STROUDSBURG, Pa. — Relatives of a man arrested in Pennsylvania for the murder of four University of Idaho students have expressed sympathy for the families of the victims, but have also vowed to support him and promote “his presumptive of innocence”.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, is eager to be exonerated and plans to tell a Pennsylvania judge on Tuesday that he will not fight extradition to Idaho, his public defender Jason LaBar said.
Kohberger, a doctoral student and teaching assistant in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Washington State University, was arrested Friday morning by state police at his parents’ home in Chestnuthill Township, in eastern Pennsylvania, authorities said.
Her parents, Michael and Maryann, and her two older sisters, Amanda and Melissa, said in a statement released by her attorney on Sunday that 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 for them every day.”
The family said loved ones will continue to let the legal process unfold and that “as a family we will love and support our son and our brother.” They say they have cooperated fully with law enforcement in trying to “seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judging unknown facts and making faulty assumptions.”
LaBar, the Monroe County, Idaho public defender, urged people not to pass judgment until a fair trial takes place.
“Mr. Kohberger has been charged with very serious crimes, but American justice covers him with a veil of innocence,” LaBar said in a statement. “He should be presumed innocent until proven guilty – not tried in the court of public opinion.”
Capt. Anthony Dahlinger of the Moscow Police Department in Idaho told The Associated Press on Saturday that authorities believe Kohberger was responsible for all four murders. “We think we’ve got our man,” he said.
Bill Thompson, a Latah County, Idaho district attorney, told a press conference Friday that investigators believe Kohberger broke into the University of Idaho student house near campus. “with intent to commit murder”. The bodies of the victims were found on November 13, several hours after investigators believe they died.
The students – Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington — were members of the university’s Greek system and close friends. Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived in the three-story rental house with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating and he was visiting the house that evening.
Autopsies showed that all four were probably asleep when they were attacked. Some had defensive wounds and each was stabbed multiple times. There were no signs of a sexual assault, police said.
Latah County prosecutors said the affidavit for four counts of first-degree murder in Idaho will remain sealed until he returns. He is also charged with burglary in Idaho. Many details of the case are expected to be released after Kohberger’s first appearance in an Idaho courtroom, Dahlinger said.
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