A grand jury in Idaho has indicted Brian Kohberger for the murder of four college students.
The indictment allows the prosecution to move forward without the preliminary hearing that was scheduled to take place over the course of a week in June. The case will not be heard at the felony court level.
The Latah County grand jury found on May 17 that the 28-year-old “did unlawfully enter” the off-campus rental house shared by five women near the University of Idaho on the night of Nov. 17, 2022 and did “willfully, unlawfully, deliberately, with premeditation and with malice aforethought, kill and murder” three of the roommates and the boyfriend of one victim who was spending the night.
Kohberger has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, who were all enrolled at the University of Idaho. The students were found stabbed to death the morning after the attack. The two other residents of the home were unharmed.
Kohberger was a graduate student studying criminology at Washington State University. WSU’s campus is about 10 miles from U of I’s campus in Moscow. He was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania on Dec. 30. He had driven his white sedan – which reportedly matches the description of a car observed on surveillance footage near the crime scene – from Washington to Pennsylvania with his father in the weeks following the attack.
Police have also said Kohberger’s DNA was a match for DNA found on a knife sheath inside the rental home. In an affidavit that was unsealed after Kohberger was extradited to Idaho, investigators noted that a cell phone owned by Kohberger was near the rental house on dozens of occasions in the months leading up to the victims’ deaths.
“Still, the unsealed court documents do not appear to suggest a motive, nor whether the killer had specifically targeted any of the victims,” noted AP News. “It’s also not clear if prosecutors believe Kohberger had met any of the victims before the night they died.”
Authorities believe the murder weapon is a large, fixed-blade knife. The actual weapon was never recovered by law enforcement.
After Kohberger’s arrest, Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall imposed a gag order restricting both the defense, the prosecution, and law enforcement from commenting on the case.
The murder was a shock to the college community and captured national attention.
“Last weekend, the University of Idaho awarded posthumous bachelor’s degrees to the families of Goncalves and Mogen, who were seniors at the time of their deaths. Kernodle, a junior, and Chapin, a freshman, were also given posthumous certificates,” per NBC News.
Kohberger is being held at the Latah County Jail without bail.