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Bryan Kohberger's Attorney Discovers Troubling Sign for Trial

1 week ago 23

Attorneys for Bryan Kohberger, the man accused of murdering four University of Idaho students in 2022, are arguing that the jury pool in Latah County, Idaho, is "biased" against him.

On Wednesday, Kohberger's attorney, Anne Taylor, filed a new document in court that said: "Mr. Kohberger's life and liberty are at stake. This is a capital case and he is entitled to be heard on motions pending before this Court. Halting preparations for his Motion for Change of Venue denies his constitutional right to a fair trial. The survey work is complete for Latah County and it shows that the jury pool in Latah County is biased."

The filing added, "The State's action that resulted in the cessation of the surveys prevents other county comparisons."

Newsweek reached out to Taylor's office via email for comment.

Kohberger, 29, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary in connection with the fatal stabbings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20. The four University of Idaho students were found dead in their off-campus home on November 13, 2022.

The Washington State University graduate student was arrested at his parents' residence in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, in December 2022. He has maintained his innocence in the case, previously standing silent during his arraignment.

Bryan Kohberger
Bryan Kohberger (L) and attorney Anne Taylor at Latah County District Court on January 5, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. Taylor filed a document claiming that possible jurors in Latah County are biased. Ted S. Warren - Pool/Getty Images

Last week, Taylor criticized an order by Judge John C. Judge that barred both sides from communicating with potential jurors in the quadruple homicide case.

"On March 22, 2024, late on a Friday afternoon the State filed its Motion to Prevent Contact with Potential Jurors. The motion included attachments. The late Friday afternoon filing was a strategic action by the state," Taylor wrote in the filing.

"The Defense informed the State surveys such as these were common practice. The State could have easily, and likely did, find that this very expert did similar survey work in Idaho on at least two other occasions."

Michael McAuliffe, a former federal prosecutor and former elected state attorney, told Newsweek on Wednesday that Taylor is "vigorously defending her client" following today's filing.

"However, the defense counsel's argument that the community survey shows bias with prospective jurors misses the mark. The jury selection process is designed to vet and address juror bias issues and to select a fair, open-minded jury," McAuliffe told Newsweek.

"Nothing in a defendant-designed survey precludes the potential empanelment of a neutral jury. That's true even though it is a death penalty case in a relatively small jurisdiction."

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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