to [the killer] and when he took off his clothing, that to then transfer to other clothing and items. So I was surprised not to see more items and more hairs,” she said.

Andrea BlancoJanuary 26, 2023 03:30

1674698453

VOICES: The eerie online world of the Idaho murders case and the countless conspiracies that have emerged

“While America has long been fascinated with true crime, the shocking brutality and seeming randomness of the Moscow murders sent the internet community sleuth into overdrive.

“Conspiracy theories and rumors have dominated the investigation with thousands of people joining social media groups to discuss their take on what transpired and why.”

The Independents‘s Rachel Sharp writes:

Andrea BlancoJanuary 26, 2023 02:00

1674693053

ICYMI: Computer tower, hair, gloves and stained items seized from Idaho murder suspect’s home

Police investigating the murder of four Idaho students seized a string of items from suspect Bryan Kohberger’s apartment, including possible hair strands, a disposable glove, items with red and brown stains and a computer, according to a search warrant unsealed last week.

Investigators stated in the search warrant application that they hoped to find hair strands that could link the suspect to the horrific November crime scene in Moscow, Idaho.

They said in the application that this could be either through the four victims or through a dog that was at the rental house at the time of the slayings, reported The New York Times.

Police said that one of the items found at the suspect’s apartment at nearby Washington State University was a “possible animal hair strand.”

In the documents, investigators said one item had a “collection of dark red” spotting, and that a pillow had a “reddish/brown stain” on it.

Andrea BlancoJanuary 26, 2023 00:30

1674686929

Kaylee Goncalves was a ‘true crime fan,’ having reported sightings of missing woman a year before being killed

In a sit-down interview with the YouTube channel Chronicles of Olivia — filmed two days before Mr Kohberger’s arrest and aired earlier this month – the Goncalves remembered their daughter as a hardworking young woman who was not afraid to go after what she wanted.

According to the family, they reached out to the YouTube channel because Kaylee followed the content creator on TikTok and would often watch videos by the true crime account.

“I started looking at the case that [she] was following with you, and then I said, ‘I’m going to reach out because maybe she can help resolve Kaylee’s story,’” Steve Goncalves, Kaylee’s father, told Olivia Vitale in the interview.

“She wanted to help other families find this justice.”

According to a Fox News report, the other student had reported a sighting of a missing woman with the Moscow Police Department just a year before she was killed. The woman, Sharon Archer, was found dead inside her vehicle submerged in Fernan Lake.

Andrea BlancoJanuary 25, 2023 22:48

1674681432

What was found inside Bryan Kohberger’s home:

Last week, police in Washington unsealed search warrants for Bryan Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman and his office at Washington State University (WSU).

The unsealed documents reveal that investigators seized a string of items from his home.

– one nitrite type black glove

– one Walmart receipt with one Dickie’s tag

– dust container from a vacuum

– multiple possible hair and hair strands

– one possible animal hair strands

– two cuttings from uncased pillow of reddish/brown stain

– two top and bottom mattress covers with multiple stains

– items with a ‘dark red spot’

No items were seized from his office which he shared with other PhD students.

Andrea BlancoJanuary 25, 2023 21:17

1674676185

Bryan Kohberger was interviewed by Pullman PD for internship months before the Idaho murders

A criminology PhD student accused of murdering four University of Idaho students was interviewed by a local police department for an internship position months before the slayings.

New emails obtained by The New York Times show a brief exchange between Washington State University student Bryan Kohberger and the then-chief of Pullman Police Department Gary Jenkins regarding Mr Kohberger’s interview process for the research assistantship for public safety position in April 2022.

The Independents has the story:

Andrea BlancoJanuary 25, 2023 19:49

1674674003

Rumors about ‘co-defendant’ are debunked

Last week, Bryan Kohberger’s attorney Ann Taylor filed a discovery request in the case, asking the judge to order the prosecution to hand over all discovery in the case within 14 days.

Among the discovery requests were witness statements, digital media and police reports about the case.

It also includes a request for information about a “co-defendant” in the case.

“Statements of co-defendant. Any written or recorded statements by a codefendant, and the substance of any relevant oral statement made by a co-defendant whether before or after arrest in response to interrogation by any person known by the codefendant to be a peace officer or agent of the prosecuting attorney , or which are otherwise relevant to the offense charged,” the filing reads.

The request has stimulated speculation of evidence suggesting that Mr Kohberger may have had an accomplice – or that the defense could seek to argue that as part of their case.

However, Mr Levin explained that this is just part of the standard requests for discovery in a case.

“These are just very standard requests as part of the defense’s discovery request,” he said.

While the ruling out other individuals as possible suspects will likely form part of the state’s case against Mr Kohberger, he said that this does not indicate that there are other suspects.

The probable cause of the affidavit makes no mention of a co-defendant and law enforcement officials have previously insisted that they believe the suspect acted alone.

The request making mention of a co-defendant is also just one of 18 discovery requests made in the court filing.

“I don’t think I would make much hay from that,” Mr. Levin said of the discovery request.

Andrea BlancoJanuary 25, 2023 19:13

1674670517

Possible animal hair found at Bryan Kohberger’s home after Kaylee Goncalves’ dog spared in the Idaho murders

A “possible animal hair” was among the evidence seized from the home of Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger – sparking speculation that it could belong to victim Kaylee Goncalves’ dog.

Records of evidence recovered from Mr Kohberger’s home were unsealed on Wednesday, nearly three weeks after his arrest for the November 13 stabbings of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

Included on the list of seizures was a “possible animal hair strand”. While Mr. Kohberger is not believed to have a pet, one of the victims he is accused of killing, Goncalves, had a dog who was at home at the time of the murders.

Andrea BlancoJanuary 25, 2023 18:15