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Idaho Killings Suspect Gets Monthslong Delay in Preliminary Hearing

MOSCOW, Idaho — The man accused of murdering four University of Idaho students moved on Thursday to delay a preliminary hearing in the case, postponing until June a decision on whether there is sufficient evidence to hold him for trial on the charges.

During a brief court hearing, Anne Taylor, the public defender representing the suspect, Bryan Kohberger, requested a multiday hearing in which the prosecution would present the full scope of witnesses and other evidence in the case. With no opposition from prosecutors, Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall set the hearing to begin on June 26.

Mr. Kohberger, wearing an orange T-shirt and answering only yes-or-no questions, was returned to custody without bail.

Even as prosecutors and investigators have laid out an array of evidence about Mr. Kohberger, a criminology student at nearby Washington State University, they have yet to detail a motive. Family members of the victims have been looking everywhere for information that might show a connection to Mr. Kohberger, but no clear link has emerged.

“They didn’t know him,” Shanon Gray, a lawyer for the family of one of the victims, Kaylee Goncalves, said in an interview. He said families planned to share any details with investigators about possible links, even those that seemed unlikely.

The killings on Nov. 13 shattered the sense of peace in a college town that had not recorded a murder in years. Four students were found brutally stabbed in bedrooms in a home near campus in the middle of the night, with no suspect emerging for weeks until Mr. Kohberger was arrested at his family’s home in Pennsylvania at the end of December.

The victims — Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20 — had been killed after spending a typical Saturday night around town, with two of them going to a party and two others going to a bar before returning home in the early morning hours. Investigators believe all four were killed shortly after 4 a.m.

In court documents released last week, investigators said they linked Mr. Kohberger to the crime with the help of DNA found on a knife sheath found at the scene. They said surveillance video showed a white car, similar to the one driven by Mr. Kohberger, circling the neighborhood around the home shortly before the time investigators believe the killings occurred.

Mr. Kohberger’s phone was tracked to the neighborhood on several occasions before the killings, and once on the morning after them, but was not connected to cell networks at the time when the deaths are believed to have occurred.

Mr. Kohberger has said through one of his public defenders that he looks forward to being exonerated, but he has not yet entered a formal plea.

He had long taken an interest in studying the psychology of criminals, getting a bachelor’s degree in psychology from DeSales University in 2020 and a master’s degree in criminal justice there in June 2022. He then moved to Washington State University to pursue a Ph.D. in criminology.

Susan C. Beachy and Kirsten Noyes contributed research.

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