Documents: Kohberger DNA statistical match for knife sheath connected to Idaho student killings

Jun 21, 2023, 4:30 PM

Bryan Kohberger...

Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a hearing in Latah County District Court earlier this month in Moscow, Idaho. ( Pool/Getty Images)

( Pool/Getty Images)

(CNN) — The DNA of Bryan Kohberger, the suspect in the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students at an off-campus home in Moscow last fall, is a “statistical match” to DNA collected from the sheath of a knife found at the scene, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

An “STR” DNA comparison was performed on DNA collected from Kohberger and DNA taken from the knife sheath, prosecutors said in the June 16 filing. The samples showed a “statistical match,” the court documents state.

An “STR” analysis – or short tandem repeat analysis – is a common type of DNA profiling in criminal cases and other types of forensic cases, according to the National Institute of Justice.

“The STR profile is at least 5.37 octillion times more likely to be seen if (the) Defendant is the source than if an unrelated individual randomly selected from the general population is the source,” prosecutors said in the filing. An octillion is a number equal to a 1 followed by 27 zeros.

The FBI originally loaded the DNA profile from the knife sheath onto publicly available genealogy sites, the documents state.

“The FBI went to work building family trees of the genetic relatives to the suspect DNA left at the crime scene in an attempt to identify the contributor of the unknown DNA,” and then sent a tip to investigate Kohberger, according to prosecutors.

That tip “pointed law enforcement toward (the) Defendant, but it did not provide law enforcement with substantive evidence of guilt,” according to the prosecutors’ filing – which is why they followed up using an STR analysis.

A DNA sample from trash recovered from the Kohberger family residence by Pennsylvania law enforcement and sent to the Idaho State Lab for testing was also used to help investigators home in on Kohberger as a suspect in the killings, court documents released earlier this year state.

A timeline of the killings of four University of Idaho students

Those documents also say a DNA profile obtained from trash at the home and the DNA profile obtained from the sheath, “identified a male as not being excluded as the biological father of Suspect knife Profile,” the documents state.

“At least 99.9998% of the male population would be expected to be excluded from the possibility of being the suspect’s biological father.”

Killings shocked community

Kohberger faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary in the November 13 killings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, at a home just outside the university’s main campus in Moscow. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf by an Idaho judge at a hearing last month.

The killings and subsequent lengthy investigation rattled Moscow, a city of 25,000 people that hadn’t recorded a murder since 2015.

After weeks of little information and heightened anxiety in the community, Kohberger was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania in late December and identified by authorities as the alleged killer. He has been in police custody since and is being held without bail.

At last month’s hearing, Judge John Judge read aloud Kohberger’s rights and each of the charges outlined in the indictment. When asked if he understood the charges, Kohberger replied to each, “Yes.”

When asked for his plea to the counts, Kohberger remained silent. His attorney rose and said, “Your honor, we are standing silent,” and the judge then entered not guilty pleas for him.

A gag order implemented in the case prohibits all attorneys – prosecutors, defense lawyers, and those representing victims and witnesses – from saying anything publicly beyond what is already in the public record.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live


Evidence markers are placed at the scene of a shooting at a splash pad in Rochester Hills, Michigan...

Dalia Faheid, Paradise Afshar, Sara Smart, Kim Berryman and Sharif Paget, CNN

Police search for motive after apparent ‘random’ shooting at Michigan recreation center wounds at least 9

Police are looking for a motive after at least nine people were shot in what appears to be a “random” shooting that sent panicked families fleeing a crowded recreation area in Rochester Hills, Michigan, on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

12 hours ago

The flag installation seen in June 2023 on the fence at Christopher Park is part of the Stonewall N...

Ashley R. Williams, CNN

LGBTQ Pride Month flags vandalized near Stonewall National Monument, police say

Flags dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month were vandalized this week in New York City, according to the city’s police department.

2 days ago

West Valley City Police Department squad cars followed a stolen car and took two juveniles into cus...

Larry D. Curtis

1 teen, 2 guns recovered after traffic stop on suspected stolen car in Kearns

One teen was taken into custody, and two guns were collected by police in Kearns after a traffic stop

2 days ago

The OnlyFans logo is seen on a computer monitor in this posed photo, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023, in St....

Associated Press

Former Nashville officer arrested after allegedly participating in an adult video while on duty

A former Nashville police officer has been arrested for two counts of felony official misconduct after law enforcement officials say he allegedly participated in an adult video while on duty.

3 days ago

Chester Turner was charged for the murder of Itisha Camp. (LA Times)...

Eliza Pace and Linsay Aerts, KSL TV

Convicted serial killer charged with murder of Utah woman in 1998

A man, who is a convicted serial killer, has been charged with aggravated murder for the death of a Utah woman in 1998.

3 days ago

Handcuffs in a jail cell. (Ravell Call/Deseret News)...

Michael Houck

Police: Motorcyclist found with ‘fresh blood on his face’ after allegedly shooting another driver

A motorcyclist allegedly followed a car after a physical fight and shot at the car's driver multiple times before fleeing the scene, police say.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Documents: Kohberger DNA statistical match for knife sheath connected to Idaho student killings