Idaho murders: Key takeaways from Brian Koberger affidavit and some questions that remain

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BOISE, Idaho – DNA was allegedly found on a knife sheath found at the scene of the murder.

The roommate described a masked figure with “bushy eyebrows.”

Phone records showed the suspect was near the victims’ residence numerous times over several months before the murders.

Nearly two months after the slayings of four University of Idaho students captured the nation and sowed fear in the small community of Moscow, Idaho, an affidavit released Thursday offers a look at the investigative work that made Brian Koberger a suspect.

RELATED: Idaho Homicide Chart

The 28-year-old criminal justice graduate student was extradited to Idaho on Wednesday from his home state of Pennsylvania. Facing four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary, Kochberger pleaded not guilty during his first trial Thursday.

The suspect was arrested in Pennsylvania on Dec. 30, nearly seven weeks after Kayleigh Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found fatally wounded in an off-campus home.

Here are key takeaways from the court documents, which include the probable cause affidavit used to support Koberger’s arrest and warrant, and some of the questions that remain.

Kayleigh Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle and Madison Mogen were killed on the campus of Idaho State University.

Obtained by CNN

DNA believed to be found on a knife sheath at the crime scene

Garbage recovered from the Koberger family’s home in Pennsylvania late last month and sent to an Idaho lab for DNA analysis showed that a “DNA profile obtained from the garbage” matched the leather sheath of a knife found “lying on the bed” of one of the injured, according to the alleged cause.

DNA in the trash “identified the man as the biological father” of the suspect whose DNA was found on the shell.

“It is expected that at least 99.9998% of the male population will be deprived of the possibility of being the biological father of the suspect,” the affidavit states.

The roommate saw a figure dressed in black clothes and a mask

One of the two roommates, who were not injured, told investigators she saw a masked man dressed in black inside the home the morning of the attack, according to the alleged attack.

The roommate, identified in the document as DM, said she “heard crying” in the house that morning and a man’s voice saying, “It’s okay, I’ll help you.”

Brian Koberger, accused of killing four Idaho State University students, is escorted to an extradition hearing at the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

AP Photo/Matt Rourke, pool

DM told investigators she saw “a figure wearing black clothing and a mask covering the mouth and nose of a man walking toward her,” according to the affidavit.

“DM described the figure as 5’10” or taller, male, not very muscular, but of athletic build with bushy eyebrows, the affidavit said. – A man passed DM while she was standing in “frozen shock”.

“The male approached the rear sliding glass door. DM locked herself in her room after seeing the man,” according to the document, which says the female roommate did not recognize the man.

Surveillance video shows a white sedan

Authorities reviewed local surveillance footage and drew attention to a white sedan, later identified as a Hyundai Elantra, according to the affidavit.

The car was seen in the area of ​​the house where the murders took place.

By Nov. 25, local law enforcement was notified of the search for the vehicle, the affidavit said.

Days later, officers at nearby Washington State University, where the suspect was a graduate student in criminal justice, identified the white Elantra and discovered it was registered to Kohberger.

Information on Kochberger’s driver’s license matched the description the uninjured roommate gave investigators, according to the affidavit.

The document specifically notes Koberger’s height and weight — 6-foot-1, 185 pounds — and that he has bushy eyebrows.

A white Elantra at Koberger’s parents’ home in Pennsylvania

Koberger got a new license plate for his Elantra five days after the murders, the affidavit said, citing Washington State Department of Licensing records.

At the time of Koberger’s arrest last week, a white Elantra was found at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania, according to Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason Labar, who said Koberger had gone home for the holidays.

The suspect’s phone was used at least a dozen times near the students’ home

Phone records show Koberger’s phone was near the victims’ residence at least 12 times since June, according to court documents.

“All but one of these incidents occurred late at night and early in the morning on the respective days.”

Additionally, records show Koberger’s phone was near the scene of the slaying — 1122 King Road — between 9:12 a.m. and 9:21 a.m. — hours after the slaying, according to court documents.

A review of phone records showed that Koberger’s phone left his home at approximately 9 a.m. and traveled to Moscow, the affidavit said, and that the same phone traveled “back to the area of ​​Kochberger’s residence … and arrived in the area at approximately 9:00 a.m. : 32 am”

Opinions from experts

Prominent Philadelphia attorney Fortunato Perry Jr. and retired FBI agent Laura Zartman are not involved in the case, but both have reviewed the newly released affidavits.

Both agree that Koberger’s DNA and phone tracking were key to the investigation.

“Very soon after that, they got the DNA from the house in Pennsylvania — that’s when they were able to finally say ‘yeah,'” Zartman explains.

Cell phone tracking helped police trace the movements of a white Hyundai Elantra near the victims’ homes on the night of the murders and in the weeks leading up to the crimes.

“Of course it could go to court. I have seen cases with overwhelming evidence and the client still wants to have their day in court,” Perry said. “Although the investigation that was conducted was exhaustive, it does not appear that this is a difficult case to take to a jury.”

The suspect applied for a police internship in 2022

Court documents show Koberger applied for an internship with the Pullman Police Department in Washington in the fall of 2022.

“According to records provided to members of the Pullman Police Department’s investigative team, we learned that Koberger’s past education included a bachelor’s degree in psychology and cloud forensics,” the affidavit said.

“These records also showed that Koberger wrote an essay when he applied for an internship with the Pullman Police Department in the fall of 2022. Koberger wrote in his essay that he is interested in helping rural law enforcement agencies learn how to better collect and analyze technology data in public safety operations.”

Still, questions remain

However, almost two months after the murders, a number of questions remain.

It is unclear why the uninjured roommate did not immediately call 911 or why the roommate was spared.

The motive for the crime also remains a mystery, with police saying they are still looking for the murder device.

The documents released Thursday did not shed light on whether Koberger had another reason for being in the area at the time of the killings.

Why was Koberger arrested only six weeks after the victims were found dead?

And authorities have not said publicly whether Koberger knew any of the victims.

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Idaho murders: Key takeaways from Brian Koberger affidavit and some questions that remain

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