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Bryan Kohberger Charged with Four Counts of Murder and One Count of Felony Burglary


Bryan Kohberger, 28, was arrested and charged with four counts of murder and one count of felony burglary for the tragic deaths of four University of Idaho students.

On December 30th, seven weeks after the deaths of four University of Idaho students, suspect Bryan Kohberger was arrested in Pennsylvania for the murders of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

Kohberger, 28, was charged with four counts of murder and one count of felony burglary. On Jan. 3 he appeared in a Pennsylvania courtroom and waived his extradition to Idaho – meaning he voluntarily agreed to return there to face his charges. On Jan. 4 he was transported back to Idaho for processing.

Suspect in U of I Killings Allegedly Researched What It Was Like to Commit Crimes, Studied Criminology

Goncalves, Mogen, Kernodle and Chapin (20 years old) were fatally stabbed on November 13 in an off-campus rental home in Moscow, Idaho. Ethan wasn’t staying there but was staying overnight with girlfriend Kernodle; two more roommates at 1122 King Road residence Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were home unharmed; early in the investigation these surviving roommates were ruled out as potential suspects.

Though initially believed Mortensen and Funke both slept through the attack, a probable cause affidavit released on Jan. 5 after Kohberger returned to Idaho revealed one of the surviving roommates saw the killer: she described “a figure clad in black clothing and wearing a mask” walking past her as he left the crime scene, as well as hearing crying on the night of his murders.

A police affidavit also claimed that Kohberger was connected to the crime scene through DNA evidence and cell phone pings.

Some who knew Kohberger were taken aback by the allegations, while others expressed less surprise.

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On Monday, Jan. 2, Kohberger’s family broke their silence and issued a statement to PEOPLE saying, “Our hearts go out to the four families who have lost their precious children. Words cannot express how deeply we grieve for them – we pray each day for them. We will continue to wait patiently as the legal process plays out and as a family we will always love and support our son and brother.”

“We have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in an effort to uncover the truth and uphold his presumption of innocence,” read a statement from their office. “Rather than judge unknown facts or make inaccurate assumptions,” they continued, “we respect privacy so our family and those who have suffered loss can move forward through the legal process.”

Reaction of Idaho Murder Victims’ Families to Arrest of Suspect: ‘Such a Blessing and Relief’

On the same day that Kohberger was arrested, families of the victims expressed relief. This occurred coincidentally with a planned memorial for best friends Mogen and Goncalves.

Jessie Frost, a family friend of Mogen’s, told PEOPLE, “It was truly miraculous they caught him the night before their memorial — such a blessing and relief for everyone.” On that day, Frost added, “it brought some much needed peace into our lives.”

“One of the reasons we waited to hold a memorial,” Frost noted, noting that Kaylee’s parents had hoped an arrest would be made before the celebration took place.

Here’s what we know so far about Bryan Kohberger

Kohberger expressed his shock and disbelief at the allegations made against him.

Jason LaBar, the public defender for Monroe County in Pennsylvania, told CNN that Kohberger appeared “shocked a little bit” by the allegations.

LaBar, who represented Kohberger during extradition procedures but will not represent him in his criminal case, informed The Washington Post that Kohberger may waive his right to an extradition hearing in an effort to move closer towards exoneration.

LaBar noted, “He expressed a willingness to waive because he desires to be exonerated.” Whether that means he’s innocent or not, LaBar noted, it is implicit in his words that he wishes for exoneration – though he didn’t use the term ‘innocent.'”

Kohberger may have been bullied, but some even suggest he was the bully himself.

At least one individual who knew Kohberger when they were young remembered him as quiet but friendly, and that he had been bullied by peers due to his size.

“He was bullied a lot,” Sarah Healy, who attended elementary, middle and high school with Kohberger in Pleasant Valley, Pa., told PEOPLE. “It started because of his weight – mostly by females,” she added. “He was quite large.” Kohberger had an introverted personality – always quiet and to himself; he would get into books; it made for some interesting conversations between classmates.” Despite this setback, Kohberger still managed to remain sweet despite all the bullying that ensued throughout school days

Others who knew Kohberger did not recall him being bullied at all.

Casey Arntz, two years ahead of Kohberger in high school at Pleasant Valley, said she couldn’t recall him ever being bullied and that while Kohberger was always kind to her, he actually bullied her brother at times.

“I knew Bryan had anger issues and would sometimes have outbursts of it, but I never saw them face to face. My brother said when Bryan got angry with him, he would kind of gaslight him and get physical,” Casey, 28 told PEOPLE. “Bryan never got physical with my brother; however he would often smash things or punch a wall for no apparent reason.”

Casey noted, “I never witnessed [Kohberger being bullied]. He was two years behind me. However, now it seems some people are saying he accepted apology from those who bullied him when he lost weight – yet other people claim he continued the bullying right back.”

Thomas Arntz, 26, told The New York Times his friendship with Casey Kohberger had come to an end after what began as playful “ribbing and jabbing” turned into “meanspirited” bullying – including Kohberger allegedly placing Thomas in a headlock.

Thomas lamented, “Eventually it just got so bad that I just shut down when around him.” Ultimately, Thomas had no choice but to part ways with him.

An anonymous college classmate of Kohberger’s recalled him frequently taking contrarian views in classes and engaging in heated arguments with other doctorate students, according to The New York Times. This classmate said Kohberger seemed more disagreeable towards women; one incident led to a female doctoral student storming out after accusing Kohberger of “mansplaining”.

He allegedly began using heroin as a teenager

Many of Kohberger’s classmates from his teens recall him using heroin, with some alleging he even sold it to others before entering rehab in 2013. Lee Mack, a graduate of Pleasant Valley High School who met Kohberger at a party, told PEOPLE she became friends with him over time.

“Nothing about Bryan ever raised red flags that I was aware of,” she said, noting that Kohberger briefly joined her friend group but the two eventually parted ways after Kohberger allegedly offered another friend heroin.

“He offered my best friend heroin,” Mack recalled, and it turned out he was more troubled than we anticipated. As such, they had to part ways. Two years after graduating though, Kohberger reached out again; telling her “Hey… I’m getting clean. I want to do something really positive for myself and others.”

Kohberger holds a degree in psychology

Kohberger earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from a local community college near his eastern Pennsylvania hometown, The New York Times reported.

Jack Baylis, who befriended Kohberger in eighth grade, told PEOPLE that as a teenager Kohberger had an intense interest in psychology.

“He is truly inquisitive,” Baylis gushed. “He’s probably one of the most curious people you’ll ever meet – guaranteed!” He was especially interested in psychology and how people thought, always having an open mind to new information. Baylis had always had a keen interest in such matters.

“If you’re ever curious to understand why people act a certain way – why men…blah blah?’ Or women…blah blah’, Baylis could get very deep into those kinds of questions and investigate differences in thought processes,” she noted.

Baylis, who last saw Kohberger in 2021 when they shot airsoft guns together, described his struggle to reconcile the idea that his childhood friend is accused of killing four young adults.

“He’s always been kind and friendly to me,” Baylis said. “Never seemed like a bad guy to me.” She added, “I hope he is innocent – or that it wasn’t anyone else – because having your friend accused of murder would be unbearable.” Baylis expressed her hope that her friend won’t face the consequences; after all, “murder can be no fun!”

He holds a master’s degree in criminal justice from DeSales University

DeSales University announced in a statement that Kohberger was an alumni. According to their website, he earned his bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed his graduate studies by June 2022, earning a master’s in criminal justice.

“We are heartbroken by this senseless tragedy and understand the potential effects on our community’s wellbeing. DeSales University has responded by expanding counseling services for students, faculty, and staff,” read a statement from the university.

“As members of the Catholic, Salesian community, we express our deepest sympathies and prayers to the friends and family members of those affected by these tragic events.”

While attending DeSales University, Kohberger posted on Reddit an appeal for ex-convicts to participate in what he claimed was a study sanctioned by the university on how “emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing crimes.”

Brittany Slaven, one of Kohberger’s classmates at DeSales University, told The New York Times that while he seemed quite interested in serial killers and developing theories based on photos presented to class, his behavior didn’t raise any red flags for her at the time. “At that time it seemed as if he was just an inquisitive student so even if his questions seemed odd we didn’t think much of it because it fit within our curriculum,” she explained.

Casey Arntz recalled Kohberger being interested in criminal justice while still in high school, but she believed his addiction hindered his plans to attend college to study this field.

“He showed a keen interest in criminal justice back then,” she remarked. “I’ve since heard from former friends and acquaintances as well as teachers that he always had an affinity for this field; he loved crime movies, TV shows, books and everything related to it.”

He interviewed for a job with the local police force

On April 2022, Kohberger interviewed for a job as a graduate research assistant at the Pullman, Washington police department.

According to email correspondence obtained by The New York Times, Kohberger sent a note with the subject line “Thank you” following his interview with Police Chief Gary Jenkins.

“Chief Jenkins, It was an honor to meet with you today and share my enthusiasm about the research assistantship for public safety with you. I look forward to hearing from you,” he wrote.

Jenkins replied, “It was wonderful meeting and talking with you!”

Months before his murders, a local bar issued a warning to Kohberger

At least six months prior, Jordan Serulneck, owner of Seven Sirens Brewing Company in Bethlehem, Pa., warned Kohberger against engaging with women working and frequenting a bar there.

Serulneck explained that bar staff scan IDs of all patrons and can add notes to their internal system. “Staff might put in there, ‘Hey, this guy makes creepy comments – keep an eye on him. He’ll have two or three beers and then just get too comfortable,” Serulneck recalled.

The brewery owner reported that Kohberger would often sit alone at the bar “observing and watching” other patrons, asking female staff and customers questions about their lives and who else was there with them. Serulneck claimed if women weren’t interested in talking, Kohberger “would get annoyed with them a little bit,” calling a female staffer a “b–” when she wouldn’t answer his questions.

Serulneck recounted his final interaction with Kohberger as follows: “When I went up to him, I said ‘Hey Bryan, welcome back. We appreciate you coming back…. Just wanted to have a quick chat this time and make sure there wouldn’t be any issues.'” Kohberger appeared surprised at Serulneck’s remarks and told the owner “‘I don’t understand what you’re talking about – you totally have me confused'”. According to Serulneck, Kohberger never returned to the bar after that conversation ended.

Kohberger was currently working towards his Ph.D. in criminology at Washington State University.

At the time of the murders, Kohberger was a Ph.D student in criminology at Washington State University in Pullman, Washington – approximately eight miles from where four University of Idaho students were tragically slain. Following their tragedy, the Washington State University Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology removed its graduate student directory from its website and replaced it with a statement offering condolences to both victims’ families.

“We took down the webpage containing graduate student listings and contact info from CJC department to protect their privacy,” reads a statement in part. “We offer our deepest sympathies to the families of those affected by this senseless act, and remain committed to seeking justice for all involved.”

BK Norton, a classmate of Kohberger at Washington State University who took the same courses as him last semester, described him to PEOPLE as an “intelligent but quiet” individual.

Norton noted that Kohberger seemed to be “more of a loner in the program,” and claimed he made disparaging remarks about LGBTQ+ individuals and groups.

“I didn’t socialize with him because he’d made anti-LGBTQ comments and I am a queer Individual,” Norton told PEOPLE. If indeed Kohberger committed the crimes, Norton speculated, “As a criminology student, I’m sure he knew what charges would be brought against him.”

Norton reported that Kohberger generally kept to himself, though some students did meet with him after the murders. At first he seemed quiet and stared a lot; however, after those events, it appeared as if he was more willing to engage in conversation.”

He served as a teaching assistant at Washington State University

Joey Famularo had Kohberger as a teaching assistant in one of her classes at Washington State and previously spoke about their relationship on TikTok. She remembered Kohberger as an unruly student early in the semester, but that his behavior changed after November 12th 2022 when two murders took place.

She noted that there were no obvious warning signs about Kohberger when her class of 150 students first encountered him, but that “after November 12th his behavior drastically changed.” Famularo mentioned that in October he had failed all his students on a test and left several comments on their work.

“About November and December,” she reported, “he started giving out 100s without leaving many comments – that was probably the biggest behavior change.”

Kohberger was stopped twice while out driving before his arrest

After Kohberger was arrested, body camera footage revealed he was pulled over twice in one day while on a cross-country road trip from Washington to Pennsylvania with his dad. Kohberger was driving a white Hyundai Elantra — the same vehicle authorities are searching for in connection with the case — and both times was stopped for following another vehicle too closely. Both times, he was given verbal warnings but eventually released with permission to continue on. Following Kohberger’s arrest, authorities confiscated the car from his family home.

“At the time of our traffic stop,” according to a statement obtained by multiple outlets, there was no information available on a suspect for crimes in Idaho – including any identifying details or specifics related to the license plate state or number of the white Hyundai Elantra reported in the media as having been seen nearby where the crimes took place,” according to Hancock County Sheriff’s Office.

His DNA was also recovered on the sheath of a knife left at the crime scene.

According to an affidavit reviewed by PEOPLE, a sheath of the knife used in the murders was left at the scene in bed where Mogen and Goncalves were discovered. Detectives determined this is where they discovered DNA linking Kohberger which they then matched up with trash taken from his parents’ home in Pennsylvania.

On the night of the killing, an affidavit stated that around 4:20 a.m., a white sedan identified as “Suspect Vehicle 1” was seen leaving the area around the home at an undetermined speed. Additionally, it stated that both Kohberger’s car and phone returned to the scene between 9:12 a.m. and 9:21 a.m.

Additionally, the affidavit asserted that while investigating past cellphone pings, authorities discovered the cell phone associated with Kohberger had pinged in and around 1122 King Road home where the killings occurred at least twelve times before November 13th 2022.

“All of these events, except for one,” the affidavit read, “occurred in the late evening and early morning hours on their respective days.”

At his extradition hearing, he spoke about the murdered students.

Kohberger has largely kept quiet since being charged, though a police source involved in the process told PEOPLE he spoke to officers while being extradited.

“He seemed really nervous,” the source reported. “He was narrating to himself everything that was happening and at one point said something to himself like ‘I’m fine, this is okay’ as if to reassure himself this wasn’t too bad.”

Kohberger didn’t speak directly to officers about the case, but a police source reported he did make an offhand comment about it. “He said it was really sad what happened,” the source reported. “But he didn’t say anything more – he’s smarter than that!” Kohberger was read his Miranda rights during arrest and cannot be questioned about the case without legal counsel present.

Kohberger stalked all three female victims on Instagram — and messaged each one individually.

Authorities have yet to ascertain if the victims knew Kohberger, though his now-deleted Instagram account — which PEOPLE reviewed before being deleted–followed that of Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle. None of them followed him back.

Two weeks before the students died, Kohberger sent several messages to one of the victims on Instagram, according to an investigator familiar with the case.

Authorities believe Kohberger sent a greeting to a female victim in late October via his account, but when she didn’t respond he sent several more messages in an effort to gain her trust.

“He repeatedly entered one of the girls’ Direct Messages without her responding,” a source revealed to PEOPLE. “Essentially, it was just him asking how she was doing, but it happened multiple times.”

According to the source, the victim may not have ever seen the messages since they were saved in her message request folder on Instagram.

According to the source, there was no sign that he was getting frustrated with her lack of response. Nevertheless, he remained persistent.

Kohberger is believed to have visited Mad Greek restaurant in Moscow — where both Mogen and Kernodle worked as servers — several times before his killings. A former employee reported him coming in at least twice for vegan pizza; however, it’s unknown whether either woman ever served him or they ever interacted.

He visited the Idaho student union before the murders

In February, three different University of Idaho students reported to PEOPLE they believed Kohberger had visited the Student Union building on campus during the weeks preceding his murders.

Chelsea, a sophomore at the University of Idaho, remembered that it was early in the semester when her brother appeared at the Student Union food court drinking water and sitting by himself. “He seemed pretty bored,” Chelsea related.

“He was the type to stare,” she remembered. “If you caught him staring, he wouldn’t turn away; like he wanted you to notice him looking at you. He never smiled or nodded or said anything; just stared.”

Another student informed PEOPLE that Kohberger visited so often at her school that she assumed he was a student there.

“Not only is my school a small town, but you start seeing the same faces over and over again. They become familiar – like knowing you’ve seen them in class or around campus. He definitely made an impression; he was quiet but intense, staring directly into my eyes – which made me uncomfortable.”

He allegedly had photos of a victim on his phone

According to a source familiar with the investigation, Kohberger had photos of one of the female victims on his phone. They did not specify whether these images were taken by Kohberger or pulled from social media platforms.

According to the source, “He had more than one picture of her.” It was evident that he was paying attention to her.”

In March 2023, an unsealed search warrant revealed items taken from Kohberger’s parents’ home after he was arrested.

Items included two knives, a Glock handgun with three empty magazines, black face masks, black gloves, a black hat, “green leafy substance in plastic bag,” and “book with underlining on page 118”.