The suspect in the murder of four University of Idaho college students plans to forego an extradition hearing this week to expedite his return to the Gem State, where he faces four counts of first-degree murder, his lawyers said.
Monroe County, Pennsylvania’s lead public defender Jason LaBalle told CNN on Saturday that Brian Christopher Coberg was “a bit shocked” a day after the 28-year-old was killed in his hometown Arrested in connection with the fatal stabbings of Kelly Gonsalves, 21; Madison Morgan, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20. He also faces a felony burglary charge, according to Latta County, Idaho Attorney Bill Thompson.
On Sunday, Rabar released a statement on behalf of Koberg’s family, saying “no words can adequately express our grief.” It was the first public statement from the family since Koberg’s arrest on Friday.
“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the four families who lost precious children. No words can adequately express our grief and we pray for them every day,” the family wrote in a statement. “We will continue to allow the legal process to unfold and as a family we will love and support our son and brother. We have cooperated fully with law enforcement in an attempt to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence, rather than judge unknown facts and do wrong assumption.”
Rabal did not discuss the murder with the suspect when he spoke with him for about an hour Friday night, the attorney said, adding that he had no probable cause documents related to it and was only representing Coberg in his extradition, Extradition lawyers call it a “form”.
“It’s a matter of procedure and really what the federal government has to show here is that he is similar to the person for whom the warrant was issued or that he was in the area when the crime was committed,” Rabar said.
Abandoning the extradition hearing scheduled for Tuesday was “obviously an easy decision,” Rabar said, “because he does not deny that he is Brian Coberg.”
Rabar emphasized in a statement that his client is presumed innocent until proven guilty, saying: “Mr. Kohberger is eager to be cleared of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as soon as possible.”
The suspect, a doctoral student in Washington State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology, was arrested nearly seven weeks after the victim was found stabbed to death in his off-campus home on Nov. 13, the school confirmed. Since then, investigators say they have conducted more than 300 interviews and scoured about 20,000 tips.
But authorities have not publicly confirmed the suspect’s motive, or whether he knew the victims, whose deaths have shaken the university community and towns around Moscow. Moscow Police Chief James Frye said Friday that the murder weapon was also not found.
In the weeks since the killings, some community members have grown frustrated that investigators have yet to provide a detailed account of what happened that night. Authorities released limited details, including the activities of the victims before the attack and who they ruled out as suspects.
Fry told reporters Friday that state law limits the information authorities can release ahead of Kohberger’s first Idaho court appearance. The probable cause affidavit — which details the factual basis of Kohberger’s allegations — was sealed until the suspect was actually in Latta County and received an Idaho warrant, Thompson said.
Investigators have targeted Koberg as a suspect through DNA evidence and confirmation of his ownership of a white Hyundai Elantra seen near the crime scene, according to two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the investigation. Authorities said he lived just minutes from the scene of the stabbing.
He drove a white Hyundai Elantra off-road and arrived at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania around Christmas, according to law enforcement sources. Sometime during his trip east from Idaho, authorities began tracking him.
An FBI surveillance team followed him for four days before his arrest while law enforcement worked with prosecutors to find enough probable cause to obtain a warrant, two law enforcement sources said.
Another source with knowledge of the case told CNN that genetic genealogy techniques were used to link Kohberger to unidentified DNA evidence. DNA was run through public databases to find potential family match matches, and subsequent investigative work by law enforcement led to his identification as a suspect, sources said.
LaBar confirmed that Kohberger, accompanied by his father, had driven from Idaho to Pennsylvania to celebrate the holiday with his family. Authorities arrested Coberg early Friday after a white Hyundai Elantra was found at his parents’ home, Rabar said.
After Tuesday’s hearing on his intention to drop the extradition, Rabar was unsure how soon his client would be sent back to Idaho, saying it would be up to the authorities. But LaBar expects Kohberger to return to Idaho within 72 hours of the lawsuit.
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