Idaho murders: Conflict of interest concerns raised as Bryan Kohberger attorney previously represented victim’s parent

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The public defender representing a suspect charged with the murder of four University of Idaho students previously represented the parent of one of the victims.

Concerns about conflicts of interest in the Idaho murders case were raised after The Idaho Statesman reported Monday that Kootenai County Public Defender’s Office Chief Anne Taylor filed a Jan. 5 recusal for not representing one of the mothers of slain University of Idaho students — the same day quadruple murder suspect Bryan Kohberger was extradited from Pennsylvania custody to Idaho.

Ms Taylor is now representing Mr Kohberger, a PhD student at Washington State University, as he faces the death penalty for the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

“Whenever a former client becomes involved in ongoing representation, an attorney should assess any potential conflicts,” former Idaho State Bar attorney Brad Andrews also said. The statesman. “Conflicts are very factual, and so the lawyer decides whether the lawyer has a conflict.”

The outlet reports that Ms. Taylor is one of thirteen qualified public defenders in the state to represent clients in a potential death penalty case. The Independent contacted Ms Taylor’s office for comment.

Last week, the records of a search warrant executed at Mr. Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman on December 30, the same day he was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania for the murders, were unsealed.

An evidence file recovered during the search of the apartment was unsealed, revealing the seizure of 15 items, including hair, receipts, a computer tower, a disposable glove and items with peculiar stains.

Bryan Kohberger sits as his attorney, public defender Anne Taylor, right, speaks during a hearing in Latah County District Court January 5, 2023 in Moscow, Idaho. Kohberger was arrested for the murders of four University of Idaho students in November 2022

(Getty Images)

The affidavit, released Jan. 5, gave new details about what led investigators to the suspect, but still offered no connection between the victims and Mr. Kohberger.

The explosive documents revealed investigators believe Mr Kohberger may have stalked the student’s home in the run-up to the mass murder, with cellphone data placing him around the property 12 times before November 13 .

At the time of the murders, investigators believe Mr Kohberger turned off his mobile phone in an attempt to avoid detection.

However, cellphone data puts him near the house on King Road around 9am on November 13 – suggesting he returned to the crime scene just hours after he allegedly murdered the four victims around 4am morning, reveals the affidavit.

In addition to the cellphone data, the affidavit reveals that other evidence also led them to arrest Mr. Kohberger for the student murders.

Police say his DNA was found on a knife sheath left at the scene by the killer and his white Hyundai Elantra was captured in surveillance footage at the crime scene at the time of the killings, the affidavit reveals .

Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21

(Instagram/Kaylee Gonçalves)

One of the victims’ surviving housemates was also able to partially describe the killer to investigators after coming face-to-face with him following the murders.

Mr. Kohberger is then due to appear in court on June 26 for his preliminary hearing.

The whole week has been set aside for the hearing – when the evidence in the case against Mr. Kohberger will first be presented in court and Mr. Kohberger is likely to plead the charges.

Until then, Mr Kohberger will be held behind bars in Latah County Jail after being ordered to be held without bond for the second time.

As a criminal justice doctoral student at WSU, he lived just 15 minutes from the victims across the Idaho-Washington border in Pullman. He had moved there from Pennsylvania and started his studies there in August, having completed his first semester before his arrest.

Prior to that, he studied criminology at DeSales University – first as an undergraduate, then graduating in June 2022.

There, he studied with famed forensic psychologist Katherine Ramsland who interviewed serial killer BTK and co-wrote the book. Confession of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of BTK Killer Dennis Rader with him.

He also conducted a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making during the commission of a crime”.

If found guilty, he faces life in prison or the death penalty, for the murders that rocked the small university town of Moscow and made headlines around the world.

Idaho murders: Conflict of interest concerns raised as Bryan Kohberger attorney previously represented victim’s parent

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