The Idaho killings raise suspicion of Bryan Kohberger’s ‘bizarre decision’ to keep quiet about his plea of innocence
BRYAN Kohberger’s decision to remain silent and plead not guilty at his first court hearing was “bizarre” and his legal team still has a mountain to climb to defend him, a legal expert has claimed.
The 28-year-old, who is accused of fatally stabbing four university students sleeping in their beds, appeared in the Latah district courtroom in Moscow. IdahoOn Monday.
Although he answered yes to Judge John C. Judge’s question as to whether he understood the individual charges and penalties, he declined to speak when asked about his pleadings.
Prosecutor Anne Taylor, the head of the Kootenai County public defense attorney’s office, said, “Your Honor, we are silent,” and the judge then entered a not-guilty plea for each charge.
According to research, this tactic means that “a defendant takes no position as to whether he is guilty or not guilty,” and is tantamount to a plea of not guilty that the judge enters on his behalf.
A defendant’s refusal to testify or remain silent cannot be used against him at trial, but his team has their hands full preparing for a court case.
It is likely that Kohberger will choose to plead the fifth count again in court, refusing to answer questions on the witness stand.
Criminal Attorney in Los Angeles Joshua Knighta former Los Angeles County Attorney, gave his thoughts on the next steps in the case in an exclusive interview with The US Sun.
He said, “The decision by Bryan Kohberger and his attorney to remain silent rather than plead not guilty is a bizarre twist on this whole matter.”
“The defense will have to work very hard, it’s an extremely difficult case for them.”
“They will do their best to characterize this as circumstantial.”
“They can try to drill holes in cell phone data to put Kohberger in the area of the murders and they can try to undermine the fact that his vehicle was seen on surveillance video.”
“Ultimately, however, they still have the almost irrefutable evidence that his DNA was found in the knife sheath at the crime scene, and a consistent eyewitness account describing someone who looks like Kohberger leaving the house on the night of the murder.”
Ritter believes the case against Kohberger is as “solid as possible” without a defendant being caught on camera or by an eyewitness committing a murder.
Prosecutors now have 60 days to announce whether they want to seek the death penalty for Kohberger.
Following the indictment, the judge held a hearing on the strict confidentiality rules that prohibit police officers or lawyers involved in the case from speaking to the media.
He made no formal decisions on the order and scheduled another hearing for June 9 to consider it.
The trial date is now set for October 2 and all evidence will be presented to the jury.
“The trial will likely take a few weeks, but while this is an extremely serious crime, I don’t expect it to take months to complete,” Ritter told The US Sun.
“The murders all happened at one crime scene in one evening, so this process is less complicated than other crimes that may involve multiple murders in different locations and different periods of time.”
“Nevertheless, this is a technically detailed case that requires juries to become familiar with concepts such as how investigators analyze geolocation data from cellphones and DNA evidence. So this will take some time.”
The criminology graduate student was charged last week in the murders of Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20.
The University of Idaho students were found butchered at their off-campus residence in Moscow, Idaho, on the morning of November 13, 2022.
Kohberger was a graduate student at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington – a 15-minute drive from the rental house where the four students were killed.
Investigators claim that Kohberger broke into the three-story house with a sliding glass door in the early hours of the morning.
The suspect is then accused of brutally stabbing Madison and Kaylee in Madison’s second floor bedroom before murdering Xana and Ethan in their third floor room.
The families of Madison and Kaylee Goncalves were also in the courtroom Monday, according to an Idaho Statesman reporter AngelaPalermowho witnessed the prosecution.
They will likely attend the hearing along with other friends and family members of the four students.
Ritter said, “The victims’ families watching these procedures are living through an almost unimaginable nightmare.”
“The crime started out completely mysterious and the killings were so brutal. Now the families are having to relive what happened that night.”
“Prosecutors have to keep in mind in a case like this that they have to make sure they are with these families through all of these emotions and keep them informed so they understand what to expect.”
“Brian Kohberger’s family doesn’t have much sympathy, but they’re also going through their own trauma.
“It’s not that he was estranged from his family, his parents were involved in his life before he was arrested for a quadruple murder. So there is a lot to process for them too.”
Reportedly, Kohberger’s parents and siblings were not present when he was charged but have supported him since the killings and his arrest.
They released a statement saying there were no words that could adequately express the sorrow they feel for the families of the victims.
The family added that they are cooperating with law enforcement “to find out the truth and to further his presumption of innocence…”