The accused killer of four University of Idaho students will face the death penalty in November after prosecutors decided to seek the maximum sentence in the gruesome slayings.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, could land on death row after being charged with felony burglary and four counts of first-degree murder over the killings of Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves, prosecutors said in a filing on Monday.
“The State gives this notice based on the fact that it has not identified or been provided with any mitigating circumstances sufficient to prohibit the triers of fact from considering all penalities authorized by the Idaho legislature including the possibility of a capital sentence,” prosecutors wrote in a Monday court filing.
“Consequently, considering all evidence currently known to the State, the State is compelled to file this notice of intent to seek the death penalty.”
The Latah County Prosecutor’s Office filed the notice to seek the death penalty on Monday. The filing is required within 6 days of a defendant entering their plea, according to KTBV7.
Prosecuting Attorney Bill Thompson cited a number of “aggravating circumstances” in the disturbing case that led him to believe the case could warrant the death penalty.
“The murder was especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity,” Thomspon wrote.
Also mentioned was Kohberger’s alleged “utter disregard for human life” and his “continuing threat to society.”
The former criminology student was silent when he was indicted in court in May. He pleaded not guilty.
The four students were killed inside the girls’ rented home in the early hours of the morning.
The victims had been stabbed multiple times between 3 and 4 a.m., and some showed signs of having tried to fight back, police said.
Among the trove of evidence recovered at the scene was a knife sheath left on one of the victims’ beds, which police say had a sample of Kohberger’s DNA on it.
Authorities ultimately arrested Kohberger, who was studying at nearby Washington State University, at the end of December 2022. He has remained in a Latah County Jail cell since he was extradited from Pennsylvania.