Legal, DNA experts weigh in on future of University of Idaho murders case

Jan 4, 2023, 6:47 AM

Photo from KIRO 7...

Photo from KIRO 7

28-year-old Bryan Kohburger, the man accused of killing four University of Idaho students, waived his extradition on Tuesday.

A Pennsylvania judge has ordered Bryan Kohburger to be handed over to the custody of the Latah County District Attorney’s Office within ten days.

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The Latah County Magistrate later issued a nondissemination order, or “gag” order, meaning Moscow Police, investigators, attorneys, or agents of prosecuting attorney or defense attorney are barred from speaking to the public or press on the case.

But with that, there are still plenty of unanswered questions on the case as investigators are still looking for a murder weapon and motive for it all.

Even after Kohburger is back in Idaho, defense attorney John Henry Browne says the process to trial can be a long one.

“I’ve had trials that have lasted or had waited to go to trial for four years or more,” Browne said.

Browne has represented some of the highest-profile cases in history, such as Ted Bundy and Colten Harris Moore, better known as the Barefoot Bandit.

Browne says he’s curious about the motive of it all, given that from his experience, it seems that most mass murderers have some knowledge of the criminal justice system.

But when it comes to the motive, he says it doesn’t have to be proven during the trial.

“But having said that, juries always want to know what the motive could be,” Browne said.

The legal aspect isn’t the only ongoing piece.

CeCe Moore, a genetic genealogist with Parabon Nanolabs, says connecting Kohburger to this crime took time.

“And so, instead of just working with a handful of genetic markers like they do for law enforcement traditionally, we are looking at almost one million genetic markers all across the genome,” Moore said.

Despite that connection, she says DNA evidence only points to leads, not outcomes in court. She believes genetic investigators’ work is far from over.

“They don’t want to base it on just one DNA sample. So, it makes sense that they would go back to the crime scene and make sure they have been thorough and make sure that they have collected anything that could tie him or anyone else to this crime scene,” Moore said.

As for the potential outcome of the trial, if Kohburger is found guilty, Browne believes prosecutors will seek capital punishment, or the death penalty, in this case.

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Legal, DNA experts weigh in on future of University of Idaho murders case