BOISE, Idaho — The man accused of the November murder of four University of Idaho students has been extradited to Idaho, where he is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and burglary and was due in court on Thursday.
Bryan Kohberger’s arrival in the state also means sealed documents that could answer key questions in the closely watched case will soon be made public.
Kohberger, a 28-year-old Washington State University doctoral student, was transported by Pennsylvania State Police to a small regional airport near the Idaho border and turned over to local authorities on Wednesday evening . Uniformed law enforcement officers waited on the tarmac for the plane to land, then escorted the handcuffed Kohberger to a five-vehicle trailer for the short trip from Washington across the Idaho border.
He was due to appear in Latah County District Court in Moscow, the university town where the attack occurred, on Thursday.
Release of court documents could shed light on why Latah County District Attorney Bill Thompson charged Kohburger in the Nov. 13 stabbing deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin and answer to key questions about how the authorities built a case against him.
Kohberger was arrested last week at his parents’ home in eastern Pennsylvania and agreed to be extradited to Idaho. His Pennsylvania attorney, Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason LaBar, said Kohberger was eager to be exonerated and described him as “a regular guy.” He said Kohberger would be represented by the chief public defender for Kootenai County in Idaho once in the state.
Police released few details of the investigation and an investigative judge issued a general gag order barring lawyers, law enforcement and other officials from discussing the case.
The nighttime attack on the home near the University of Idaho campus has struck fear in and around Moscow, with authorities appearing puzzled by the brutal stabbings. Investigators appeared to have a breakthrough, however, after searching for a white sedan that was seen at the time of the murders and analyzing DNA evidence collected from the crime scene.
Investigators said they are still looking for a motive and the weapon used in the attack.
The bodies of Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Chapin, 20, of Conway, Wash., were found Nov. 13 in the rental house where the women lived. Kernodle and Chapin were dating and he had visited the house that night.
Latah County prosecutors said they believe Kohberger broke into the victims’ home with intent to commit murder.
Although Moscow police have been tight-lipped about the investigation, authorities last month asked the public for help locating a white sedan that was seen near the crime scene – specifically a 2011 Hyundai Elantra – 2013. Tips poured in, and investigators soon announced they were sifting through a pool of about 20,000 potential vehicles.
Meanwhile, Kohberger apparently stayed in Pullman, Washington, until the end of the semester at WSU. Then he crossed the country to his parents’ house in Pennsylvania, accompanied by his father. They were in a white Elantra.
While driving through Indiana, Kohberger was arrested twice on the same day – first by a Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy and minutes later by an Indiana State Trooper.
Body camera video of the first stop released by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office shows Kohberger behind the wheel and his father in the passenger seat on Dec. 15. Both men told the law enforcement officer they were traveling from WSU before the officer sent them on their way with a warning to follow too closely.
Indiana State Police released body camera footage from the second stop. The agency said at the time, the soldier had no information that would have identified Kohberger as a suspect in the murders. Kohberger again received a warning for following too closely.
Associated Press writers Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Manuel Valdes in Seattle contributed to this story.
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