COURTS & LEGAL

Man accused of killing 4 university students in Idaho loses bid to have indictment tossed

Dec 19, 2023, 4:15 PM

FILE - Bryan Kohberger listens to arguments during a hearing, Oct. 26, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. Late...

FILE - Bryan Kohberger listens to arguments during a hearing, Oct. 26, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. Late Friday, Dec. 15, a judge ruled that the grand jury indictment of Kohberger, who is charged with killing four University of Idaho students, was conducted properly and will stand. (Kai Eiselein/New York Post via AP, Pool, File)

(Kai Eiselein/New York Post via AP, Pool, File)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The grand jury indictment of a man charged with killing four University of Idaho students was conducted properly and will stand, a judge has ruled.

Bryan Kohberger is charged with four counts of murder in connection with the stabbing deaths of Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves at a rental home near the university campus in Moscow, Idaho, last year. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty if Kohberger is convicted.

But earlier this year, Kohberger’s team of defense attorneys filed motions asking the judge to throw out the indictment, alleging that the prosecution improperly withheld evidence from grand jurors. Kohberger’s lawyers also said the jurors were biased and that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to justify the indictment. A document detailing the basis for some of the defense claims was sealed, and the judge closed the hearing on the matter to the public.

Arguments rejected by judge

After reviewing transcripts, recordings and other evidence from the secret grand jury proceedings, Second District Judge John Judge rejected those arguments in a written ruling issued late Friday.

“The grand jury is not a trial jury. Its function is to screen whether or not there is sufficient evidence to proceed to trial,” Judge wrote in documents uploaded to the state court website on Monday. He said the grand jury met that standard and the proceeding was held in accordance with Idaho case law and the state and federal constitutions.

In Idaho, grand jury proceedings are held in secret. Generally, the prosecutor presents evidence to the jurors, who have the power to call and question witnesses and seek other evidence. The grand jurors aren’t required to hear any evidence in favor of the defendant, and neither the defendant nor their attorney has to be informed of the proceeding.

Not all Idaho criminal cases are handled by grand juries. Often, prosecutors choose to utilize a preliminary hearing instead. Preliminary hearings are public, and defense attorneys are given a chance to present their own witnesses and evidence and challenge the case presented by the prosecutor. There are no juries in preliminary hearings — instead, a magistrate judge decides is there is enough evidence to justify the sending the case to district court for trial.

Kohberger was a graduate student studying criminology at Washington State University, which is a short drive from the scene of the killings across the state border. He was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, and the unusual details of the case have drawn widespread interest. Investigators pieced together DNA evidence, cellphone data and surveillance video that they say links Kohberger to the slayings.

KSL 5 TV Live

Courts & Legal

Cache County Clerk David Benson addresses a crowd regarding election law violations. (Mike Anderson...

Mike Anderson

Cache County Clerk addresses office election law violations

Cache County Clerk David Benson answered questions from the media and local voters about findings of numerous election law violations in his office.

2 days ago

FILE: Ballots are counted by Maricopa County Elections Department staff ahead of Tuesdays election ...

Associated Press

Arizona’s new voting laws that require proof of citizenship are not discriminatory, a US judge rules

A U.S. district judge has ruled Arizona legislators did not discriminate when they adopted laws requiring counties to verify the status of registered voters who haven’t provided proof of U.S. citizenship.

2 days ago

A picture of the dead, Provo Police officer Joseph Shinners, that was being used in the courtroom o...

Emily Ashcraft, KSL.com

Attorneys urge jury to consider intent in trial for man accused of murdering Provo officer

The trial for the man accused of murdering Joseph Shinners began Friday. Matt Hoover's attorneys said he meant to shoot himself that fateful day, not Shinners.

2 days ago

Leah Moses...

Annie Knox

Utah lawmakers pass ‘Om’s Law,’ focused on child safety in custody decisions

Utah lawmakers gave final passage to bill requiring judges to consider evidence of domestic violence raised in child custody cases.

2 days ago

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, listens as his attorne...

Farnoush Amiri and Lisa Mascaro, Associated Press

Takeaways from Hunter Biden’s combative deposition with Republican lawmakers

The transcript of the congressional deposition of Hunter Biden has been released. It reveals the contentious testimony that took place Wednesday as Republicans scrambled to advance an impeachment inquiry on the brink of collapse.

2 days ago

Handcuffs...

Alexander Campbell

Second man arrested in Logan child rape sting in a month

A 27-year-old man is behind bars in Cache County after attempting to traffic who he believed was a 9-year-old girl, using the same methods that Logan police used to arrest another person on Feb. 7

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

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.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Man accused of killing 4 university students in Idaho loses bid to have indictment tossed