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Idaho murder suspect waives right to speedy hearing

Bryan Kohberger will have his preliminary hearing on the morning of June 26.

MOSCOW, Idaho — The man accused of stabbing four University of Idaho students to death waived his right to a speedy preliminary hearing on Thursday morning, which will now take place on June 26 at 9 a.m. PST.

Bryan C. Kohberger, 28, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and felony burglary in the deaths of students Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves. All were found dead in the girls' home at 1122 King Road on Nov. 13.

Some who viewed video of Thursday morning's status hearing commented about cuts or scratches on Kohberger's face -- possibly from shaving. KTVB reached out to Moscow Police, who said they cannot comment because of a court order directing them to not talk about the defendant or other aspects of the case. That order also applies to the Latah County Sheriff's Office and attorneys.

Kohberger has a right for his preliminary hearing to take place 14 days after his first appearance in court, which was Jan. 5. Waiving the hearing now pushes it months out and gives the defense more time for discovery.

Kohberger is not expected to enter a plea until he's arraigned in Second District Court, which would happen if the magistrate judge determines evidence is sufficient for the case to proceed. That would take place after evidence and witness testimony are presented in a probable cause hearing, which will be the preliminary hearing in June. It could last several days, according to a Latah County magistrate judge. 

In this hearing, a magistrate judge will determine if the evidence is sufficient for Kohberger to be bound over to district court for arraignment and possible trial. 

Prosecutors have not yet indicated if they intend to seek the death penalty, as the punishment for four counts of first-degree murder is punishable by life in prison or death. If they do seek the death penalty, prosecutors must file notice within 60 days after Kohberger enters a plea. 

Kohberger's initial court appearance occurred the day after he was flown to Idaho from Pennsylvania, where Kohberger was arrested in late December on a fugitive from justice warrant. Police said in an affidavit they traced Kohberger's white Hyundai Elantra allegedly seen near the scene at the time of the murders, as well as matched DNA from the button of a knife sheath found near Mogen and Goncalves' bodies.

 The judge previously denied bail and ordered him to remain in the Latah County Jail as the case proceeds.


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