Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger was unknown to victims, lawyer says

MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger was unknown to the victims, according to a lawyer for one of their families.

The 28-year-old criminology PhD student is accused of entering the home of a group of sleeping University of Idaho undergrads and stabbing four of them to death on Nov. 13, according to police in Moscow, Idaho.

The ambush claimed the lives of Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, 21-year-old best friends, their housemate Xana Kernodle, 20, and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, also 20, who was spending the night over.

Shanon Gray, the attorney for Goncalves’ parents, said “no one” knew about Kohberger before the slayings.

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Bryan Kohberger arrives at the Monroe County Courthouse in Pennsylvania for his extradition hearing.
(The Image Direct for Fox News Digital)

“Any information any of the families gather regarding connections to any of the victims will be turned over to the Moscow Police Department,” he told Fox News Digital.

Police documents allege that Kohberger, a student at the neighboring Washington State University just 7 miles away, cased out the victims’ home at least 12 times prior to the murders. Then, just hours after the attack, police say they tracked Kohberger’s phone back to the crime scene.

Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, along with the women’s two other roommates in Kaylee Goncalves’ final Instagram post, shared the day before the slayings.
(@kayleegoncalves/Instagram)

Moscow Police Cpl. Brett Payne wrote in a probable cause affidavit filed on Dec. 29 that he obtained a search warrant for Kohberger’s phone records to see if he had “stalked any of the victims,” contacted their associates, or spied on the King Road house.

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Law enforcement vehicles on the scene of the Idaho quadruple murder.
(Derek Shook for Fox News Digital)

“The records for the 8458 Phone (Kohberger’s phone) show the 8458 Phone utilizing cellular resources that provide coverage to the area of 1122 King Road on at least twelve occasions prior to November 13, 2022,” he wrote. “All of these occasions, except for one, occurred in the late evening and early morning hours of their respective days.”

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The Goncalves family, led by attorney Shanon Gray, leaves Latah County Courthouse on January 5, 2023, after Bryan Kohberger’s initial appearance before an Idaho judge.
(Derek Shook for Fox News Digital)

Kohberger faces four charges of first-degree murder and another felony burglary charge for allegedly entering the home with the intent to kill.

Some experts have speculated that the burglary charge could be an indication that Kohberger didn’t know the victims – however they note burglary charges can still be filed if the intruder is not a stranger.

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“The burglary charge allows the prosecution to introduce evidence of the unlawful entry into the house,” Neama Rahmani, a Los Angeles-based attorney and former federal prosecutor, told Fox News Digital. “There is no clear evidence of motive, or at least not yet, so the state wants to show that Kohberger wasn’t there legitimately and there is no reason for his DNA to be there.”

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Gray did not immediately respond to additional questions from Fox News Digital, but in an earlier interview with Business Insider, he said the victims gave no indication they were being watched.

Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.