Did Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger leave knife sheath on purpose in clever defence move? UK crime professor also challenges cellphone tower pings as credible evidence that the defense will be able to use.
The University of Idaho murder suspect accused of ‘brutally’ stabbing to death four college students at their off campus residence during the early morning hours of November 13 may have left a knife sheath at the crime scene as part of a ‘remarkably clever move’ to get off the hook, a criminologist suggested during a TV interview.
David Wilson, a professor at Birmingham City University in the UK, proposed Bryan Kohberger, 28, a criminology PhD student at nearby Washington State University was ‘too smart’ to accidentally leave the evidence behind.
He alluded it could have been part of an elaborate plan to ensure he was not convicted, but did not go into specific details why he believed this.
It has been speculated that Kohberger could potentially use the knife as a red herring to benefit from double jeopardy laws, which prevent a suspect from being charged with the same crime twice.
Was knife sheath left behind in clever defense move?
Wilson suggested it could have been transferred on to the cover and that may be an argument made by the suspect’s defense team. If that argument succeeds and the key plank of evidence fails, resulting in an innocent verdict, Kohberger would likely not be charged again.
Appearing on ITV’s This Morning, Wilson said: ‘Would a highly-skilled, intelligent student who is teaching criminology, a Ph.D. student, have made such a basic error?’
The criminologist was responding to host Phillip Schofield who called the abandoning of the knife sheath a ‘remarkably clumsy move.’
Which led to Wilson saying: ‘One of the things that’s really struck me about the person that’s been arrested and accused of this is he is intelligent and high-functioning.’
He also argued DNA can be transferred from person to person and said he believes the defense may bring that up at trial.
‘I could have your DNA,‘ Wilson said, speaking to This Morning’s Holly Willoughby.
‘Your DNA is on me. I could go wherever I wanted to go in the next hour and your DNA would be where I go to,’ he continued.
Kohberger cellphone pings placing him near crime scene mute says criminologist
‘So the defense is clearly going to present issues that will suggest that Kohberger is innocent,’ the criminologist offered.
As for Kohberger’s cellphone pings, which put him in the Moscow, Idaho area on the date of the killings and in the weeks beforehand, Wilson offered an explanation for that too.
‘Moscow isn’t so far away from Washington State University, so it would be natural that there would be some of those towers that might ping,’ he said.
There are just eight miles between Washington State University’s campus in Pullman where Kohberger studied and Moscow, Idaho where the murders took place.
‘There will be a defense,’ Wilson said.
During a recent episode of the Law&Crime Sidebar podcast, Chief Public Defender for Monroe County, Pennsylvania, Jason LaBar, said the evidence is not so clear-cut.
Cellphone tower pings vs GPS location placing suspect at crime scene
The Pennsylvania public defender’s comments on the knife sheath, which was found next to one of the victims, was shrugged off by LaBar as ‘touch or transfer DNA’.
‘Which would mean that it could remain on that sheath for an indefinite period of time, if undisturbed,’ LaBar said.
‘That’s one way of attacking that type of evidence that doesn’t put him at the scene of the crime the night out, just that he merely touched that sheath at some point in time.’
LaBar also said police used cellphone tower pings rather than GPS location to put him at the scene 12 times before the quadruple homicides.
‘If it was GPS location coordinates, you’re talking down to a meter as to where Bryan Kohberger was at the time of these crimes,’ he said.
‘Whereas a cellphone tower ping is that you’re within a radius of that tower up to 20 miles.
‘Obviously, Mr Kohberger lived within ten miles of the University of Idaho where these crimes were committed. So certainly he could ping at any moment in time near the actual crime.’
The comments reiterate legal scholars who have previously opined that the Idaho murder case is not a slam dunk case that public opinion has come to believe with many ambits to cover.
Hurdles facing prosecutors include yet to show a murder motive, how the accused man knew his victims (family and friends for the victims have stated Kohberger not being known to them) along with not having located the murder weapon.
Will Bryan Kohberger get a fair trial? And why it matters
Kohberger was arrested on December 30 in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania after a cross-country road trip from Washington, where he was a PhD student.
The criminology student has been charged with four counts of murder in the first degree and one count of felony burglary in this incident.
The four counts of first-degree murder are connected to the fatal stabbings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Ethan Chapin, 20, and Xana Kernodle, 20.
Kohberger has maintained his innocence since his arrest and his lawyers have told media outlets their client is ‘eager to be exonerated’ in the November 13 murders.
More evidence is expected after the preliminary hearing, and while he’s no longer representing Kohberger and has no plans to communicate with him, LaBar will be following the case and ‘viewing everything objectively.’
‘I know I’ve been stressing since my representation of Bryan that he’s entitled to a fair trial,’ LaBar said speaking to NewsNation.
‘And really, that’s why I’m trying to be a voice for him so people don’t jump to conclusions and raise these biases so that he can actually have a fair trial with the presumption of innocence.’
The 28-year-old will return to court in Moscow on June 26 – six months from now – for a preliminary hearing. The nation continues to remain gripped by the shocking case as the murders have become their own simulacrum crime show, but instead of actors playing the parts of victims, real human beings have paid the ultimate price for the intrigue that has since followed.