The suspect in the killings of four University of Idaho students is “a little bit shocked” by the accusation and under 24 hour surveillance in his cell, according to his attorney.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested in connection with the deaths on Friday and charged with four counts of first degree murder and one charge of felony burglary.
Monroe County Chief Jason LaBar said that Kohberger planned to waive his extradition hearing on Tuesday to expedite his transport to Idaho.
“Mr Kohberger is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible,” LaBar told CNN in a statement.
He said that Kohberger arrived in Pennsylvania to celebrate the holidays with his family on December 17 and that his father met him out west, with the pair driving in Kohberger’s white Hyundia Elantra back home.
Kohberger was “shocked a little bit” following his arrest, according to LaBar. He is under “24-hour watch by guards to ensure his safety”, he added.
LaBar called the extradition hearing a “formality proceeding” and said the Pennsylvania court would only need to prove Kohberger resembled or was the person named on the arrest warrant and his location at the time of the crime in order to extradite.
“Knowing of course that it’s likely they have location data from his cell phone already putting him on the border of Washington and Idaho, it was an easy decision obviously, since he doesn’t contest that he is Bryan Kohberger,” LaBar said.
He added: “We don’t really know much about the case. I don’t have any affidavit or probable cause. I didn’t want to discuss the case with him because I’m merely his representation for this procedural issue as to whether or not he wants to be extradited back to Idaho.”
Sources said that Kohberger had been under surveillance for several days before his arrest. It came six weeks after Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20 were brutally stabbed to death in a rental home in Moscow, Idaho.
Federal and state investigators received more than 20,000 tips regarding the case and conducted more than 300 interviews.
However, prosecutors warned the investigation was far from over and police said they have not found the murder weapon used to commit the crime.
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“This is not the end of this investigation. In fact, this is a new beginning,” said Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson.
He urged anyone with information about the case or Kohberger to come forward to authorities.
Investigators have not publicly confirmed whether the suspect knew the victims or released any motive.
Police sources zeroed in on Kohberger after finding DNA evidence linking him to the house where the murders were committed. They also confirmed he owned a white Hyundai Elantra – a car spotted near the scene of the crime.
Kohberger was working on his PHD in Criminology at Washington State University, just 10 miles over the border from Moscow, Idaho where the murders were committed.
He graduated from DeSales University with an undergraduate degree in psychology in 2020, finishing his Master’s degree there in 2022.
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He appeared to have a deep interest in criminology and crime. In a now removed Reddit post, someone named Bryan Kohberger asked former convicts to participate in a research project which aimed to study how a criminal’s “emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime”.
Questions in the survey included: “Did you prepare for the crime before leaving your home?”, “Why did you choose that victim or target over others?” and “What was the first move you made to accomplish your goal?”
“In particular, this study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience,” the post said.
Kohberger will be transported to Idaho. Upon his first court appearance, police have said they will release more information about their investigation.