Sunday, May 19

Idaho students’ former roommate breaks silence as judge closes suspect Kohberger’s next hearing

A former roommate of two of the University of Idaho students killed in an ambush attack in November 2022 has broken her silence in a local news interview as she pushes for campus safety for other undergrads around the country.

Suspected killer Bryan Kohberger, who was studying for a Ph.D. in criminology at the neighboring Washington State University, is being held without bail in a jail down the street awaiting trial on murder and burglary charges.

A 4 a.m. home invasion ambush at 1122 King Road, steps off the campus in Moscow, Idaho, claimed the lives of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20 and Ethan Chapin, 20.

Ashlin Couch told the Spokane-based KXLY-TV that she was a close friend of Goncalves and Mogen when she moved into the off-campus party house in 2020. 

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The semester before the slayings, however, she moved out, freeing up the room where Kernodle and Chapin would have been sleeping had they not been ambushed.

She knew something was wrong when the University of Idaho sent out an alert to the campus community the morning of the murders.

“It crosses my mind that that could’ve happened while I was there, and you never know how long someone is watching your house,” she told the station.

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“I couldn’t even walk to my car in the dark for months after,” she said.

Separately, Latah County District Judge John Judge ordered Kohberger’s next hearing on May 14 to be held behind closed doors. 

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After the murders, the landlord donated the six-bedroom rental house to the University of Idaho, which had it demolished in December. 

Prosecutors and the defense are expected to discuss evidence – some of which will probably not be admissible at trial.

“During the hearing, it is anticipated that the parties will discuss specific items of discovery that may or may not be admissible at trial,” Judge wrote. “The disclosure of such evidence to the public at this stage of the case is not appropriate and may prejudice the jury pool.”

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The defense is seeking additional evidence through discovery, including the full surveillance video that allegedly places Kohberger’s white Hyundai Elantra near the crime scene.

Kohberger’s lead defense attorney, Anne Taylor, has accused prosecutors of withholding audio from the version of the surveillance video turned over to her team through discovery.

Kohberger, in an alibi supplied to the court, has claimed he was driving around the mountain roads in the dark at the time of the murders, looking at the moon and stars.

However, police alleged in a probable cause affidavit that they found his DNA on a knife sheath under Mogen’s body. They also traced his movements with phone pings and surveillance video of his car.

Judge entered not guilty pleas on Kohberger’s behalf to four counts of first-degree murder and a felony burglary charge at his arraignment in May 2023.

He could face the death penalty if convicted.

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