A judge entered pleas of not guilty to all charges for Bryan Kohberger at his arraignment Monday – more than seven months after detectives allege he fatally stabbed four University of Idaho undergrads in their off-campus home.
Deputies escorted Kohberger into the courtroom around 9 a.m., where he stood before Judge John Judge.
The defendant, wearing an orange jumpsuit and no handcuffs, smiled at his defense attorney, Kootenai County Public Defender Anne Taylor, and sat quietly. He nodded as Judge read his rights aloud.
Taylor said they would “be standing silent,” so Judge entered the not guilty pleas for the charges against Kohberger. “Standing silent” means the defendant does not take a guilty or not-guilty stance but has the same outcome as pleading not guilty.
Idaho lawyer Edwina Elcox, who previously represented alleged “Cult Mom” Lori Vallow, noted that because Kohberger did not enter a guilty plea himself, his decision to stand silent “can be a tactic to continue negotiations with the prosecution.”
After the hearing, victim Kaylee Goncalves’ father shook hands with Ben Mogen, Madison Mogen’s father.
Kaylee’s sister, Alivea Goncalves, said it was “important” for her family to be present at Monday’s hearing.
Kohberger faces four charges of first-degree murder and another count of felony burglary in connection with the Nov. 13, 2022, stabbings of Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, also 20.
The prosecutor’s office has 60 days to notify the defense if they are seeking the death penalty.
Taylor asked the judge for a six-week trial beginning in October, which Judge approved. He set an Oct. 2 start date — less than a year after the slayings — for a six-week trial.
The three young women lived together in a six-bedroom home just steps off campus with two other housemates who were not targeted. Chapin was dating Kernodle and visiting for the night – just days before the students would have left for Thanksgiving break.
Kohberger, 28, was studying for a Ph.D. at the neighboring Washington State University.
In previously unsealed court documents, police alleged that they traced his vehicle, a white Hyundai Elantra, to the victims’ home at least a dozen times prior to the murders and once more hours later but before police had arrived. They also allegedly found DNA evidence on a Ka-Bar knife sheath found next to Mogen’s body.
All four students had been stabbed to death, according to Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt – and at least some of them were likely sleeping at the start of the 4 a.m. ambush.
Kohberger is being held without bail at the Latah County Jail in Moscow, Idaho.
He could face the death penalty if convicted. The suspect could face 10 years in prison and up to four consecutive life sentences if he is found guilty.
Please do not rob the families of justice. Please do not impose a hefty financial penalty on the citizens of Idaho. Please do not rob society of a much needed deterrent. Please give this man, if found guilty, the only correct penalty. We all know what that is.
@Robert Stemmons – Well stated. And pray the court is not so corrupt that the guilty walks.
Shades of Ted Bundy.
An eye for an eye…do the same to him what he did to those precious souls.
No matter Judge’ He is already set up for quartering, in jail or out Judge. Then were coming after you Judge. And your closest family Judge. Just remember that Judge. Security can’t stop a runaway Train Judge. From another JUDGE judge!