The University of Idaho is scheduled to deny potential Bryan Kohberger jurors a chance to see the crime scene firsthand, where four undergrad students were stabbed to death last year.
The school said Thursday that the demolition of the house at 1122 King Road in Moscow, Idaho, would begin on Dec. 28 — during winter break and less than a year after the suspect’s arrest and with no trial date in sight.
“It is the grim reminder of the heinous act that took place there,” University President Scott Green said in a statement. “While we appreciate the emotional connection some family members of the victims may have to this house, it is time for its removal and to allow the collective healing of our community to continue.”
IDAHO MURDERS: KING ROAD HOUSE WHERE BRYAN KOHBERGER ALLEGEDLY KILLED 4 STUDENTS TO BE DEMOLISHED
The six-bedroom home is just steps off campus, near the university’s Greek Row and at the heart of a complex full of student housing.
Critics of the move argue that the house should remain standing until jurors have a chance to see it.
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Kohberger is accused of sneaking into the three-story house on Nov. 13, 2022 and killing four of the six people inside. On the upper level, he is accused of stabbing Kaylee Goncalves and Maddie Mogen, 21-year-old best friends who were both found in the latter’s bedroom, along with a Ka-Bar knife sheath the prosecutors allege had Kohberger’s DNA on the snap.
On the second level, he is accused of killing Xana Kernodle, 20, who lived in the house, and her visiting boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, also 20.
I understand the school wants to ‘move on,’ but walking the jury through the crime scene when you have it is important to give them a perspective that photos just can’t do.
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One of the two survivors allegedly overheard a man’s voice and sounds of a struggle before seeing a masked man with “bushy eyebrows” leave through the rear sliding door.
The landlord donated the property to the University of Idaho earlier this year, and the school announced plans to raze it and build a memorial garden, which, according to Chapin’s family, is being designed by UI architecture students.
California jurors got the chance to visit the scene in the OJ Simpson trial over the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. South Carolina jurors saw Alex Murdaugh’s Moselle estate in person in the trial over the deaths of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.
Seeing the scene up close would give jurors a glimpse unavailable to them in photographs, according to experts.
“I don’t see why the house needs to be demolished before the trial,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “I understand the school wants to ‘move on,’ but walking the jury through the crime scene when you have it is important to give them a perspective that photos just can’t do.”
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The house should be preserved until the trial concludes or Kohberger pleads guilty.
Whether or not the building is still standing, people will still come to see the scene in person, he told Fox News Digital, calling the decision to demolish it a “terrible idea.”
Jurors should have a chance to see it in person before it is torn down, experts say.
“Just wait until the process is over,” he said. “I’ve been outspoken about how the crime scene has been handled to date, and this is just another big question mark.”
Investigators spent weeks at the house, and the FBI returned in early November with equipment to map it in 3D.
Kohberger’s defense also returned on Thursday and Friday to examine the location one more time and take photographs.
“Being able to visit the crime scene in certain cases is extremely important,” said Edwina Elcox, a Boise-based defense attorney whose clients have included Idaho’s “cult mom” killer Lori Vallow. “Video and pictures can help, but may not accurately depict the scene in the way an in-person visit can do. The house should be preserved until the trial concludes or Kohberger pleads guilty.”
Kohberger’s trial had initially been scheduled for October – but he waived his right to speedy proceedings and has focused on challenging the indictment and DNA evidence instead.
Goncalves’ family, in a Facebook post, lamented the decision to tear down the building and said Dec. 28 would be “a very sad day.”
“Yes, Kaylee unfortunately died in that house, but more importantly, KAYLEE LIVED a fun, happy life in that house,” they wrote.