Brian Kochberger was back in a courtroom for a pretrial hearing Tuesday — just a day after prosecutors said they would seek the death penalty against the Idaho homicide suspect.
The 28-year-old man is accused of the November 2022 murders of roommates Kayleigh Goncalves, 21; Madison, May 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20.
Judge John Judge in Latah District Court heard arguments from both sides on several motions, as well as one filed by Kochberger’s group asking the prosecution to present additional evidence of the DNA findings.
Kochberger wore a swimsuit and tie when he entered the courtroom Tuesday, according to New Nation reporter Alex Capriiello, who was present.
The judge ruled to challenge the gag order for law enforcement and detectives at the start of the hearing. He also explained that under a strict camera order, the current cameras will not be allowed to focus only on Kochberger and show the entire hearing.
Brian Kochberger appeared for a pretrial hearing Tuesday
Kochberger pleaded not responsible for the slaying of roommate Maddie Mogen, 21, last month. Kaylee Goncalves (21), Xana Kernodle (20) and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin (20)
Last week, Kochberger’s attorneys had asked for a stay of proceedings until they had access to the fabric reviewed by the grand jury that indicted him. That data is usually personal, but lawyers have argued that they want it to create strong protections.
During the last courtroom hearing, the defense said they were not on a “fishing expedition” but were looking for specific materials necessary for an adequate defense.
“Now that the state has announced its intent to seek the death penalty, the standard has been raised … and that’s very important information,” Kochberger’s defense said.
Specifically, the defense team is asking for training information on three police officers who conducted “critical” witness interviews and conducted screening in connection with the investigation.
They additionally requested additional data on the FBI group that offered cell phone information that was used to claim it was possible. Prosecutors said they are preparing to hand over the cases, but the defense needs to know the date chosen.
Finally, Kochberger’s attorneys said they wanted more information about the FBI forensics investigator’s report that directed police to search the white Hyundai Elantra.
However, prosecutors argued that the defense has everything the state has, including 10,000 ideas and 51 terabytes of audio/video data. They added that information about the three officers’ training is not relevant to the case because they likely will not even testify at trial.
Prosecutors said they plan to turn the FBI’s forensic expertise over to the defense once the review course is complete “within weeks.”
The judge ordered that the supplies be handed over to the defense team no later than July 14.
He said that he will take into account the arguments of each side and may come up with a written resolution soon.
In a final week of filings, the defense needed to drill down on the costs, accusing prosecutors of “hiding their case” and never being clear about the strategies used to obtain DNA evidence and hyperlink the suspect.
Prosecutors have previously argued that DNA found on a knife left at the scene of the murders was a “statistical match” with a cheek swab taken from the suspect.
The FBI said they use databases on public DNS sites, just like 23andMe.
But in documents filed Thursday, Kochberger’s lawyers argued that there was no connection between Kochberger and the scientists who fatally stabbed him outside the university’s Moscow campus.
The advocacy group said there was a “complete lack” of DNA from the victims at Kochberger’s residence, workplace or car.
Kochberger’s lawyers also said DNA from a second man was found in the Moscow home and that police reportedly found DNA from a third man on a glove found outside the home.
“At this time, the defense does not know what testing was done on these samples other than STR DNA profiles.”
The filing, which opposes the state’s motion for a protective order, argues that the defense team should have access to all the information and the genetic family tree that led prosecutors to argue that Kochberger’s DNA from an oral swab was a “statistical match.” “. was with the revealed DNA. on the butt of a knife found at the scene.
Ka-Bar knife, like the one believed to have been used in the murders
The former criminology student chose to “remain silent” in the final month of his arraignment, and no pleas have ever been entered on his behalf.
Prosecutors have previously argued that Kochberger was not entitled to FBI information disclosed as a result of the tactic.
In a filing, the defense team said: “Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr. Kochberger disagrees that his defense does not need this information.
“The State apparently just wants to prevent Mr. Kochberger from seeing how the genetic genealogy profile came about for research and how many other people the FBI ignored during the investigation.”
Detectives discovered a Ka-Bar knife sheath on the mattress that contained the bodies of our Mogen and Goncalves. According to courtroom documents filed June 16, the mattress was partially under Mogen’s body and the blanket was on top of the mattress.
The DNA pattern left on the shroud is “at least 5.37 octillion times more likely to be detected if (the defendant) is the source than if the source is an unrelated person randomly selected from the general population,” prosecutors said.
The former criminology student chose the last month to “keep silent” on his accusation and pleaded for acquittal on his behalf. He faces 4 counts of first degree murder and burglary.
On Monday, the Latah County Prosecutor’s Office, which told the courtroom they would seek the death penalty as a result of the murders, had been “particularly heinous, heinous or brutal and exhibited extreme depravity.”
If convicted, Kochberger could be executed by firing squad if the state is unable to obtain the lethal drugs.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, a cleaning company stood at the entrance of the Moscow house where the murders took place.
The University of Idaho told Court TV that they are beginning a method for households to eliminate all private objects from the home, which could take several weeks.
The house is set to be demolished, but no date has been set other than for its demolition, the college added.