A relative of murdered University of Idaho student Kaylee Goncalves was reportedly seen taunting Bryan Kohberger with a pro-death penalty T-shirt during his final court appearance on Friday.
At the hearing, the suspected quadruple killer’s defense team justified the alibi presented this month – that he was traveling alone on the night of the murder – and questioned the techniques used by authorities to collect DNA evidence.
According to an investigative reporter, during a recess in the proceedings, a family member of Goncalves was seen wearing a T-shirt promoting the death penalty by firing squad Kevin Fixler.
In June, prosecutors announced they would sentence Kohberger to death, and the country’s difficulties in obtaining lethal injections could see him killed by firing squad.
Fixler added that Kohberger appeared “relaxed” during the hearing, even chuckling when witnesses joked about scientific terms at the hearing.
Kohberger is charged with the murder of Goncalves, 21, and her friends Madison Mogen, 21,
Kohberger appeared in court in a suit and tie on Friday, a move that legal experts say could be an attempt by his attorneys to humanize him before the trial
In June, prosecutors indicated they would pursue the death penalty against Kohberger, the court saw on Friday
Latah County Attorney Bill Thompson speaks during Friday’s hearing
A relative of Kaylee Goncalves (pictured) reportedly taunted Kohberger with a T-shirt promoting the shooting at Friday’s hearing
Kohberger is accused of murdering college students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and her boyfriend, Ethan Chapin
At his most recent hearing on Friday, Kohberger’s attorneys presented arguments on six motions, including a requirement for the state to provide evidence of an alibi for the killings.
Prosecutors have also insisted that he provide witnesses who can support his alibi. However, his defense said that there is “currently no concrete witness who could say exactly where Mr. Kohberger was on the night of the murder”.
“He was out late at night and into the early hours of the morning on November 12-13, 2022,” the attorneys said, adding that he “does not claim to be in any particular place at any particular time.”
Prosecutors demanded more details on his alleged alibi, saying that “driving in the area” did not exonerate him but instead got him to the crime scene.
Ahead of his October trial, both sides discussed several other points of contention at the hearing, including a request by Kohberger’s team to compel prosecutors to disclose the DNA profiles they will use in court.
His defense also requested that the trial be adjourned to allow time for the grand jury to consider possible procedural issues, which indicted him in May.
In addition to insisting on his alibi, prosecutors have countered by demanding that the DNA profiles be protected while filing requests about problems with the schedule of Kohberger’s upcoming trial.
Kohberger’s defense claims his alibi is that he “drove alone” on the night of the murder, which prosecutors say does not exonerate him, arguing that it put him at the scene
Assistant Attorney General Ingrid Batey and Assistant Attorney General Jeff Nye speak during the hearing
Kohberger looks over at Judge John Judge during the hearing on Friday, August 18, 2023
No motive was given for the killings, stunned the nation and confused investigators as it took them over a month to make an arrest. Pictured: Kernodle and Mogen
Kohberger wore a suit at Friday’s hearing, an unusual move as he usually wears a prison uniform. According to legal experts, this is an attempt by his legal team to humanize him in the face of growing public interest in the case.
The genetic genealogy surrounding the DNA evidence in the case was one of the main topics heard. A member of Kohberger’s defense team spent about 30 minutes explaining why how police find the footage is critical to its legitimacy.
A genetic genealogy expert was also brought in to testify as Kohberger reportedly appeared observant and focused on the testimony before him.
His star defense attorney, Ann Taylor, exchanged words with the alleged killer, and Fixler said he smiled while witnesses joked about the spelling of scientific terms.
Goncalves’ family members’ mocking T-shirt comes ahead of Kohberger’s much-anticipated trial, at which prosecutors have said they will pursue the death penalty against him.
He has pleaded not guilty to the murders and his attorneys say he looks forward to clearing his name.
However, should he be found guilty, he could face a firing squad after Republican Rep. Bruce Skaug introduced a bill that would allow punishment in the state.
Kohberger was arrested December 30, a month after he allegedly murdered four students at the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. He is pictured after his delivery on January 3, 2023
The six- and three-bedroom house where the four students lived and were killed is slated for demolition after his trial
The hearing is the latest step in the ongoing legal preparations for Kohberger’s trial, and prosecutors are facing increasing pressure to piece together their case and present it within six months, as he has not yet waived his right to a speedy trial.
Prosecutors will produce a body of evidence related to the alleged crimes, including his DNA, which police say they found in a knife sheath left at the grisly crime scene.
Police allege that the DNA matched 99.9 percent of Kohberger and his father, possibly leading his defense at Friday’s hearing to focus on the legitimacy of the procedures authorities used to collect such material.
The other key piece of evidence prosecutors are hoping will convince the jury is Kohberger’s white Hyundai Elantra, which was spotted on CCTV surveillance footage in the area.
One of the surviving housemates who was not attacked also said she saw the killer and that he had “bushy eyebrows” – another characteristic of Kohberger’s appearance.