The suspect in the fatal stabbing of four University of Idaho college students plans to waive extradition at a hearing this week, his attorney said, to expedite his return to Idaho, where he faces four counts of first-degree murder.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger is “shocked a little bit,” Jason LaBar, the chief public defender for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, told CNN on Saturday, a day after the 28-year-old’s arrest in his home state on charges related to the November 13 killing of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20. Kohberger also faces a charge of felony burglary, according to Latah County, Idaho, Prosecutor Bill Thompson.
Kohberger’s family said “there are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel,” according to a statement LaBar released Sunday on their behalf – the family’s first public statement since Kohberger’s arrest Friday.
“First and foremost we care deeply for the four families who have lost their precious children. There are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray each day for them,” the statement read. “We will continue to let the legal process unfold and as a family we will love and support our son and brother. We have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in an attempt to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions.”
LaBar did not discuss the murder case with the suspect when they spoke for about an hour Friday evening, the attorney said, adding he did not have probable cause documents related to it and is only representing Kohberger on the issue of his extradition, which the attorney called a “formality.”
“It’s a procedural issue, and really all the Commonwealth here has to prove is that he resembles or is the person who the arrest warrant is out for and that he was in the area at the time of the crime,” LaBar said.
Waiving extradition at the hearing set for Tuesday was “an easy decision, obviously,” LaBar said, “since he doesn’t contest that he is Bryan Kohberger.”
Kohberger is presumed innocent until proven guilty, LaBar said in a statement, noting, “Mr. Kohberger is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible.”
LaBar expected Kohberger to be returned to Idaho within 72 hours of Tuesday’s hearing, the attorney said.
The arrest of the suspect – a PhD student in Washington State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, the school confirmed – comes nearly seven weeks after the victims were found stabbed to death in an off-campus home. Since then, investigators have scoured some 20,000 tips and conducted more than 300 interviews in the case, they’ve said.
Authorities have yet to publicly confirm the suspect’s motive, or even if he knew the victims, whose deaths rattled the college community and the surrounding town of Moscow. The murder weapon has also not been located, Moscow Police Chief James Fry said Friday.
In the weeks since the killings, some community members have grown frustrated as investigators have yet to offer a thorough narrative of how the night unfolded. Authorities have released limited details, including the victims’ activities leading up to the attacks and people they have ruled out as suspects.