Family of slain University of Idaho student frustrated by the pace of the murder trial

(CNN) – The family of slain University of Idaho student Kaylee Goncalves expressed frustration Thursday over the pace of the murder trial against Bryan Kohberger, the man accused of killing their daughter and three other students.

“This case is turning into a hamster wheel of motions, hearings and deferred decisions,” the Goncalves family said in a statement after the final court hearing in the case. “Can we all agree that this case needs to move forward and that the judge in this case needs to start setting firm deadlines?”

The Idaho judge who oversaw Kohberger’s quadruple murder trial ruled Thursday that an upcoming hearing on certain evidence involving witnesses will be closed to the public.

“I want to see what all the issues are, the arguments from both sides, so I can make a fairer decision. So I’m going to close the hearing. At some point during the hearing we may be able to make some of it public, but I need to dig deeper into it, and you need to figure out exactly what the problem is with each of these issues,” John Judge of the Latah County District Court. said.

Kohberger’s defense had asked for the hearing to be made public, while the prosecution asked for it to be sealed, arguing that “the need to protect privacy and sensitive information and ultimately the rights of the state and the suspect to a fair trial to protect outweighs the right to a fair trial.” public hearing.”

“This hearing should be in the public eye,” said attorney Anne C. Taylor. “For the court to have the prosecutor say that we have to keep this all private for a fair trial is really ignoring the public nature of this case.”

Taylor added that the hearing — and future hearings — should be public “so people can question whether Bryan is innocent. Your Honor, Bryan is innocent and he has an absolute Sixth Amendment right to conduct his hearings in public.”

Kohberger, 29, faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary in the slayings of Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, in a house near the university’s main campus in Moscow. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty.

The hearing is the latest twist in the high-profile case against Kohberger, who is accused of fatally stabbing the four students early on November 13, 2022. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf last May and his attorneys have indicated he plans to present an alibi as part of his defense.

Expert will testify that Bryan Kohberger’s cell phone was outside Moscow the night of the Idaho murders

Under a widespread gag order, prosecutors, defense attorneys and advocates for victims’ families and witnesses are prohibited from saying anything in public beyond what is already in public.

In their statement, the Goncalves family said: “Not every motion requires a hearing. Not every decision has to take a month to decide.”

“Discovery, discovery, discovery! You have what we want… no, I don’t, yes you do… no, I don’t, let’s have another hearing…. Press repeat. This chatter has been going on for seventeen months. Once you get a hearing, you will get a hearing on the decision made at that hearing before the final hearing and another hearing must take place,” the statement said.

“I know our statement sounds like we are incredibly frustrated, and we are!” the statement continued. “We understand the legal system and we want a fair trial for the defendant, but delaying the case serves no one but the defense. Thank you again for all your kindness and prayers for our family!”

Kohberger’s alibi defense was filed last month after the judge repeatedly extended the filing date.

According to his alibi defense, on the night of the murders, Kohberger drove west of Moscow “as he often did to walk and run and/or see the moon and stars.” The defense plans to provide a cell phone tower and a radio frequency expert to partially corroborate this story, the document said.

His public defenders have repeatedly pointed out their client’s alleged tendency to take long drives alone late at night. In a file from August, they wrote about the night of the murders: “Mr. Kohberger does not claim to be at a specific location at a specific time.”

In response, the prosecutor asked the court to deny Kohberger the opportunity to supplement his alibi and prevent anyone other than the suspect from testifying about his whereabouts on the night of the murders.

The state argued that the testimony of the cell tower and the radio frequency expert “does not rise to the level of an alibi.”