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Suspect in Idaho killings appears in PA court today

MonroeCountyCourthouse.jpg
Tom Riese
/
WVIA News
Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg

A suspect in the November slayings of four University of Idaho college students did not fight his extradition from Pennsylvania to Idaho.

Bryan C. Kohberger voluntarily surrendered to the Latah County Idaho prosecutor just after 3:30 p.m. today.

He appeared in a Stroudsburg courtroom, shackled and wearing a red prison uniform. Monroe County Chief Public Defender, Attorney Jason LaBar, was at his side in the packed courtroom. Pennsylvania State Police arrested Kohberger Friday at his parents home in Chestnuthill Twp.

He gave one to three word responses to the judge, who asked if he understood that he was waiving his rights, replying yes; and if he was coerced to do so, replying no. When asked if he suffered from mental health issues or a diagnosis that would affect that decision, he said no.

Kohberger is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary. He was being held in Monroe County prison awaiting the hearing today.

The 28-year-old is a Ph.D. student in criminology and criminal justice at Washington State University, around 10 miles from the crime scene. Kohberger graduated from Pleasant Valley High School graduate and attended Northampton Community College. His home address is listed as in Albrightsville in court documents.

Pennsylvania State Police held a press conference shortly after Kohberger's hearing in Stroudsburg. Major Christopher Paris, Area III Commander of State Police, said three warrants were issued for Kohberger — one for him, one for his car and one for his parents home.

Paris said arrangements are currently being made to get Kohberger back to Idaho.

Monroe County First Assistant District Attorney Mike Mancuso said during the press conference he believes one of the main reasons Kohberger waived his extradition hearing was because he needs to know what is in his arrest documents.

An Idaho law bans the release of information from probable cause affidavits unless the suspect is in the state, said Mancuso. Authorities in Idaho said they would not share more details on the investigation until Kohberger is in their custody.

Kohberger was taken from his parents home without incident. Pennsylvania State Police are also ready to continue assisting in the investigation if needed, Paris said.

Mancuso gave condolences to families of the four victims: Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

"I hope this marks a clear step in the right direction in effectuating justice for those folks," he said.

Tom Riese is a multimedia reporter and the local host for NPR's Morning Edition. He comes to NEPA by way of Philadelphia. He is a York County native who studied journalism at Temple University.
Kat Bolus is the community reporter for the newly-formed WVIA News Team. She is a former reporter and columnist at The Times-Tribune, a Scrantonian and cat mom.