Testimonies from roommates of the Idaho murder victims would have an “invaluable” influence on the jury and would reveal “intimate” details about the four college students if alleged killer Bryan Kohberger were to stand trial, a forensic scientist says.
Kohberger, 28, a former criminologist, Ph.D. The student, who has pleaded innocent, is in the Latah County Jail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 26, 2023 to decide whether he will face trial for the brutal stabbings of four University of Idaho students.
Housemates Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, and Xana Kernodle, 20, were killed along with Xana’s friend Ethan Chapin, 20, in an off-campus home in the early hours of November 13.
Two other housemates, Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke, survived the attack, and forensic scientist Joseph Scott Morgan believes they will be “invaluable” if they testify at Kohberger’s potential trial.
Joseph Scott Morgan, a distinguished applied forensics scholar at Jacksonville State University who is not working on the Kohberger case and has no direct knowledge of the actual investigation, told The US Sun exclusively: “I think they will be invaluable .”
“It gives an insight into talking about the people who were the victims because they lived with them, they probably knew them better than anyone,” he explained.
Mortensen and Funke were not only able to help the jury understand who the victims were, but they might also be able to unveil any red flags they saw in the time leading up to the murders.
“From an evidentiary perspective, they’re being asked what can you tell us about that day, that night, or maybe the days that follow,” said Morgan, who also hosts the true crime podcast Body Bags.
Morgan expects housemates to be asked questions like, “Did you know of any type of threat to your roommates? Did they say something in passing? Were there any comments about a strange person stalking you?”
The jury could also identify with the roommate’s living situation, which Morgan believes could have “a lot of value.”
“You’re going to have a lot of value and jury eyes because the jury can relate to living under the same roof with someone, they know what that’s like,” Morgan said.
The forensic scientist added that the jury will also know what it’s like to “reveal” things to people “in their family situation or home situation” that they don’t tell anyone else.
Morgan believes the roommates are also being questioned after the hours leading up to the murders.
“Then they will deal with the details of the timeline,” Morgan said. “What happened during those hours? What happened that night?”
He continued, “Do you remember what was said to you before that person left? Or if that person left? Or did she tell you where she went?”
“Why weren’t you with them? What did you do that evening? I know the defense will ask those questions,” Morgan said.
Morgan also presented some key pieces of evidence that he believes could convict Kohberger if he stood trial, including the knife sheath left at the scene and Kohberger’s car.
Mortensen allegedly told police that she woke up around 4 a.m. on the day of the murders, glanced out of her room and heard what she believed to be Goncalves, who, according to court records, said, “There’s someone here.”
After Mortensen peeked out of her room a second time, she believes she heard crying from Kernodle’s room and a male voice telling her something like, “It’s okay, I’ll help you,” court documents say.
As Mortensen recalled hearing more screams, she left her room a third time.
At that point, she recalled entering “a frozen period of shock” when a male figure walked past her wearing “black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose,” according to court documents.
She described the character as an “athletically built” man, at least 5 feet 10 inches or taller, with “bushy eyebrows,” court documents say.
Authorities believe Kohberger is the man Mortensen remembered on the day of the murders.
He was arrested on December 30, 2022 at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7716349/update-idaho-murder-victims-roommates-bryan-kohberger-trial/ ‘Intimate’ testimony from roommate of Idaho murder victims will have ‘invaluable’ impact on jury in Bryan Kohberger’s trial