Prosecutor: Kohberger alibi not specific enough

Apr. 30—The prosecutor in the Bryan Kohberger case says the murder suspect's alibi is not specific enough to serve as a proper alibi defense.

Attorney Anne Taylor filed Kohberger's alibi with Latah County District Court on April 17. In it, Taylor claimed that cellphone data showed Kohberger was driving the morning four University of Idaho students were murdered in November 2022, but he was not near the Moscow crime scene.

In the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2022, when victims Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were killed in their King Road house, Taylor claims Kohberger was driving throughout the area south of Pullman and west of Moscow. This includes Wawawai Park, which she says was his favorite hiking destination.

The defense plans to offer testimony from Sy Ray, an expert who can explain how Kohberger's mobile device shows his vehicle did not travel to Moscow on Nov. 13, 2022.

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson argued in a motion filed Friday that Idaho code requires an alibi defense to state a specific place or places at which the defendant claims to have been during the murders.

Thompson said this new alibi defense adds little to what the prosecution already knows from the investigation into Kohberger.

"With the exception of the reference to Wawawai Park (which is new), the defendant is offering nothing new to his initial 'alibi' that he was simply driving around during the morning hours of November 13, 2022," Thompson wrote.

Thompson also pointed out that Kohberger's cellphone stopped reporting to the cellular network before the homicides happened and continued to not report until after the homicides.

"The location of Defendant's cellphone at times other than the time of the homicides is not proof of or relevant to the Defendant's specific location at the time of the homicides (approximately 4:00-4:30 a.m. on November 13, 2022)," Thompson wrote.

Kohberger submitted an alibi defense last year that was similar to this one, with the exception of the Wawawai Park information. He was given time to submit another alibi after his scheduled trial was postponed last year.

Thompson argued Kohberger has been given more time to submit an alibi than he is legally entitled.

"The State is substantially prejudiced and compromised in its ability to investigate and respond to new or additional alibi-related disclosures," Thompson wrote.

That is why Thompson is asking Latah County District Judge John Judge to deny Kohberger more opportunity to add to his alibi. He also asked Judge to prohibit anyone other than Kohberger to testify about this alibi.

The two sides in the case are also debating whether a coming hearing should be public or not.

Deputy Prosecutor Ashley Jennings filed a motion April 23 asking Judge to have a closed-door May 14 hearing regarding the defense's request for more evidence from the state.

She argued it is necessary to keep the hearing private to protect a fair trial in the case. But Taylor objected to this in another motion and argued that a closed hearing is a violation of Kohberger's right to a public trial.

Taylor claimed the prosecution and the FBI are attempting to hide how evidence is being withheld in the case. She said the information sought by Kohberger "does not meet the narrow scope of what the State can shield from public view."

The two sides will discuss the prosecution's request to close the May 14 hearing during a public 10 a.m. hearing Thursday in Latah County District Court.

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