Suspected quadruple murderer Bryan Kohberger appears to be preparing to fight the allegations against him in court – with legal experts warning that the case is not a ‘slam dunk’.
An unsealed arrest affidavit revealed a painstaking investigation by Moscow Police and the FBI to track down the 28-year-old criminal justice graduate student.
But despite evidence linking Kohberger to the crime scene, the other evidence has been described as ‘circumstantial’ by experts interested in the case.
He has been denied bail after two short court appearances in Moscow, Idaho, and is set to appear again for a preliminary hearing in June.
Suspected quadruple murderer Bryan Kohberger appears to be preparing to fight the allegations against him in court – with legal experts warning that the case is not a ‘slam dunk’
There are still several questions raised about the brutal slayings on November 13, which left an entire town terrified.
Court documents detail exactly how police linked Kohberger to the crime – but only his DNA on the knife sheath found at the scene appears to directly implicate that he was there.
DailyMail.com looks at the reasons why police were able to obtain an arrest warrant for the suspected murderer – and why there are still questions being raised over whether he will be convicted:
He is accused of killing four University of Idaho students. Dylan Mortensen survived the attack that left Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle dead. Bethany Funke also survived
5 REASONS WHY KOHBERGER WAS ARRESTED
1. DNA found on knife sheath
The documents describe a tan leather knife sheath with a button snap and ‘KA-BAR’ and USMC’ insignias being found at the scene
Officers called to the scene of the bloody crime on November 13 quickly discovered a K-Bar knife sheath next to the bodies of Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.
The sheath is described as being tan leather with a button snap and ‘KA-BAR’ and USMC’ insignias.
Officers found trace DNA on the button of the sheath, which was abandoned at the scene, and managed to match it to Kohberger.
Unsealed court documents show the painstaking work done by officers, who 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 19-page affidavit details how Kohberger’s DNA was found on the knife sheath found at the crime scene. It was lying on the bed next to Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves
FBI agents 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.
Law enforcement saw the suspect multiple times outside of his parents’ $250,000 Pennsylvania home wearing surgical gloves.
Kohberger was also seen cleaning the inside and outside of his car, with a source adding that he didn’t ‘miss an inch’.
And he was reportedly spotted taking out trash to his neighbors’ bins at around 4am – the contents were recovered by officers.
2. Car spotted at scene
A white Hyundai Elantra was seen in the area of the killings on the night in question and linked back to Kohberger by police after it was spotted on surveillance footage
A timeline issued by police indicates that Kohberger would have managed to break into the house and kill all four victims within a 15-minute period, before the white car was seen speeding off in surveillance footage.
He is even thought to have returned to the scene of the crime at 9am on November 13 – just hours after the murders.
The car was spotted traveling towards the scene of the crime at 3.26am and was not displaying a front license plate.
Multiple cameras then caught the vehicle in the area of the property on King Road between 3.29am and finally at 4.20am.
A Hyundai Elantra was spotted traveling towards the scene of the murders at 3.26am and was not displaying a front license plate
Court documents describe how the car drives past the property three times, before coming back at 4.04am. It then ‘unsuccessfully attempts to park or turn around in the road’ in front of the house, before leaving and turning back into the direction of the property again.
It is next caught on camera leaving the area at a ‘high rate of speed’ at 4.20am. Police believe that the murders took place between 4am and 5am.
Kohberger’s car was tracked down to the Washington State University campus in Pullman, where he arrived back at his apartment at 5.25am.
Officers reviewed Kohberger’s drivers license information and photograph – which they say match the ‘description of the man seen inside the King Road residence’ by surviving roommate Dylan Mortensen.
3. Phone signal ‘vanishes’
A police depiction of the route they believe Kohberger took on the night of the murders that matches his cell phone signal and the movements of the Elantra
Phone records show that Kohberger went close to the property just five hours after the murders were committed. His phone was turned off during the time of the murders.
Court documents claim Kohberger turned his phone off in an attempt to cover his tracks.
Police zeroed in on him by linking his white Hyundai Elantra to the scene and then using his phone number to track his movements.
They obtained the number from a previous incident in August 2022, in which he was pulled over for a minor traffic violation and gave his details.
On the night in question, the phone pinged a cell tower close to his apartment in Pullman, Washington.
It then left the area at 2.47am and traveled south through Pullman – which cops have confirmed lines up with the movements of the white Hyundai caught on camera.
His phone then stopped reporting to the network, which FBI experts confirm is consistent with the phone being turned off, on airplane mode, or in an area without coverage.
Kohberger turned his phone off on the night of the murders. Police claim he was attempting to cover his tracks
Police obtained Kohberger’s phone details from a previous incident, when he was pulled over for a minor traffic violation
Court documents show that his phone was not active again until 4.48am, in the southbound lane of Highway 95, just south of Moscow.
Kohberger is then alleged to have traveled towards Genesse, Uniontown, and eventually back to Pullman between 4.50am and 5.26am.
The cell phone data then pings when he returns to his property, which is again caught on camera when the Elantra drives north on Stadium Drive at 5.27am.
The next day, his phone left the apartment again at 9am and traveled towards Moscow, back towards the King Road residence, and arrived between 9.12am and 9.21am.
Phone records then show him returning to his apartment in Pullman at 9.32am, with further analysis showing that he passed a coffee stand at 12.36pm.
He then went shopping in Washington at 12.46pm, leaving at Albertson’s grocery store at 1.04pm.
The suspected killer’s phone was in Johnson, Idaho, between 5.32pm and 5.36pm – before appearing to be turned off again until 8.30pm.
Police say that his phone movements match those of his white Hyundai Elantra, which was caught on surveillance footage at the scene before speeding away on the night of the murders.
His phone has remained off or not connected to the network since November 14.
4. ‘Stalked’ the property at least 12 times prior to killings
Police made ‘efforts to determine if Kohberger stalked any of the victims’ before the killings and only detail that he was in the area of the property at least 12 times
Kohberger is accused of staking out the student home on 1122 King Road in Moscow on at least 12 occasions before the murders.
The affidavit said police they looked into whether he ‘conducted surveillance on the King Road Residents and was in contact with any of the victim’s associates before or after the alleged offense.’
Officials have not revealed the exact dates that he canvassed the three-story property but confirmed that in August, he was pulled over just two minutes after leaving the area covered by the cell phone tower closest to the home.
A Latah County Sheriff’s deputy pulled him over on August 21 at 11.37pm as part of a traffic stop – in which he provided his number.
Because of the series of traffic stops, officers were able to link both the car and the phone number to Kohberger – and look up each time his device pinged the tower closest to the property.
The documents say that the criminal justice graduate stalked the property in the late evening and early morning on each occasion – bar one.
Documents show that officers believe Kohberger stalked the victims, staking out the house at least 12 times before the killings
5. Messaging one of the victims before the murders
Police sources have revealed that Kohberger was messaging one of the victims before the murders on Instagram but have not confirmed which one
Law enforcement sources have revealed that two weeks before the killings of the four students, an account belonging to Kohberger sent a series of messages to one of the victims.
An Instagram account, believed to have been run by Kohberger, reached out to one of the female students but didn’t get a response.
He reportedly ‘slid into the DMs’ of one of the girls, saying: ‘Hey, how are you’ over and over again, sources told PEOPLE.
It would be the first direct link between Kohberger and the victims, with court documents not detailing exactly how they came onto his radar.
Ethan Chapin and Xana Kornodle were both stabbed to death
Authorities remain tight-lipped about the details of the attack, and have not publicly commented on the relationship between Kohberger and the victims.
The Instagram account, which has since been deleted, reportedly followed Maddie Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves and Xana Kernodle.
Officers and lawyers linked to the case have also been issued with a gagging order by the court, banning them from making any official comments on the case before trial.
5 REASONS WHY CONVICTION ISN’T ‘SLAM DUNK’
1. Surviving roommate failed to call the cops and gave vague description of suspect
Mortensen was one of two roommates who survived the brutal Idaho murder, and froze in fear after spotting the killer
Dylan Mortensen, 21, came face-to-face with a masked man believed to be Kohberger in the hallway of their shared home around the time of the killings, shortly after 4am.
Mortensen – who lived through the attack along with Bethany Funke – heard what she believed to be her roommate crying, left her room and saw a man in a black mask with bushy eyebrows.
She froze with fear, and watched as he walked past, then waited six hours before calling cops.
In a summary of her statement, she said that she ‘didn’t recognize’ the figure that she saw in the property.
Mortensen described him as being a 5’10 or taller male who was ‘not very muscular but athletically built with busy eyebrows.’
The delay between Mortenson spotting the suspected killer and calling the police allowed the suspect to flee the scene and possibly dispose of evidence.
She also told officers that the figure was wearing ‘black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose’.
Exclusive DailyMail.com photos show Mortensen outside her parent’s home for the first time since the slaying
(L-R) Mortensen is pictured with her slain roommate Xana Kernodle, survivor Bethany Funke, and victims Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen
The delay between Mortenson spotting the suspected killer and calling the police allowed the suspect to flee the scene and possibly dispose of evidence
Kohberger previously insisted to his lawyer in Pennsylvania that he was ‘innocent’, and linking him to the scene because of his ‘bushy eyebrows’ could be considered circumstantial.
The document also revealed that a shoe print was found in the mud outside the murder house, just outside the sliding door that Mortensen said was used by the killer to escape.
Police studied that shoe print and found a ‘diamond pattern’ which is consistent with the sole of a Vans shoe.
It’s unclear if Kohberger owns Vans – the affidavit does not confirm the discovery of any shoe that has a sole print similar to the one found at the scene.
Court documents have also not revealed if Bethany Funke saw or heard anything which helped to build a case against Kohberger.
Police confirmed that a 911 call was made by one of the surviving roommates at 11.58am, requesting help for an unconscious person – though it has not been confirmed who spoke to police.
2. Police have not found the murder weapon
A law enforcement source claims that the sheath found matches a 7-inch knife sold by KA-BAR – a manufacturer of hunting weapons. The knife has not been found
Chief of Moscow Police James Fry confirmed when they announced they had arrested Kohberger in connection with the murders that they were still looking for the knife used.
He appealed for information regarding the whereabouts of the murder weapon, which was not found despite a sheath being discovered at the scene.
The location of the murder weapon is a question that has baffled cops since the murders took place in November.
A knife manufacturer who made the sheath left at the crime scene has said cops reached out to them.
KA-BAR, which produces the kind of knife which would fit the sheath, has denied having anyone by Kohberger’s name on their system.
The location of the murder weapon is a question that has baffled cops since the murders took place in November
They sell to both retailers and directly to consumers, with a ‘fixed handle knife’ retailing for around $139.
A lack of a murder weapon could be used in Kohberger’s defense if the case goes to trial.
Kohberger and his lawyer, Anne Taylor, have asked for the 1122 King Road property to remain sealed until February 1 – indicating that they are building a case for his defense.
Documents show Taylor asked for the scene to be preserved on December 30 – just hours after a SWAT team swooped on Kohberger’s family home in Pennsylvania.
She was also seen at the property with a team of investigators just hours after Kohberger’s extradition hearing – appearing as though a crime reconstruction was taking place.
Ex-federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told DailyMail.com: ‘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.’
3. No motive has been given for the grisly crimes
Best friends Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen were both found in a single bed together in Mogen’s room
Despite officers tracking down Kohberger after weeks of investigation, both the manner in which the students met their deaths and why they were targeted have been omitted from the report.
A coroner’s report was redacted from the affidavit, with authorities previously confirming that all four had suffered severe wounds.
Another question that has not been answered is why Kohberger allegedly targeted the four students – and left their two roommates to live.
The affidavit does not elaborate on how the students came to be on the radar of the Washington State University PhD student – simply that he had stalked them for a period of time in the ‘early morning and late evenings’.
Mortensen told cops she was awoken at around 4am by what sounded like victim Kaylee Goncalves, 21, ‘playing with her dog’ in a third-floor bedroom.
Kaylee and Madison were found on the top floor of the Moscow, Idaho home. College lovers Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were found in a second-floor bedroom, while survivors Dylan Mortensen and Bethany Funke were sleeping on the first floor
Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were murdered in the second-floor bedroom,
She said she looked out of her room but didn’t see anything, looking again on a second occasion when she thought Xana Kernodle was crying.
Mortensen stated she opened her door for the third time after she heard the crying and saw a figure clad in black clothing and a mask that covered the person’s mouth and nose walking towards her.
After the man moved towards her, she said that she remained in a ‘frozen shock phase’ as he continued past her – but let her survive.
It is not clear why both Funke and Mortensen were allowed to live.
The onus is on the prosecution to prove the motive for Kohberger to kill the students – with more information coming to light if he pleads not guilty.
Kohberger previously insisted that he would be ‘exonerated’ to his lawyer in Pennsylvania.
4. DoorDash delivery overlaps with time murders took place
Xana Kernodle, 20, received a DoorDash delivery moments before she and her boyfriend Ethan were killed
Victim Xana Kernodle received a DoorDash food delivery just moments before she and her boyfriend Ethan were killed.
The affidavit states that Kernodle received the food order at around 4am on the night of the murders – with Dylan Mortensen hearing one of her roommates say: ‘Someone’s here’ just 12 minutes later.
Law enforcement confirmed that they identified and spoke to the delivery driver who reported the information.
However, it is unclear if the driver saw or heard anything in the run-up to the murders or if they will be required to testify in court.
Experts have claimed that Kohberger may not have killed the other two girls living in the property because he was ‘spent’ from killing his four victims
Dirty dishes and fast food takeaway boxes and cartons were littering the table of the property before the murders
Experts have claimed that Kohberger may not have killed the other two girls living in the property because he was ‘spent from killing his four victims’.
However, it is not clear if he will argue that there were other people near to the property at the time – including the DoorDash delivery driver – as the timelines overlap.
The white Elantra was seen in the area of the house at 4.04 am – just four minutes after the delivery driver dropped off the delivery for Kernodle.
5. DNA ‘not found on the victims’ and ‘could have been transferred’
Police have consistently claimed that the attack appeared to have been targeted – but have refused to say why or if they believe Kohberger had help
Legal experts claim that the case against Kohberger is not a ‘slam dunk’ for several reasons – arguing that his attorney could claim the DNA evidence was ‘transferred’.
Authorities have his DNA on the sheath of the knife, but nowhere else, according to the affidavit. But experts have argued that it can be ‘transferred from one person to another’ and then ‘onto an object’.
They argue that the evidence is not enough for an ‘open and shut conviction’, adding that it is likely his defense will say he did not commit the crimes at all.
‘If I was the DA, 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.
‘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.’
Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen
Investigators from the Idaho State Police remove bloodied mattresses, bed frames and other possessions from the Moscow home
Chief of Moscow Police James Fry also refused to rule out that the killer had an accomplice during a press conference when he confirmed Kohberger had been arrested.
Police have consistently claimed that the attack appeared to have been targeted – but have refused to say why or if they believe Kohberger had help.
They were also quick to rule out other potential suspects but have never publicly said they think that only one person killed the four students.
Details of motive and accomplice are expected to come out at trial – if Kohberger denies the allegations.