The suspect in the brutal murders of four University of Idaho students two months ago initially waived his Miranda rights and spoke freely with investigators after his arrest but stopped talking and asked for an attorney when detectives asked him about the Idaho murders.
Jason LaBar, the chief public defender of Monroe County, Pennsylvania — where Bryan Kohberger was arrested on Friday — told Law&Crime that he spoke with investigators at a state police barracks for somewhere between five and 15 minutes until police asked him if he understood what was going on.
LaBar, who is representing Kohberger until he is extradited to Idaho, said the suspect told him he responded, “Yes, certainly I’m aware of what’s going on. I’m 10 miles away from this,” referring to his residence at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington, where he is a PhD candidate in justice and criminology. That’s when he invoked his right to counsel, LaBar said.
“He’s calm. He’s fully aware,” LaBar said of his temporary client. “It’s obvious he’s very intelligent… He already has a Master’s. It shouldn’t shock anyone that he’s intelligent.”
Kohberger, 28, has been charged with the murders of Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen, and Kaylee Goncalves, all students at the University of Idaho in Moscow. He’s also been charged with burglary for allegedly breaking into their off-campus rental home.
Kohberger remained at school attending class after the murders but left in mid-December after his father flew out to drive back to Pennsylvania with him. They traveled in Kohberger’s white Hyundai Elantra — a model of car Moscow police said they were looking for after one was spotted on surveillance tape near the murder scene at the time of murders.
The Kohbergers — who left Washington between December 13 and 17, LaBar said — were pulled over by police twice in Indiana, as CrimeOnline previously reported, once for speeding and once for following too closely. Police have indicated they were tracking Kohberger during the cross-country drive, although details of that tracking have not been revealed. Investigators also said they surveilled the Kohberger home for four days before they moved in on December 30 to make an arrest.
LaBar said that Kohberger intends to waive extradition at a hearing in Monroe County on Tuesday, meaning he will be back in Idaho sooner rather than later. Once he makes an initial appearance in an Idaho court, the affidavit used to secure probable cause for his arrest can be unsealed, under Idaho law, and the details of the investigation and the arrest will be become public.
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[Featured image: Bryan Kohberger/Monroe County Correctional Facility]