Authorities believe the victims were likely asleep when they suffered multiple stab wounds from a large, military-style knife
The former Washington State University Ph.D. criminology student, 28, is accused of killing University of Idaho students Madison Mogen, 21, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, in an off-campus rental home in Moscow, Idaho, on Nov. 13, 2022.
Kohberger was charged with four counts of murder and one count of felony burglary in connection with the killings after being taken into custody on Dec. 30. Following his indictment by a grand jury in May, a judge reportedly entered not-guilty pleas on his behalf after he exercised his right to remain silent during his arraignment.
Prosecutors intend to seek the death penalty against Kohberger, stating that he allegedly “exhibited utter disregard for human life,” according to a court filing submitted on Monday.
Authorities believe the victims were likely asleep when they suffered multiple stab wounds from a large, military-style knife, CBS News reports.
“The State gives this notice based on the fact that it has not identified or been provided with any mitigating circumstances sufficient to prohibit the triers of fact from considering all penalties authorized by the Idaho legislature including the possibility of a capital sentence,” the filing reads. “Consequently, considering all evidence currently known to the State, the State is compelled to file this notice of intent to seek the death penalty.”
The filing comes after prosecutors claimed earlier in June that a DNA sample taken from Kohberger matched DNA found on the sheath of a knife left at the residence when the alleged incident took place. A probable cause affidavit in January previously alleged that Kohberger was linked to the crime scene by DNA and cell phone pings.
Shortly after he was taken into custody, Kohberger’s family broke their silence in a statement to PEOPLE, sharing, “First and foremost, we care deeply for the four families who have lost their precious children. There are no words that can adequately express the sadness we feel, and we pray each day for them. We will continue to let the legal process unfold and as a family, we will love and support our son and brother.”
“We have fully cooperated with law enforcement agencies in an attempt to seek the truth and promote his presumption of innocence rather than judge unknown facts and make erroneous assumptions,” the statement continued. “We respect privacy in this matter as our family and the families suffering loss can move forward through the legal process.”