Bryan Kohberger is on his way to Idaho to face murder charges

Bryan Kohberger is on his way to Idaho to face murder charges

Bryan Kohberger

Kohberger's family say they will continue to support him

STROUDSBURG, Pa. – Idaho suspect Bryan Christopher Kohberger is on his way to Moscow to face charges for the murders of four University of Idaho students, a source told Fox News.

Kohberger, 28, left Monroe County Correctional Facility in Pennsylvania, according to Warden Garry Haidle. "He is no longer in my custody," Haidle said. "He is in the custody of the Pennsylvania State Police."

A law enforcement source told Fox News' Alexis McAdams that Idaho and Pennsylvania authorities are working together on returning him to Moscow. He was slated to fly out this morning, but it wasn't immediately clear if he already boarded the plane, the sourced added.

The Washington State University Ph.D. student waived extradition at a hearing in Monroe County Court Tuesday afternoon. 

Judge Margherita Worthington asked Kohberger in court as his distraught parents and two sisters looked on from the gallery if he waived his right to challenge his arrest for the quadruple homicide.

"Yes, I do," he replied, wearing a red jail-issue jumpsuit and shackles on his wrists. 

Kohberger was arrested by local police and the FBI Friday at his parents' home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania.

The teaching assistant, who studies in the university's department of criminal justice and criminology, had been living in Pullman, Washington, in an on-campus apartment – a 10-minute drive from the rental home where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death.

Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were ambushed in their sleep in the early morning hours of Nov. 13 and each stabbed multiple times with a large fixed-blade knife.

As police desperately searched for a suspect, Kohberger wrapped up the semester, then drove cross-country with his father in his white Hyundai Elantra to Pennsylvania for winter break.

Moscow police had been looking for a 2011 to 2013 white Hyundai Elantra that was spotted near the crime scene at the time of the murders.

The FBI, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, used genetic genealogy to track down Kohberger then match his DNA to a sample he left at the crime scene, a law enforcement source told Fox News.

Kohberger could face the death penalty if convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary. 

His Pennsylvania attorney, who only represented him for the extradition matter, said Kohberger believes he will be exonerated. 

His family also issued a statement saying they stand behind their son while recognizing the suffering of the victims' families.

Bryan Kohberger update: Idaho murder suspect no longer held in PA after court appearance

During Bryan Kohberger hearing Tuesday, 28-year-old showed little emotion

STROUDSBURG, Pa. -- A criminology graduate student charged in the November slayings of four University of Idaho students is no longer being held in a Pennsylvania jail Wednesday morning after waiving his right to an extradition hearing the day prior.

Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old doctoral student and teaching assistant at Washington State University, waived his right to an extradition hearing in a Pennsylvania court on Tuesday, speeding up his transfer to Idaho to stand trial.

A jail official told ABC News about 9 a.m. EST Wednesday that Kohberger was no longer lodged at the Monroe County, Pennsylvania jail. He flew out Wednesday morning, the jail official said.

Students at the University of Idaho and nearby residents lived in fear for weeks as authorities seemed stumped by the mysterious and brutal stabbings on Nov. 13. Idaho police appeared to make a breakthrough, however, after searching for a white sedan seen around the time of the killings and analyzing DNA evidence at the crime scene.

Investigators have said they are still looking for a murder weapon and a motive for the killings. More details about the case are expected to be released after Kohberger arrives in Idaho and an affidavit is unsealed.

But attorneys, law enforcement officers and others involved in the case won't be able to discuss the affidavit or other court documents after an Idaho magistrate judge on Tuesday evening issued a so-called gag order barring officials from talking publicly about many aspects of the case outside of court.

Judges sometimes issue the orders when they fear that pretrial publicity could prevent a defendant from getting a fair trial.

Wearing a red jumpsuit with his hands shackled in front of him, Kohberger showed little emotion during Tuesday's brief hearing in a Pennsylvania courtroom in which he acknowledged facing four counts of first-degree murder and a burglary charge.

Kohberger, who was arrested by state police at his parents' home in eastern Pennsylvania on Friday, was held at a jail in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, until his extradition.

Kohberger's parents and sisters sat in the front row of the courtroom gallery, behind the defense table. His mother and his sister Melissa broke down as he walked into the courtroom, sobbing quietly and holding one another. A sheriff's deputy brought them a box of tissues. Kohberger glanced at his family briefly as he was led out of the courtroom.

Latah County prosecutors in Idaho have said they believe Kohberger broke into the victims' home near the university campus intending to commit murder.

The students were: Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington. They were close friends and members of the university's Greek system.

Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived in the three-story rental home with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating, and he had been visiting the house that night.

The killings have left the rural town of Moscow, Idaho, deeply shaken, and police have released few details about the investigation. For weeks, the Moscow Police Department faced heavy criticism for telling frightened residents that there was no great risk to the community, even though a suspect had not been named.

University officials hired extra security to escort students across campus, but nearly half of the 11,500-student body temporarily left campus for the perceived safety of online classes.

Would-be sleuths attempted to fill the void with their own theories online - some of them targeting friends and acquaintances of the slain students with hurtful and inaccurate allegations.

The chief public defender in Monroe County said his client is eager to be exonerated. Kohberger should be presumed innocent and "not tried in the court of public opinion," said the public defender, Jason LaBar.

After Tuesday's hearing, LaBar described Kohberger as "an ordinary guy," and said that after his extradition he would be represented by the chief public defender in Kootenai County, Idaho.

Capt. Anthony Dahlinger, of the Moscow Police Department in Idaho, told The Associated Press on Saturday that authorities believe Kohberger was responsible for all four slayings at a rental home near campus.

"We believe we've got our man," said Dahlinger, adding that investigators obtained samples of Kohberger's DNA directly from him after he was arrested.

Pennsylvania State Police Maj. Christopher Paris said Tuesday that Kohberger's warrant merited an after-dark arrest, which requires a higher standard of probable cause.

"We wanted to go in at a time when we thought it would be the safest for everybody. Safest for anybody else in the house, safest for Mr. Kohberger and safest for our people," he said.

A tactical response team reviewed floor plans of the home, and broke multiple doors and windows when they entered, Paris said.

In her gag order - formally called a "non-dissemination order" - Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall prohibited people involved in the case from talking about anything "reasonably likely to interfere with a fair trial of this case." That includes details about any evidence, the existence of any confessions or other statements given by the defendant, or the merits of the case, Marshall wrote in the order.

The gag order will last until a verdict is given or it's modified by the court. The paper documents filed in the criminal case are still expected to be open to the public once Kohberger arrives in Idaho, however.

DNA evidence played a key role in identifying Kohberger as a suspect, and officials were able to match his DNA to genetic material recovered during the investigation, a law enforcement official said last week. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation.

In addition to the DNA evidence, authorities also learned Kohberger had a white Hyundai Elantra, the official who spoke anonymously said.

Moscow police had already identified a white Hyundai Elantra seen near the scene of the crime, and asked the public for help finding the white sedan. Tips poured in, and Idaho investigators soon were trying to narrow down a list of roughly 20,000 possible vehicles to find the right one.

The Indiana State Police announced Tuesday that on Dec. 15, a trooper stopped a white Hyundai Elantra on Interstate 70 for following too closely. A body camera worn by the trooper appeared to show Bryan Kohberger in the driver's seat, the police said. At the time, there was no information available to the trooper that would have identified Kohberger as a suspect in the Idaho killings, the agency said, and he was released with a verbal warning.

Kohberger had also been stopped a few minutes earlier by a deputy from the Hancock County Sheriff's Department for following too closely, and given a verbal warning, the sheriff's department said.

Federal and state investigators are combing through Kohberger's background, financial records and electronic communications as they work to build the case against him, the official who spoke anonymously said. The investigators are also interviewing people who knew Kohberger, including those at Washington State University, the official said.

Kohberger's relatives in Pennsylvania have expressed sympathy for the families of the victims but vowed to support him and promote "his presumption of innocence."

Investigators have asked for information about Kohberger from anyone who knows him, and Dahlinger said investigators got 400 calls to a tip line within the first hour of that request. He said they were "trying to build this picture now of him: Who he is, his history, how we got to this event, why this event occurred."

‘We Would Put Him on a Small Aircraft by Himself’: How an Ex-Top U.S. Marshals Official Says He’d Move Idaho Murder Suspect Bryan Kohberger

When extraditing a suspect in a quadruple-homicide that’s captivated the nation, law enforcement officials don’t simply book a commercial airline ticket.

Sharing his lifelong experience about how to safely transport accused killers in high-profile cases, a man who formerly led investigations for the U.S. Marshals told Law&Crime how he would ensure that accused murderer Bryan Kohberger’s trip from Pennsylvania back to Idaho was a flawless one.

Art Roderick, the former assistant director of investigations for the U.S. Marshals Service, spent a quarter of a century with the agency that tracks down fugitives. He spent part of that time as the agency’s chief of investigations and has worked storied investigations, including the escape from Alcatraz, Ruby Ridge, and the D.C. Sniper.

In an extended interview with Law&Crime’s Sidebar podcast, Roderick explained that officials do not plan a criminal defendant’s movements carelessly.

“I can’t imagine they would fly this particular individual commercially, both because of the security issue from the public, but also, he’s such a high profile individual,” Roderick said. “We would put him on a small aircraft by himself with three or four marshals or law enforcement and go ahead and move him across the country just like that.”

Kohberger is facing four counts of murder for the Nov. 13 stabbing deaths of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

A request “might” have been made to the Marshals Service in advance of his extradition hearing, which was due Tuesday, Roderick explained. But last week, Kohberger waived his extradition hearing to arrive sooner in Idaho.

“Mr. Kohberger intends to waive his extradition hearing to expedite his transport to Idaho,” Jason Allen LaBar, the Chief Public Defender for Monroe County who was appointed to represent Kohberger in Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “Mr. Kohberger has been accused of very serious crimes, but the American justice system cloaks him in a veil of innocence. He should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise — not tried in the court of public opinion. One should not pass judgment about the facts of the case unless and until a fair trial in court at which time all sides may be heard and inferences challenged.”

The U.S. Marshals Service helms the transportation of prisoners within the United States, handling “about 260,000 by aircraft,” Roderick explained. “We have our own airlines, this prisoner alien transportation system, or as people like to call it, con air,” Roderick continued.

The larger state and local law enforcement agencies usually have extradition units of their own, and they either drive prisoners from one spot to another or fly them commercially. However, the marshals, who do this for the federal court system, are also able to assist in moves across the country.

“And they do this every single day, and they’re very good at it,” Roderick said. “That’s the only government-run airline in the country. And amazingly, even though it’s government run, it works very, very well.”

This cross-country transportation of prisoners must be done “very quietly, secretively,” Roderick said.

“Marshals Service or any other entity does not talk about transportation issues or security issues or when an individual’s being moved,” Roderick explained. “So it could happen very quickly or they might take some time or wait a little while. … But that’s something that’s kept very close to the chest. … And I can tell you in the past, from the Marshals Service perspective, sometimes we send decoy convoys around so that we can ensure the security and safety of a particular individual being moved.”

Sgt. Christopher Paris of the Pennsylvania State Police said in Tuesday’s press conference that Kohberger is being held in the Monroe County jail until he’s extradited. It’s not confirmed if the marshals will be transporting him. “Those arrangements are being discussed right now, as well as the logistics the court order says,” Paris explained. “Those of you who heard it today, it’s within the next 10 days, so we’re currently working on that.”

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