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Attorneys for the man charged in University of Idaho stabbings seek change of venue

Feb 1, 2024, 9:46 AM

FILE: Bryan Kohberger, accused of murder, arrives for a hearing on cameras in the courtroom in Lata...

FILE: Bryan Kohberger, accused of murder, arrives for a hearing on cameras in the courtroom in Latah County District Court on September 13, 2023 in Moscow, Idaho. Kohberger, a former criminology PhD student, was indicted earlier this year in the November 2022 killings of Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, in an off-campus apartment near the University of Idaho. (Photo by Ted S. Warren-Pool/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ted S. Warren-Pool/Getty Images)

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — Attorneys for the man charged with stabbing four University of Idaho students to death in late 2022 are seeking a change of venue, saying he cannot receive a fair trial in the community where the killings occurred.

Anne Taylor, Bryan Kohberger’s lead public defender, this week asked Judge John Judge of Idaho’s 2nd Judicial District in Latah County to schedule a hearing no earlier than the end of April to hear arguments on the potential move, the Idaho Statesman reported.

“A fair and impartial jury cannot be found in Latah County owing to the extensive, inflammatory pretrial publicity, allegations made about Mr. Kohberger to the public by media that will be inadmissible at his trial, the small size of the community, the salacious nature of the alleged crimes, and the severity of the charges Mr. Kohberger faces,” Taylor wrote.

Bryan Kohberger, 29, a former criminal justice student at Washington State University in nearby Pullman, Washington, is charged with four counts of murder in the 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 intend to seek the death penalty if he is convicted.

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson told Judge last week that he opposes a change of venue, stating that Latah County first deserved the chance to seat a jury because the crime occurred there. Moving the trial elsewhere would have no material effect on potential jurors’ familiarity with the case, he said, because it has already gained national and international notoriety.

“It’s not Moscow, it’s not Latah County — it’s everywhere,” Thomson said. “So I don’t think that a change of venue is going to solve any of these problems.”

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Attorneys for the man charged in University of Idaho stabbings seek change of venue