Demolition of Idaho murder house is ‘absurd’: Forensics expert
Forensics expert Joseph Scott Morgan says ‘valuable information’ could have been lost by tearing down the house, possibly helping the suspect.
Idaho student murders suspect Bryan Kohberger’s defense team has asked the judge to reconsider his denial of their efforts to have the indictment against him dismissed as prosecutors look to speed up the clock for the quadruple stabbing suspect’s trial.
In a court filing last week, Kohberger’s team asked for a hearing behind closed doors to argue against the grand jury proceedings in secret. Their reasoning was entered under seal.
Judge John Judge scheduled a closed-door hearing on the defense motion for Jan. 26 and a public hearing on the prosecution’s request to schedule a trial date later that same day.
Judge previously denied two defense motions to dismiss, finding Kohberger’s lawyers were “historically interesting and creative” in their arguments but not grounded in state law.
BRYAN KOHBERGER TRIAL: IDAHO PROSECUTORS REQUEST PREFERRED DATES, SCHEDULE
Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a hearing at the Latah County Courthouse in Moscow, Idaho. (August Frank/Lewiston Morning Tribune, Pool)
“Kohberger has failed to successfully challenge the indictment on grounds of juror bias, lack of sufficient admissible evidence, or prosecutorial misconduct,” Judge wrote. “Kohberger was indicted by an impartial grand jury who had sufficient admissible evidence to find probable cause to believe Kohberger committed the crimes alleged by the State. Further, the State did not engage in prosecutorial misconduct in presenting their case to the jury.”
Kohberger is accused of entering a six-bedroom home just steps off the University of Idaho campus and killing four of the six students inside – Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20 and Ethan Chapin, 20.
Housemates and best friends Mogen and Goncalves were discovered in an upstairs bedroom. Under Mogen’s body, police found a Ka-Bar knife sheath they say tested positive for Kohberger’s DNA.
BRYAN KOHBERGER’S MOTIONS TO DISMISS IDAHO MURDERS INDICTMENT DENIED
The victims of the Nov. 13, 2022 University of Idaho massacre, from left to right: Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen. (Instagram @xanakernodle / @maddiemogen / @kayleegoncalves)
On the middle floor, responding officers found the bodies of Kernodle, who also lived in the home, and her boyfriend Chapin, who was spending the night.
The landlord donated the property to the school last year, and administrators had it demolished on Dec. 28.
WATCH: Time-lapse video shows demolition of Idaho student murders house
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In a letter to the University of Idaho obtained by Fox News’ Christina Coleman, Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said investigators anticipated “no further use” of the off-campus rental home for their case.
“Based on our review of Idaho case law, the current condition of the premises is so substantially different than at the time of the homicides that a ‘jury view’ would not be authorized,” he wrote.
Judge’s scheduling order (Mobile users go here)
Experts have been mixed on the issue, with Philadelphia-area defense attorney David Gelman telling Fox News Digital that a jury visit to the crime scene would be a “logistics nightmare” that could potentially have no impact on the jurors so long after the slayings, while Boise-based lawyer Edwina Elcox said there is potential for an unmatched perspective when viewing the interior in person.
Thompson has requested the trial begin sometime this summer.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger arrives at Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 3, 2023 before waiving extradition to Idaho to face murder charges in the stabbing deaths of four university students. (The Image Direct for Fox News Digital)
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Police arrested Kohberger on Dec. 30, 2022, weeks after the murders. By then, he had taken a cross-country road trip with his dad back to his family home in Pennsylvania. At the time of the slayings, he was studying for a Ph.D. in criminology at Washington State University, about a 10-mile drive from the King Road house.
He allegedly killed the four students across two floors in the three-story building, sparing two other housemates, one of whom told police she saw a masked man while peeking out her bedroom door.
Kohberger could face the death penalty if convicted.
Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports