Idaho Murder Suspect Declines to Enter Plea

Bryan Kohberger, the former Ph.D. student accused of killing four University of Idaho students, appeared in court Monday after being indicted on murder charges.

The man accused of murdering four college students during a predawn intrusion at their house near the University of Idaho declined to enter a plea to the charges Monday, electing to “stand silent” during the first step in what promises to be a lengthy legal process.

Judge John C. Judge said he would enter a not-guilty plea for the defendant, Bryan Kohberger, after Mr. Kohberger’s lawyer, Anne Taylor, said her client had elected not to enter any plea at this stage. Mr. Kohberger has said through a lawyer in the past that he expects to be exonerated

A trial was set to begin in October in Moscow, the quiet Idaho college town that had not recorded a murder in the seven years before the four students were killed Nov. 13.

Investigators have said in court records that they linked Mr. Kohberger to the killings with the help of DNA found on a knife sheath at the crime scene, 

as well as through surveillance video that showed a car similar to his near the house around the time of the killings.

At that time, Mr. Kohberger was studying for a doctorate in criminology at Washington State University, a few miles across the state border from the University of Idaho campus. 

Prosecutors have not disclosed any prior connections between him and any of the four victims — Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.

In the hours before the killings, Ms. Mogen and Ms. Goncalves were out at a bar, and they stopped at a food truck before returning home. Ms. Kernodle and Mr. Chapin were at a party.

Investigators said that the victims and two other people who lived in the house were home by 2 a.m. on Nov. 13. After that, investigators have said, surveillance video showed a white car appearing repeatedly next to the house. Mr. Kohberger drove a white Hyundai Elantra.

The authorities said Mr. Kohberger’s cellphone was moving through the region in the early morning hours, but was disconnected from cell networks — perhaps it had been turned off, they said — during a two-hour period around the time of the killings.