Prior to Kohberger’s arrest on Dec. 30 in an unrelated narcotics possession case, Kootenai County Public Defender Anne Taylor had been appointed to defend Cara Kernodle, the mother of 20-year-old victim Xana Kernodle.
According to court documents, she resigned on Jan. 5, the same day as Kohberger’s first appearance before an Idaho judge, and was replaced by attorney Christopher Schwartz.
Schwartz did not reply to a request for comment on Tuesday.
Taylor was designated as Kohberger’s temporary defense counsel immediately after his arrest, and he was assigned as his official public defender during his first appearance in the Latah County Courthouse when he waived extradition in Pennsylvania and returned to Idaho.
He was captured more than six weeks after the alleged killings at his parent’s home in Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains, and police claimed they collected DNA from a trash can there that was a familial match to DNA found on a knife sheath left near one of the victims’ bodies.
Kohberger is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary after police say he broke into a home on King Road in Moscow and ambushed four University of Idaho students – Kernodle, her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, and two 21-year-old housemates, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.
According to officials, the attacks occurred at approximately 4 a.m. on Nov. 13, and Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt previously stated that at least some of the victims were likely asleep at the time.
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Two other housemates were uninjured, including one who saw a masked guy with “bushy eyebrows” depart after the deaths, according to authorities. Police subsequently stated they uncovered suspected animal hair when serving a search request at Kohberger’s residence in Pullman, Washington, less than 10 miles away from the homicide site.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Kohberger, a Ph.D. student at Washington State University, had been stalking the King Road residence for weeks.
His phone rang near the residence at least a dozen times before the killings and again the next morning.
Taylor stated at a court appearance on January 12 that her client plans to fight the evidence against him but has renounced his right to a rapid preliminary hearing.
The proceedings have been planned for the final week of June by Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall, and they are likely to last four to five days.
Experts told Fox News Digital that prosecutors might shorten the timeframe by pursuing a grand jury indictment instead of waiting until the preliminary hearing to show probable cause.
A gag order has been granted by the court, prohibiting attorneys and investigators from commenting on the matter.
Kohberger is being jailed without bond and, if convicted, may face the death sentence.