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Bryan Kohberger was out driving the night of Idaho murders: Attorney



Bryan Kohberger, the man charged in the murders of four University of Idaho students, claims he was out driving by himself the night of the murders, according to a new court filing.

The bombshell information came in an objection to a motion from prosecutors who want the court to order Kohberger to turn over specific information about his alibi or bar the evidence at trial.

“He was out, driving during the late night and early morning hours of November 12-13, 2022,” Kohberger’s attorney, Anne Taylor wrote in the objection. “Mr. Kohberger has long had a habit of going for drives alone. Often he would go for drives at night. He did so late on November 12 and into November 13, 2022.”

The admission that Kohberger was out driving at the time of the murders may be used to the advantage of both the defense and the prosecution.

Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom during a hearing Tuesday, June 27, 2023, at the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow, Idaho. (AP)

Suspected killer’s nocturnal habits

One of Kohberger’s neighbors in Pullman, Washington told Law&Crime earlier this year that he often stayed up all night. The defense will likely argue Kohberger’s nocturnal habits do not necessarily tie him to the crime. Prosecutors will likely argue it’s part of placing him and his white Hyundai Elantra near the crime scene.

Kohberger said in a prior filing that he would possibly present an alibi through experts and cross-examination of state’s witnesses. His lawyers claim they are complying with Idaho state statutes governing disclosure of alibi evidence because they are not specifically claiming he had an alibi.

“Mr. Kohberger is not claiming to be at a specific location at a specific time; at this time there is not a specific witness to say precisely where Mr. Kohberger was at each moment of the hours between late night November 12, 2022 and early morning November 13, 2022,” Taylor wrote. 

Idaho state statute describes the requirements a defendant must meet to present an alibi at trial.

“Such notice by the defendant shall state the specific place or places at which the defendant claims to have been at the time of the alleged offense and the names and addresses of the witnesses upon whom he intends to rely to establish such alibi,” the statute states.

Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a motion hearing regarding a gag order, Friday, June 9, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. (AP)

‘Defense has been hampered’

Taylor blames prosecutors later in the objection for the defense not being able to produce witnesses that will corroborate Kohberger not being at 1122 King Rd. on the night of the murders.

“At this time, Mr. Kohberger cannot be more specific about the possible witnesses and exactly what they will say,” Taylor wrote. “The defense has been hampered by the state’s own choices. The state chose a secret grand jury rather than the planned preliminary hearing.”

A preliminary hearing would have allowed Kohberger’s attorneys to cross-examine witnesses for prosecution. Instead, prosecutors went to a grand jury to indict Kohberger. Grand juries are secret and defense attorneys are not present for witness testimony.

Bryan Kohberger, facing first-degree murder charges in the deaths of four University of Idaho students last fall, is taken by sheriff’s deputies from the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg, Pa. on Jan. 3, 2023. (AP)

Taylor added that the defense may present experts to show Kohberger was not at the crime scene at the time of the murders. However, she said the analysis is underway.

She also accused prosecutors of trying to force the defense to hand over “work product” that prosecutors have no right to see. Currently, Kohberger’s trial is set for October 2.

The state’s motion is an attempt to force the defense to open its work product files and let the state peek inside,” Taylor wrote. “The state continually uses those opportunities to attempt to force a waiver of speedy trial. That is a decision left to Mr. Kohberger and Mr. Kohberger alone.”

Kohberger has pleaded not guilty to the November 2022 murders of Maddie Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin. The four were stabbed to death in a house in Moscow near the U of I’s campus. Some were sleeping when they were stabbed.

He will be in court August 18 for a hearing on several motions. He’s being held in the Latah Co. Jail without bail. 

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Angenette Levy is a correspondent and host for the Law&Crime Network. Angenette has worked in newsrooms in Green Bay, Wisconsin and Cincinnati, Ohio. She has covered a number of high-profile criminal cases in both state and federal courts throughout her career including the trials of Steven Avery, Brooke “Skylar” Richardson and most recently the trials of Kyle Rittenhouse and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. She was nominated for an Emmy in 2015 for a story she covered in which she found a missing toddler who was the subject of an Amber Alert. Angenette is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati.