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Idaho murder suspect case not slam dunk, as legal scholars warn prosecutors do not have sure case

Bryan Kohberger no connection to victims and murder motive
Bryan Kohberger no connection to victims and murder motive. Pictured the four University of Idaho students alleged to have been stabbed to death at the hands of the PhD suspect.
Bryan Kohberger murder case
Bryan Kohberger murder case not a slam dunk legal scholars warn. Pictured University of Idaho students stabbed to death at their Moscow, Idaho off campus residence on November 13.

Bryan Kohberger case not a sure thing legal scholars warn as prosecutors have yet to establish murder motive, located the murder weapon or the fact that the DNA found at the scene could’ve been brought there by someone else as prosecutors explore whether to seek death penalty. 

Legal experts have warned that the case against alleged Idaho killer Bryan Kohberger isn’t a ‘slam dunk’ – despite the breakthrough of authorities discovering the accused killer’s DNA at the scene.

Kohberger, 28, was arrested on December 30 after weeks of painstaking investigation by police in Moscow, Idaho, and the FBI.

His DNA was discovered on the button of a knife sheath which was left at the scene of the crime next to the bodies of Kaylee Goncalves and Maddie Mogan.

A report via the dailymail cited former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani saying that those defending Kohberger will not present an insanity defense because of his history as a ‘scholar.’

Said the trial lawyer: ‘The murder case against Bryan Kohberger is not a slam dunk. Kohberger’s attorney will most likely argue that he didn’t do it, rather than present an insanity defense.

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No murder motive and no murder weapon

‘He was accomplished enough as a scholar to become a Ph.D. student and he showed no indication of mental illness before the stabbings, so there would be little justification for his defense to argue he is incompetent to stand trial.

‘The authorities have Kohberger’s DNA on the knife sheath, but DNA evidence can be transferred from one person to another onto an object so that evidence is not open and shut for a conviction.

‘Prosecutors don’t have the murder weapon, they have a pretty vague description of the suspect from an eyewitness, and they lack a clear-cut motive.

‘If I was the D.A., I would certainly like a lot more than the evidence that has come out so far, especially if prosecutors are going to pursue the death penalty.’

It comes after the family of one victim, Kaylee Goncalves, say that they would support the death penalty in the case against Kohberger.

Her father Steve said that his vision of ‘justice’ is not to ‘be in a prison cell’, with her mother adding that she ‘wished Kaylee and Maddie were serving a life sentence’ because it would mean they could talk to them.

Rahmani added: ‘Prosecutors will continue to build the case, so I don’t think they will take the death penalty off the table.

Plea deal unlikely 

‘It will be hard for Kohberger’s defense to reach any workable deal with prosecutors, so this case will most likely head to trial.’

Former Los Angeles County prosecutor Joshua Ritter, who is a partner with El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, believes that the DNA and other corroborating evidence is a ‘very strong case’ against the alleged killer.

He said: ‘I can’t imagine this being a case where prosecutors don’t seriously consider the death penalty. 

‘In that scenario, the only way Kohberger would accept a plea deal would be if prosecutors take the death penalty off the table. But it’s a little early to talk about plea deals at this point.

‘This is one of those watershed cases where you have four young, good-looking, completely innocent victims in a small community who were horrifically stabbed to death.

‘If this had taken place in a huge metropolis like Los Angeles or New York it still would have received attention, but the fact that this took place in a small community seems to have added to the intrigue surrounding the murders.’

Compelling case against suspect? 

Kohberger previously insisted that he would be ‘exonerated’ by his lawyer in Pennsylvania.

It comes as law enforcement sources say the alleged killer was seen taking out garbage using surgical gloves several times at his parents home.

The officers were tasked with tracking Kohberger so they could arrest him as soon as a warrant was issued as well as trying to get hold of an object to compare DNA to a sample found at the scene.

He was also seen cleaning the inside and outside of his car, with the source adding that he didn’t ‘miss an inch’.

Kohberger was also reportedly seen taking out the trash to his neighbour’s bins at around 4am – with the contents being recovered by offices.

DNA from the scene matched the DNA found on the sheath to Kohberger’s by comparing it to his father’s DNA – which was a 99.9998 percent match.

The white Hyundai Elantra is one of the things that helped cops track down the alleged killer, as well as obtaining his phone records.

He yesterday appeared in court charged with the four murders as well as a felony burglary after being extradited to Idaho.

The criminal justice graduate only spoke to confirm his name and that he had representation during a hearing in Moscow, Idaho, on Thursday.

A timeline issued by police indicates that Kohberger managed to break into the house and kill al four victims within a 15-minute period, before his car was seen speeding off in surveillance footage.

Phone records show that Kohberger went close to the property just five hours after the murders were committed – with his phone being turned off during the time of the murders.

He is also accused of stalking the students and visiting the property or the area at least 12 times before the slayings on November 13.