Affidavit spells out timeline of U of I student slayings, evidence against Kohberger

Moscow police have cited several pieces of evidence — including a DNA match and cell phone records — that they say connect Bryan Kohberger to the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students.

The Idaho judicial branch Thursday released an affidavit of probable cause against Kohberger. In new and often shocking detail, the 19-page document presents the timeline of the Nov. 13 slayings, and outlines the evidence against Kohberger.

Kohberger, a Washington State University graduate student, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, in the deaths of Ethan Chapin, 20, a freshman from Mount Vernon, Wash.; Kaylee Goncalves, 21, a senior from Rathdrum; Xana Kernodle, 20, a junior from Post Falls; and Madison Mogen, 21, a senior from Coeur d’Alene.

A few details from Moscow police Cpl. Brett Payne’s affidavit:

  • Police recovered a leather knife sheath at the murder scene, a house near the U of I campus. A DNA sample on the button snap of the sheath matched a sample recovered at the Kohberger family home in Albrightsville, Pa., on Dec. 27.
  • Police reported several sightings of a white Hyundai Elantra near the murder scene on the morning of the slayings. A 2015 Elantra is registered to Kohberger. On Nov. 18, five days after the slayings, Kohberger changed his vehicle registration to a Washington state registration; previously, the car had been registered in Pennsylvania.
  • Cellular phone tower data indicates that Kohberger was near the murder scene “on at least 12 occasions” before Nov. 13, Payne wrote. But Kohberger’s phone appeared to be turned off or put in airplane mode during the time of the murders — a possible attempt to conceal his whereabouts.
  • A physical description of Kohberger matches an eyewitness account from a roommate at the house, who was unhurt in the attack.

The affidavit was dated Dec. 29, one day before Kohberger was arrested in Pennsylvania. It was sealed until Thursday, until Kohberger was transported to Idaho and served with an arrest warrant.

Kohberger made his first appearance in Idaho court Thursday. Angela Palermo of the Idaho Statesman has a full report on the hearing.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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