25.02.2024

Bryan Kohberger claims media are ‘focusing on his crotch’ as he demands court camera ban

Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger is seeking to ban cameras from his high-profile trial after bizarrely claiming that the media is honing in on his crotch.

The 28-year-old criminal justice PhD student filed a motion on 24 August asking Judge John Judge to toss cameras from the courtroom where he faces charges for the murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

In the defence motion, his attorney Anne Taylor argued that past footage from his court appearances had focused heavily on his crotch.

“Mr. Kohberger is entitled to defend himself against capital criminal charges without cameras focused on his fly,” his attorney wrote.

She added that the media had been warned back in June not to focus solely on Mr Kohberger during the court appearances – but that they had “failed” to comply.

The in-person hearing to address the request was slated to take place on Friday but was vacated the night before.

Instead, a scheduling conference was held over Zoom with Latah County Judge John Judge deciding to rescheduled the hearing for 13 September.

A group of media outlets have pushed back on the defence’s request motion, asking the judge to allow cameras to remain in the courtroom for his future hearings and the trial.

In response, the group argued that no photographic or film coverage had focused on his fly – pointing out that an image included in the defence motion came from a social media post and not a media outlet’s coverage.

“Although Mr. Kohberger argues that he is ‘entitled to defend himself against capital charges without cameras focused on his fly,’ that assertion misstates the role that courtroom camera coverage played in the X social media post that appears at page 3 of his motion. No photographs or camera coverage focused on Mr. Kohberger’s ‘fly,’” it states.

Mr Kohberger’s motion to dismiss the indictment has also been rescheduled to 22 September.

The accused mass killer is asking the judge to throw out the case on the grounds of a biased grand jury, inadmissible evidence, lack of sufficient evidence, and prosecutorial misconduct by withholding exculpatory evidence.

His trial had been due to start on 2 October but has now been delayed indefinitely after Mr Kohberger abruptly waived his right to a speedy trial last month.

Mr Kohberger is facing the death penalty over the brutal murders of the four University of Idaho students.

Back in the early hours of 13 November, he is accused of breaking into an off-campus student home on King Road, Moscow, and stabbing the four students to death with a large, military-style knife.

Two other female roommates lived with the three women at the property and were home at the time of the massacre but survived.

One of the survivors – Dylan Mortensen – came face to face with the masked killer, dressed in head-to-toe black and with bushy eyebrows, as he left the home in the aftermath of the murders, according to the criminal affidavit.

For more than six weeks, the college town of Moscow was plunged into fear as the accused killer remained at large with no arrests made and no suspects named.

Then, on 30 December, law enforcement suddenly swooped on Mr Kohberger’s family home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania and arrested him for the quadruple murders.

He was tied to the murders through his DNA found on a knife sheath left on the bed next to Mogen’s butchered body.

The motive remains unknown and it is still unclear what connection the WSU PhD student had to the University of Idaho students – if any – prior to the murders. The murder weapon – a fixed-blade knife – has never been found.

As a criminal justice PhD student at WSU, Mr Kohberger lived just 15 minutes from the victims over the Idaho-Washington border in Pullman.

He had moved there from Pennsylvania and began his studies there that summer, having just completed his first semester before his arrest.

Before this, he studied criminology at DeSales University – first as an undergraduate and then finishing his graduate studies in June 2022.

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

He also carried out a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime”.

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