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Judge Denies Idaho Stabbing Suspect’s Request for Dismissal

Murder Suspect Bryan Kohberger Attends Pre-Trial Hearing In Idaho - Credit: Ted S. Warren-Pool/Getty Images
Murder Suspect Bryan Kohberger Attends Pre-Trial Hearing In Idaho – Credit: Ted S. Warren-Pool/Getty Images

A judge has rejected University of Idaho stabbing suspect Bryan Kohberger’s efforts to have the case against him dismissed.

Kohberger was in the courtroom during Thursday’s hearing, where his defense attorney argued for the standard of proof to be raised to a “beyond a reasonable doubt” instead of Idaho’s typical “sufficient probably cause” standard at the grand jury level. His request was shut down by the judge, according to CourtTV.

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The judge said they were following Idaho state law and that changes to the legal system would have to be taken on “with a higher court,” specifically the state’s Supreme Court; the hearing ended shortly after. The judge also put on record that he is not banning cameras from hearings moving forward.

As CourtTV noted, Kohberger returned to court for two separate hearings, both of which were originally scheduled for September, but delayed because of illness. The hearings were centered around separate motions to dismiss, which Kohberger’s attorneys filed over the summer.

The first argued a dismissal was warranted because of grand jury bias, inadmissible and insufficient evidence, and prosecutorial misconduct. However, specifics were unavailable as the full motion — and the state’s response — were sealed.

The second motion claimed prosecutors misled the grand jury about the standard of proof, saying they weren’t properly instructed to find “proof beyond a reasonable doubt” to indict him. The prosecution rebuffed this second claim, arguing the standard of proof in Idaho’s court system is probable cause.

Kohberger is accused of stabbing to death four University of Idaho students at their off-campus apartment on Nov. 13, 2022 (Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20). He was arrested on Dec. 30, 2022 after a six-week investigation — that drew significant, sometimes fraught social media attention — and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary. At his arraignment in May, a not guilty plea was entered on Kohberger’s behalf when he chose to “stand silent.” In June, prosecutors announced that they would be seeking the death penalty in the case.

Beyond the not guilty plea entered on his behalf, Kohberger’s attorney filed a document back in August suggesting her client had an alibi: He was on a long drive.

“Mr. Kohberger is not claiming to be at a specific location at a specific time; at this time there is not a specific witness to say precisely where Mr. Kohberger was at each moment of the hours between late night November 12, 2022, and early morning November 13, 2022,” his attorney Anne Taylor wrote. “He was out, driving during the late night and early morning hours of November 12-13, 2022.”

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