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Court Documents: Kohberger says he was 'out driving' the night of University of Idaho murders

A man dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit walks into a courtroom with white walls. A man in a suit follows him and a police officer.
Zach Wilkinson/AP
The Moscow-Pullman Daily News
Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for his arraignment hearing in Latah County District Court, Monday, May 22, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. Kohberger is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022.

New court documents released on April 17 state Bryan Kohberger, the man accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022, was out driving in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2022.

Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were found dead in a home on King Street in Moscow on Nov. 13, 2022. That home has since been demolished.

The court documents say Kohberger moved to Pullman Washington in June 2022, and ran and hiked in many areas, including Wawawai Park. His running and hiking decreased after classes and work started at Washington State University, but his "nighttime drives increased," wrote public defender Anne C. Taylor in the document.

An affidavit was written after the murders by Brett Payne, a corporal with the Moscow Police Department. The affidavit was released to the public in March 2023, after Kohberger was arrested in Pennsylvania and brought back to Idaho.

The document had many details, including information from the two surviving roommates in the home, DNA evidence from a knife sheath located near one of the victims bodies, and cell phone data and video footage.

The court document from April 2024 states there is data from Kohberger's phone that shows him in the countryside "late at night and/or in the early morning on several occasions." Taylor goes on to write the phone data includes photos taken on different evening and early mornings, including in November, showing the night sky.

According to the affidavit, camera footage showed a white sedan, believed to be Kohberger’s, traveling west on Indian Hills Drive in Moscow at around 3:26 a.m. and west on Styner Ave. on Idaho State Highway 95 in Moscow at around 3:28 a.m on Nov. 13, 2022.

The forensic examiner initially believed the vehicle to be a 2011-2013 Hyundai Elantra, but upon further review, it was indicated it could also be a 2011-2016 Hyundai Elantra. In this video, police say it appeared the vehicle did not have a front license plate.

A review of more footage from multiple videos showed several sightings of the Elantra starting at 3:29 a.m. and ending at 4:20 a.m. The videos show the vehicle making three initial passes, then entering the area a fourth time at around 4:04 a.m. The Elantra is next seen leaving the area of the King Road residence at around 4:20 a.m. at a high rate of speed, according to the affidavit.

Taylor wrote in the recent court document that Kohberger was out driving in the early morning hours of Nov, 13, 2022, throughout the area south of Pullman and west of Moscow, including Wawawai Park.

The document says Kohberger plans on offering testimony from Sy Ray, a cell tower, cell phone and other radio frequency expert as a "partial corroboration." This testimony will show that Kohberger's cell phone did not travel east on the Moscow-Pullman Highway in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, and thus could not be the vehicle captured on video along the Moscow-Pullman highway near Floyd’s Cannabis shop."

Police obtained a search warrant for historical phone records for the number Kohberger gave police after a previous traffic stop before the students were killed.

According to the affidavit, that phone number stopped reporting to the network at 2:47 a.m. the morning of the murders, consistent with the phone being in an area without coverage, the connection is disabled (like putting the phone in airplane mode) or the phone is turned off. The number doesn’t report to the network again until approximately 4:48 a.m.

"Additional information as to Mr. Kohberger’s whereabouts as the early morning hours progressed, including additional analysis by Mr. Ray will be provided once the State provides discovery requested and now subject to an upcoming Motion to Compel. If not disclosed, Mr. Ray’s testimony will also reveal that critical exculpatory evidence, further corroborating Mr. Kohberger’s alibi, was either not preserved or has been withheld," wrote Taylor in the court document.

A court date has not been set for the trial. Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson asked the court after the King Road home was demolished to schedule a jury trial in the summer, to avoid disrupting the school year. In his filing, Thompson wrote he expects the trial could take around six weeks.

Find Katie Kloppenburg on Twitter: @KatieKloppen

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