Kohbergers alibi disputes his location on night of Idaho student killings: Lawyers


(NEW YORK) — Lawyers for Bryan Kohberger — the man accused of stabbing to death four Idaho college students in November 2022 — plan to use analysis of cellphone tower data to show he was not at the home where the killings occurred at the time police believe the crime happened, according to a new court filing.

Kohberger, a one-time Ph.D. student charged in the murders, plans to challenge the prosecutor’s case with expert analysis of cellphone tower data, his lawyers said in a court filing made public Wednesday.

His lawyers argue their analysis shows Kohberger was not only not at the King Road home where four students were found stabbed to death in Nov. 2022 but that he was driving elsewhere.

“Mr. Kohberger was out driving in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2022, as he often did to hike and run and/or see the moon and stars. He drove throughout the area south of Pullman, Washington, west of Moscow, Idaho,” Kohberger’s lead attorney, Anne Taylor, said in the filing.

Prosecutors have alleged that in the early hours of Nov. 13, 2022, Kohberger broke into an off-campus home and stabbed four University of Idaho students to death: Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

Kohberger, who at the time was a criminology Ph.D. student at nearby Washington State University, was indicted in May 2023 and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary. At his arraignment, he declined to offer a plea, so the judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

Kohberger could face the death penalty if convicted.

After Kohberger moved to the area in June 2022, his lawyer said, his “avid” habit as a runner and hiker prompted him to explore his new surroundings — but as the school year got busy, those hikes increasingly became “nighttime drives.” Taylor added that the alibi is “supported by data from Mr. Kohberger’s phone showing him in the countryside late at night and/or in the early morning on several occasions,” including “numerous” pictures from “several different late evenings and early mornings, including in November, depicting the night sky.”

That drive included Wawawai Park, a remote area along Snake River — about 20 miles away from Kohberger’s apartment at the time and roughly 28 miles away from the off-campus home where the killings occurred.

To back up the defense’s alibi claim, Kohberger’s legal team told the court they intend to offer the testimony of their own expert “to show that Bryan Kohberger’s mobile device was south of Pullman, Washington and west of Moscow, Idaho on November 13, 2022; that Bryan Kohberger’s mobile device did not travel east on the Moscow-Pullman Highway in the early morning hours of November 13th,” and thus his “could not” be the car captured on video traveling along the Moscow-Pullman highway near a local cannabis shop.

Further details “as to Mr. Kohberger’s whereabouts as the early morning hours progressed,” including analysis from their expert, “will be provided once the State provides discovery requested,” Taylor wrote in the newly-released court document. “If not disclosed, [Sy Ray, their expert]’s testimony will also reveal that critical exculpatory evidence, further corroborating Mr. Kohberger’s alibi, was either not preserved or has been withheld.”

Wednesday’s filing aligns with previous comments from the defense about Kohberger’s whereabouts the night of the murder — that he was driving around alone that night, which, they have claimed, had long been a habit of his.

After a six-week hunt, police zeroed in on Kohberger as the suspect in the murders of the students, arresting him in December 2022 at his family’s home in Pennsylvania. Investigators have said they relied in part on records from cellphone towers and on surveillance video of a car seen in the area of the King Road house on the night of the killings — part of which, they have said, includes a two-hour timespan in those after midnight hours where Kohberger’s phone “stops reporting to the network, which is consistent with either the phone being in an area without cellular coverage, the connection to the network is disabled (such as putting the phone in airplane mode), or that the phone is turned off.”

A trial date has yet to be set.

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