In the early hours of November 13, Kohberger, 28, reportedly entered into a rental property near the university’s campus in Moscow, Idaho, and fatally stabbed Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20.
Kohberger was a Ph.D. candidate in criminology and a teaching assistant at Washington State University in neighbouring Pullman at the time of the killings.
On December 30, he was apprehended at his parents’ house in Pennsylvania and is now charged with four charges of first-degree murder and one count of criminal burglary.
Kohberger has yet to submit a plea to the accusations, although his lawyer in Pennsylvania previously stated that he was “ready to be exonerated.”
Prosecutors will try to prove that there is enough evidence to sustain the criminal accusations against Kohberger during a preliminary hearing set for late June.
According to NewsNation, Goncalves kept a Bluetooth speaker in her bedroom, and proof of Kohberger’s phone connecting to that device might help the prosecution’s case.
“If Kohberger’s phone tried to connect with that Bluetooth device, which is what all of our phones do, they’re constantly trying to connect to whatever devices are, whether they’re in the Elantra or in her home… that would go towards placing Kohberger physically, or his cell phone, at the scene of the crime,” Tracy Walder said on NewsNation.
Walder cited a probable cause statement in which police linked DNA from a knife sheath discovered at the site to Kohberger, as well as a surviving roommate who saw a masked intruder in the residence the night of the killings and described them as having “bushy eyebrows.”
According to the affidavit, Kohberger’s phone was either turned off or in aeroplane mode around the time of the deaths, but data just before it was turned off indicated he was headed in the direction of the house, while data after it was switched back on indicated he was heading away from it.
If there is evidence that Kohberger’s phone linked to the Bluetooth speaker, Walder said it would add “greater credence to his DNA sheath being there, his perhaps being spotted with the bushy eyebrows.
“It really speaks to the weight of the evidence because you now have three things that physically placed him there.”
Clark Walton, a forensics and cybersecurity specialist, also speculated on NewsNation about whether a Bluetooth link might locate Kohberger.
“Your iPhone does retain a record of what Wi-Fi networks you’ve connected to, as well as some network details,” Walton explained.
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“Most importantly for this scenario, the last date and time that the phone was linked to that Wi-Fi network, and the same holds true for Bluetooth.”
“Let’s say Kohberger’s phone had initiated or completed a handshake with really any other device in proximity to that house, coming back in close proximity to that house even if the phone was in aeroplane mode, as was pointed out, that Bluetooth connection may likely still be enabled and that handshake could occur,” he added.
“That evidence would remain on the phone, and a forensic examiner could later remove it and say, yep, this phone was in Bluetooth connection with this speaker.”