In a major courtroom proceeding, an Idaho judge steadfastly rejected a plea by Bryan Kohberger’s defence attorneys to quash all allegations against their client. Kohberger, a 28-year-old criminology PhD candidate, is at the epicenter of a high-profile case, charged with the brutal murders of four University of Idaho students in their Moscow residence on November 13.
Returning to court for a pivotal hearing this Thursday, Kohberger's legal team had previously launched a motion to dismiss the murder charges. They argued that the case was marred by a prejudiced grand jury, the inclusion of inadmissible evidence, and allegations of prosecutorial misconduct.
Presiding Judge John Judge acknowledged the creativity and historical depth of the defense's argument. Yet, he swiftly affirmed the grand jury’s indictment, expressing his binding duty to follow what he perceives as established Idaho law.
He suggested that this matter may be more aptly addressed by a higher judicial authority, such as the Idaho Supreme Court, expressing anticipation for its potential review. In an unexpected turn, Judge Judge announced his decision to permit camera presence in the courtroom, albeit with an intention to exercise greater control over their operation.
He called for restraint and dignity from media outlets in their coverage of the case.
Families Advocate for Transparency
Families of victims Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, have been vocal advocates for camera documentation of Kohberger’s trial proceedings.
This request, however, has faced opposition from both the defense and prosecution. Early Thursday, the families took to Facebook to share their anxieties and hopes for a favourable decision. Media groups have resisted the defence’s motion to ban cameras, advocating for continued access to the courtroom for future hearings and the trial.
Kohberger, whose connection to the murders is allegedly supported by DNA evidence, cellphone data, an eyewitness account, and his white Hyundai Elantra, has consistently maintained his innocence. Thursday's hearing saw Kohberger's defence challenge the grand jury instructions, a move that Judge Judge met with a light-hearted remark about their century-long consistency.
The prosecution stood firm, asserting the validity of the grand jury indictment and pointing to clear precedents set by the Idaho Supreme Court. Initially set for October 2, Kohberger’s trial is now on an indefinite hiatus following his unexpected decision to waive his right to a speedy trial.
He stands accused of four counts of murder and other related charges, steadfastly denying any involvement in the tragic events.