On Monday, it will be one year since four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in a grisly house invasion that piqued the interest of people throughout the country.
Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, and Xana Kernodle, as well as Kernodle’s boyfriend Ethan Chapin, were slain at the ladies’ off-campus residence in Moscow, Idaho, in the early hours of November 13, 2022. Two other housemates made it out alive.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, a criminology Ph.D. student at neighboring Washington State University, was apprehended on Dec. 30 at his family’s Pennsylvania home after a six-week manhunt.
Here’s everything you need to know as the Kohberger case progresses:
The shocking crime
According to court records, one of the surviving roommates reported hearing Goncalves playing with her dog in one of the third-floor bedrooms around 4 a.m. on Nov. 13, 2022.
“A short time” later, the roommate stated, “she heard who she thought was Goncalves say something to the effect of ‘there’s someone here,'” according to the records. But it may have been Kernodle on her phone because data revealed she was on TikTok around 4:12 a.m., according to the affidavit.
The roommate stated that “she looked out of her bedroom but did not see anything when she heard the comment about someone being in the house,” according to the records. “She opened her door a second time when she heard what she thought was crying coming from Kernodle’s room.”
According to the records, the roommate “then said she heard a male voice say something to the effect of ‘it’s ok, I’m going to help you,'”
According to a police affidavit, the roommate opened her door again after hearing the crying and saw a “figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose walking towards her,” who she described as “5’10” or taller, male, not very muscular, but athletically built with bushy eyebrows,” and who “walked past” her “towards the back sliding glass door” as the roommate stood in “frozen shock.”
What were the names of the victims?
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Madison Mogen, 21, had been closest friends their whole lives and were inseparable. Goncalves planned to graduate and relocate to Texas in December 2022.
Alivea Goncalves, Goncalves’ sister, regarded Mogen to be a sister as well. She stated that she was soothed by the fact that her best friends died in the same bed together.
“If I couldn’t have been there to hold their hands and to take that pain from them, at least they had each other,” she told ABC News in an interview.
Xana Kernodle, 20, and her boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20, were the other casualties.
Chapin was one of three children. His brother and sister are also students at the University of Idaho.
Chapin and Kernodle were the “perfect pair” with a “unstoppable, loving relationship,” a surviving roommate claimed in a December statement.
“They both would look at each other with so much love,” she told me.
According to the affidavit, when the victims were located, officials analyzed security video from the area and watched the suspect’s white Hyundai Elantra pass by the victims’ residence three times before entering the area for the fourth time at 4:04 a.m.
Police claimed they tracked the car’s path that night back to Pullman, Washington, where the suspect lived while attending Washington State University.
Before the attack, Kohberger’s phone was monitored traveling to Moscow, and the driver of the white Elantra was tracked returning to Pullman. The phone, however, was turned off from 2:47 a.m. until 4:48 a.m., which “is consistent with Kohberger attempting to conceal his location during the quadruple homicide,” according to the affidavit.
His phone was near the victims’ residence at least 12 times before the murders, dating back to August, according to the affidavit.
According to the records, DNA from the suspect was also detected on a knife sheath placed on Mogen’s bed.
What is the status of the case?
Kohberger is charged with first-degree murder on four charges and burglary on one count. If convicted, he might face the death sentence.
When the former Ph.D. student was arraigned in May, he refused to enter a plea, so the court entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.
Kohberger’s attorneys have stated that their client was not there at the time of the killings and was driving around alone that night.
Kohberger forfeited his right to a speedy trial in August, postponing the trial’s scheduled start date of Oct. 2 indefinitely.
A new trial date has yet to be determined.
What obstacles can arise throughout the trial?
The DNA recovered on the knife sheath’s button snap, which was located near Mogen’s body, is a vital linchpin for the prosecution in what is mostly a circumstantial case.
Authorities contended that DNA “showed a statistical match” with a cheek swab collected immediately from Kohberger after his arrest and that DNA “indisputably links Kohberger to the crime scene.”
Kohberger’s defenders have questioned the validity of the investigators’ evidence and whether it led solely to their client, including the DNA.
The defense has frequently requested additional information on the genealogy analyses used to identify Kohberger, and they have questioned investigators’ conclusion that the DNA is a statistical match.
Kohberger’s lawyers also point to a “total lack of DNA evidence” from the victims at Kohberger’s house or automobile.
“There are so many layers that make this an extraordinary case — and the defense is going to attack any aspect of it that they see as vulnerable,” David Calviello, a former New Jersey prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer, told ABC News in August.
“It makes sense for them to take shots at how certain evidence was presented to the grand jury — whether there were missed steps, cut corners, chain of custody problems, contamination — or not.”
The knife used in the killings was never found.
Investigators sought records of Amazon purchases and click history data for an Amazon customer, including “all detailed customer click activity about knives and accessories,” as well as a long list of information that could flesh out the customer’s full shopping movements and interests on the site, such as items that were wish-listed or saved for later, according to a series of now-unsealed search warrant documents.
Experts think that if prosecutors can link Kohberger to the purchase of a knife that may have been used in the killings, it will significantly strengthen their case.
What will become of the house?
The University of Idaho announced in February that the residence where the four students were slain will be demolished, calling the decision “a healing step.”
A university official stated in June that the residence would be demolished before students returned to campus in the autumn.
In July, the university abruptly halted demolition plans while asbestos and lead were removed from the home, despite objections from some of the victims’ families who expressed concern that demolishing the house before Kohberger’s trial would cause unexpected problems for prosecutors as they sought a guilty verdict.
About two weeks after Kohberger forfeited his right to a speedy trial in August, university administrators agreed to postpone demolition until at least the conclusion of the autumn term, which concludes in mid-December.
With no new trial date established, prosecutors requested access to the residence from the University of Idaho.
According to the university, FBI agents will be visiting the residence on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1 “to obtain documentation to construct visual and audio exhibits as well as a physical model of the home.”
“While the university still intends to demolish the home, it will not be done this semester,” the institution announced on Oct. 31.
Ethan Chapin, a triplet, has been planning his 21st birthday with his siblings “forever,” according to his parents. His brother, Hunter, and sister, Maizie, celebrated 21 without him last month.
As the Chapins enter their first year without Ethan, they intend to commemorate Nov. 13 with private fundraising for their charity, Ethan’s Smile charity, which helps grant scholarships to post-high school students so they may pursue their ambitions. The Chapins believe that supporting education is the best way to memorialize their son.
“Ethan stood for love, kindness, laughter, and loyalty,” Stacy Chapin, his mother, told ABC News. “He was the very best.”
Steve Goncalves, Kaylee’s father, stated that Kaylee’s younger siblings are now dealing with their birthdays. He went on to say “They don’t want to be older than their sister.”
Steve Goncalves does not consider November 13 to be an anniversary.
“This is more like a memorial — some type of an event that you have to look at and think about, but it’s not something that you ever look forward to,” he said in an interview with ABC News.
“Through her life, memory, and beauty, my daughter has allowed me to meet people from all over the world.” “And I’ll thank her when I see her one day,” Steve Goncalves remarked. “I’ll tell her how much she impacted the world and how proud of her I am.”
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