Authorities in Pennsylvania say that when police arrested Idaho University murder suspect Bryan Kohberger in his parents’ home two months ago, he was wearing latex gloves and separating his personal trash from the family’s kitchen garbage, placing his own refuse into several sealable plastic baggies.
Kohberger faces first-degree murder charges in the November 2022 deaths of four students: Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Madison Mogen, 21. Each of the four was stabbed to death at an off-campus house located on King Road in the early morning hours of Nov. 13.
While Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall of Latah County, Idaho, issued a sweeping gag order preventing investigators, witnesses, and attorneys for both sides from publicly discussing any aspects of the case, prosecutors in Pennsylvania — where Kohberger’s parents live — offered new details about the investigation in an interview with local news outlet BRC-TV last week.
According to a recently unsealed search warrant, police raided Kohberger’s parent’s Chestnuthill Township home at around 1:30 a.m. on Dec. 30. The warrant confirms that authorities seized four “medical-style gloves” from Kohberger’s person, as well as a T-shirt, a sweatshirt, shorts, and a pair of size 13 Nike sneakers, among other items.
“Mr. Kohberger was found awake in the kitchen area dressed in shorts and a shirt a wearing latex medical-type gloves and apparently was taking his personal trash and putting it into separate Ziploc baggies,” Monroe County First Assistant District Attorney Michael Mancuso told the station.
“Mr. Kohberger, as with any other criminal defendant, is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law so that remains the case,” Mancuso continued. “But certainly for the investigation and the interest of the investigators in building the case layer by layer, that was a significant find.”
The Pennsylvania prosecutor said that Kohberger’s separation of his personal trash may be a reason why investigators had not recovered a DNA sample from the suspect until they performed a cheek swab during his arrest.
“The trash pull that was done days before recovered DNA profiles but not from him, only from his family members,” Mancuso said. “It could very explain some of the other aspects of the case from Idaho, some of the lengths that a person would go to to avoid having their DNA left behind when they know or should have known that there was an investigation underway.”
Mancuso said he believes the two most critical pieces of evidence recovered from the raid on the home of Kohberger’s parents could be his shoes and the DNA recovered from the cheek swab.
“I would be keen on the shoes, the size of the shoes, comparison to any show impressions that might have been recovered at the scene that sort of thing,” Mancuso said. He also noted that investigators could now compare Kohberger’s DNA to any DNA found on the knife sheath recovered from inside the off-campus home where the victims were killed.
Another search warrant unsealed last week showed that several weapons, including two knives, a handgun, and several empty magazines, were also seized from the home of Kohberger’s parents. Authorities have not commented on whether either knife could be the murder weapon.
Documents say state police collected a knife, a “Glock 22 Gen5 .40 caliber” gun, three Glock .40 caliber magazines, a Smith & Wesson pocket knife, a laptop, two black face masks, black gloves, and a “green leafy substance” that was found in both a green container as well as in a plastic bag. Additionally, authorities say they searched Kohberger’s 2015 Hyundai Elantra and recovered swabs, gloves, boots, a shovel, and a pair of goggles.
While prosecutors have not stated whether they plan to seek the death penalty against Kohberger, the court on Monday approved a motion from his attorney to appoint an additional lawyer to represent him in the upcoming murder trial. According to Spokane, Washington, AM radio station KXLY, the motion specifically sought the appointment of “an additional death qualified co-counsel.”
Kohberger is currently being represented by Kootenai County public defender Anne Taylor.
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