Bryan Kohberger update: Attorney says 'no connection' between defendant, Idaho students killed

As the Bryan Kohberger case continues to develop, the defense is challenging the prosecution's reliance on genetic genealogy

ByJean Casarez and Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN, CNNWire
Sunday, June 25, 2023
More DNA links suspect Bryan Kohberger to Idaho murders: FBI
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More DNA evidence now links Bryan Kohberger to the scene where four University of Idaho students were found stabbed to death near campus in November.

MOSCOW, Idaho -- In a new court filing by an attorney for Bryan Kohberger, the suspect in the stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students last fall, attorney Jay Logsdon argues "there is no connection between Mr. Kohberger and the victims."

"There is no explanation for the total lack of DNA evidence from the victims in Mr. Kohberger's apartment, office, home, or vehicle," the attorney continues.

Kohberger faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary in the Nov. 13 killings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, at a home just outside the university's main campus in Moscow. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf by an Idaho judge at a hearing last month.

The mysterious killings left the community on edge for more than a month before Kohberger was arrested. Officials have yet to offer any motive in the killings. A judge has issued a strict gag order in the case, prohibiting all attorneys - prosecutors, defense lawyers, and those representing victims and witnesses - from saying anything publicly beyond what is already in the public record.

In the new filing, the defense notes, "by December 17, 2022, lab analysts were aware of two additional males' DNA within the house where the deceased were located."

Lab analysts discovered DNA for another unknown man on a glove found outside the residence on Nov. 20, 2022, the filing states.

"To this date, the Defense is unaware of what sort of testing, if any, was conducted on these samples other than the STR DNA profiles," according to the filing.

The filing challenges the prosecution's reliance on investigative genetic genealogy and opposes the government's attempts to keep its methods a secret, CNN reported.

The filing, Objection to State's Motion for Protective Order, is in response to a recent motion by the prosecution that said Kohberger's DNA, collected by a buccal swab, was a "statistical match" to unknown DNA on the knife sheath found at the crime scene.

Kohberger's defense argues they should be entitled to all data relating to that conclusion, including the investigative genetic genealogy used in this case.

SEE ALSO: More DNA links suspect Bryan Kohberger to University of Idaho murders: FBI

Prosecutors disclosed last week in their motion that the FBI went to publicly held DNA sites, similar to online sites like Ancestry.com or 23andMe, with unknown male DNA from the knife sheath and utilized genetic genealogy, "then sent local law enforcement a tip to investigate," Kohberger.

But the prosecution argued that Kohberger has no right to FBI data uncovered from this method.

"The FBI uploaded the SNP (Single Nucleotide Polymorphism) profile to one or more publicly available genetic genealogy services to identify possible family members of the suspect based on shared genetic data," the prosecution said in their motion.

The defense now argues in its motion, "Perhaps unsurprisingly, Mr. Kohberger does not accept that his defense does not need this information."

"The state apparently only wants to prevent Mr. Kohberger from seeing how the investigative genetic genealogy profile was created and how many other people the FBI chose to ignore during their investigation."

The defense ended their argument claiming that prosecutors are refusing to release this information because "somehow people will stop sharing their genetics if they were to realize the government is watching."

The November killings and subsequent lengthy investigation rattled Moscow, a city of 25,000 people that hadn't recorded a murder since 2015.

After weeks of little information and heightened anxiety in the community, Kohberger was arrested at his parents' home in Pennsylvania in late December and identified by authorities as the alleged killer. He has been in police custody since and is being held without bail.

The next hearing in Kohberger's criminal case is set for Tuesday.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.

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