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Idaho murder suspect waives extradition rights, speeding up transfer from Pennsylvania

Posted at 8:44 AM, Jan 04, 2023

The suspect arrested in connection with the murders of four University of Idaho students appeared in court Tuesday in Pennsylvania, where he was taken into custody last week. Bryan Kohberger, 28, waived extradition rights in the brief hearing, according to the Associated Press, and is expected to be sent to Idaho to face first-degree murder charges within days.

The Pennsylvania State Police commissioner and Monroe County district attorney are expected to discuss his apprehension at a news conference following the hearing.

Jason LaBar, the chief public defender for the county who represented Kohberger through the extradition proceeding, said he should be presumed innocent and "not tried in the court of public opinion," AP reported.

Idaho authorities could arrange for Kohberger's expedited return there as little as 72 hours after the hearing, according to LaBar, although legal procedure technically allows a 10-day window to complete the extradition.

Once Kohberger is extradited, he is expected to appear in an Idaho court where, in keeping with state laws, authorities will then be able to share more details about the case against him and release a probable cause statement.

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Little is currently known about how the police investigation into the Idaho murders led authorities to Kohberger, a graduate student in criminology at Washington State University. He was arrested on a fugitive from justice warrant on Friday, Dec. 30, at his parents' home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania.

At a news conference held later that day, prosecutor Bill Thompson, of Latah County, Idaho, said Kohberger faces four counts of first-degree murder and felony burglary for his alleged role in the killings.

Kohberger's arrest came more than six weeks after University of Idaho students and housemates Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves and Xana Kernodle, as well as Kernodle's boyfriend and classmate Ethan Chapin, were stabbed to death during the early morning hours of Nov. 13, at the women's off-campus rental house in the college town of Moscow.

Two additional housemates survived and apparently slept through the attack as it occurred on the home's upper floors, according to the Moscow Police Department. Amid growing public anxiety, speculation and rumors about the unsolved case, authorities ruled out a number of potential suspects, including the surviving roommates, but did not share information about anyone they were pursuing in connection with the brutal crime until after Kohberger was arrested.

Kohberger has denied allegations of his involvement in the murders, according to LaBar, who described him as "very calm" and said Kohberger believes that he will be exonerated during an interview on NBC's "Today" show Tuesday morning.

"It is a little out of character, he said. I mean, this is not him," LaBar said. "He believes he's going to be exonerated, that's what he believes, those were his words. So, he's really been very easy to talk to actually, and he's in a calm demeanor like I stated."

LaBar also said Kohberger's family was "shocked" by the arrest. In a statement that the attorney released on the family's behalf over the weekend, Kohberger's parents and two sisters said they "care deeply for the four families who have lost their precious children."

"There are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray each day for them," the family said, adding, "We will continue to let the legal process unfold and as a family we will love and support our son and brother."

At the time of his arrest, Kohberger had recently finished his first semester as a Ph.D. criminology student and teaching assistant at Washington State University. The school, located in Pullman, Washington, is about 15 minutes from Moscow by car.

In a statement released the next day, WSU's Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology said it was "aggrieved by the alleged horrendous acts of one of its graduate students" and "relieved that justice will be carried out."