Idaho murders: Suspect Bryan Kohberger's lawyers question absence of audio in modified evidence and demand next hearing to be public

Idaho murders: Suspect Bryan Kohberger's lawyers question absence of audio in modified evidence and demand next hearing to be public
Bryan Kohberger arrives in the courtroom for a motion hearing regarding a gag order in Latah County District Court (Zach Wilkinson-Pool/Getty Images)

LATAH COUNTY, IDAHO: Bryan Kohberger, a PhD candidate in criminology who has been accused of brutally killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022, was back in court on Thursday, May 2, when his defense attorneys claimed the prosecution had turned over important evidence in discovery, but only in a modified form.

In the discovery process, the defense is seeking additional evidence, including the full surveillance video that allegedly depicts Kohberger's white Hyundai Elantra near the crime scene.

Prosecution accuses the defense of delaying a public discovery hearing

Anne Taylor, the lead defense attorney for Bryan Kohberger and the public defender for Kootenai County, stated, "The public needs to know that they've withheld the audio."

The assertion was made as Kohberger's team is fighting the prosecution's request for a closed-door discovery hearing, hoping to hold the next one in public, Fox News reported.

On the other hand, the prosecution contended that all of the material pertaining to the discovery hearing has been and will likely remain sealed.

Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a hearing at the Latah County Courthouse on June 27, 2023 in Moscow, Idaho. Kohberger is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022.
Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a hearing at the Latah County Courthouse (Getty Images)

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Ashley Jennings told Judge John Judge during the Thursday hearing, "This is entirely inconsistent."

"The defendant will get his day in court, and the public will have a right to see what evidence the state has," Jennings said. "Now is not the time for that."

Furthermore, Latah County Prosecuting Attorney Bill Thompson called the defense's accusations that prosecutors were delaying discovery "utter nonsense."

Taylor charged that the prosecution was attempting to manipulate public opinion about the case by maintaining the evidence "in a vacuum."

"Bryan's the one with the right," Taylor argued. "It's his Sixth Amendment right to a public hearing."

MOSCOW, IDAHO - MAY 22: Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for his arraignment hearing in Latah County District Court, May 22, 2023 in Moscow, Idaho. Kohberger is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022.
(Photo by Zach Wilkinson-Pool/Getty Images)
Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for his arraignment hearing in Latah County District Court, May 22, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho (Zach Wilkinson-Pool/Getty Images)

The judge did not seem to find her argument persuasive. "I totally understand that Mr Kohberger has a constitutional right to a public trial, but having a hearing is not a trial," he said. "It's something different."

He indicated that after a closed-door hearing, he might be more willing to release information. Later, when things became heated in the hearing, he criticized both sides, telling them to "tone it down" and stop making personal jabs at each other. 

According to David Gelman, a defense lawyer and former prosecutor based in New Jersey, the legal posturing may be a calculated move to support the defense team's effort to have the trial moved from Latah County, where the murders occurred, to a larger jurisdiction with a larger jury pool.

(Kaylee Goncalves/Instagram)
Madison Mogen, top left, smiles on the shoulders of her best friend, Kaylee Goncalves, as they pose with Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, and two other housemates in Goncalves' final Instagram post, shared the day before the four students were stabbed to death (@kayleegoncalves/Instagram)

He stated that he agreed with Taylor that the edited video that purports to link Bryan Kohberger's car to the crime scene should not have been turned over by the prosecutors.

"They are trying to make the prosecutor out to be hiding evidence and going after an innocent guy," he told Fox News Digital. "They will say things in an open court that are off the wall probably but if the public sees it, that could help either move the case due to publicity or poison the potential jury."

Charges against Byran Kohberger

Kohberger is facing four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary in connection with the massacre that took place on November 13, 2022, at an off-campus residence near the University of Idaho.

The victims of the stabbing were Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20.

Ethan Chapin, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Madison Mogen, 21, were murdered on November 13 (Instagram)
Ethan Chapin, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Madison Mogen, 21, were murdered on November 13 (Instagram)

Court records state that under Mogen's body, police discovered a Ka-Bar knife sheath containing Kohberger's DNA. They also used surveillance footage of his car and phone pings to track his movements. 

Taylor contended that the prosecution's evidence is strong, that there isn't much potentially incriminating material that has surfaced in court, and that both parties consented to a restricted gag order on the matter, which they have utilized to dodge press inquiries.

During his arraignment in May 2023, Kohberger entered not-guilty pleas to all counts on behalf of the judge. 

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