The family of the suspect arrested in the murders of four University of Idaho students is “obviously shocked” by the first-degree murder charges he faces, his attorney said in a statement. interview with NBC’s “TODAY” Tuesday, hours before the suspect is expected to appear in a Pennsylvania court for an extradition hearing.
“They don’t believe it’s Bryan, they can’t believe this, they’re obviously in shock,” said Jason LaBar, Monroe County’s top public defender. LaBar represents Bryan Kohberger, 28, in the extradition request, which he said is not being questioned, but is not part of his murder defense.
“This is certainly completely out of line, the allegations, and they’re really just trying to be supportive with the understanding that these four families have suffered loss, so they’re sympathetic to that, and that’s why it needs to stay really private and They don’t want to take this case to the court of public opinion,” LaBar said.
LaBar said he has visited Kohberger in custody four times since his arrest last Friday in northeastern Pennsylvania, about 2,500 miles from the Idaho campus.
He told Savannah Guthrie that the suspect, who was a doctoral student in Washington State University’s department of criminal justice and criminology at the time of his arrest, has displayed “cool demeanor” during those visits and denied the allegations in his against.
“He’s a little off, he said, this isn’t him, he thinks he’s going to be exonerated, that’s what he thinks, those were his words, so it’s actually been really easy to talk to him, actually, and he’s in a calm demeanor like I said,” LaBar said.
LaBar said the Tuesday afternoon hearing could only last a few minutes. Kohberger could be on a plane back to Idaho Tuesday night.
The lawyer’s latest comments come two days after Kohberger’s family issued their first public statement saying they are cooperating with law enforcement to “promote his presumption of innocence.”
They also expressed sympathy for the families of the four University of Idaho students who were stabbed to death on November 13: Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Avondale, Ariz.; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho.