Idaho college murder suspect Bryan Kohberger requests more time to decide offering alibi

His defense says it 'needs time to make this determination and consider evidentiary rules.'

BySasha Pezenik ABCNews logo
Monday, June 12, 2023
Idaho murders victim's family fights gag order as Kohberger appears in court
The family of Univeristy of Idaho murders victim Kaylee Goncalves is fighting a gag order in the case.

MOSCOW, Idaho -- The man accused of killing four Idaho college students is asking the court for more time to decide whether to offer an alibi as he prepares to mount his defense at trial this fall, according to new court documents.

Bryan Kohberger's lawyer said in a motion filed Friday that because of the "voluminous" discovery process which is "still ongoing," and because they're still investigating the charges against their client, deciding now would be "at a minimum, premature as wading through the extensive information that makes up the case is incomplete."

Additionally, deciding at this juncture "may tread into disclosures of protected information," they said.

Bryan Kohberger enters the courtroom for a motion hearing regarding a gag order, Friday, June 9, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho.
Zach Wilkinson/The Moscow-Pullman Daily News via AP, Pool

Kohberger's defense says it "needs time to make this determination and consider evidentiary rules."

The Latah County Prosecutor's Office, leading the case against Kohberger, put in their demand for his notice of alibi a day after his May 22 arraignment.

According to Idaho law, defendants are supposed to respond to that demand within 10 days "or at such different time as the court may direct" with a written statement of where they claim to have been at the time of the alleged crime, along with the identities of the witnesses on whom they plan to rely for that alibi.

The defense is asking the court for more time to decide, or to make an exception to that rule. They ask that if the court is not "inclined to grant" their request, a hearing be set "to present oral argument, evidence and/or testimony" in support of their motion. No ruling has yet been issued.

Neither Kohberger's attorneys nor prosecutors immediately responded to requests for comment for this story from ABC News. The judge in the case has issued an order largely barring both parties from speaking publicly about the investigation, or pending prosecution, outside of court.

Kohberger, 28, was indicted last month and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary. At his arraignment in late May, Kohberger declined to offer a plea, so the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

A trial date has been set for Oct. 2.

Prosecutors allege that in the early morning hours of November 13, 2022, Kohberger, a criminology Ph.D. student at Washington State University, broke into an off-campus home and stabbed to death four University of Idaho students: Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

After a more than six-week hunt police zeroed in on Kohberger as a suspect, tracking his white Hyundai Elantra, cell phone signal data, and recovering what authorities say was his DNA on a knife sheath found next to one of the victims' bodies, according to court documents. He was arrested on December 30 in Pennsylvania, after driving cross-country to spend the holidays at his family home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania.

Since the time of Kohberger's arrest, the prosecution has disclosed roughly 51 terabytes of information as part of the discovery process, including "thousands of pages of discovery, thousands of photographs, hundreds of hours of recordings, further, many gigabytes of electronic phone record and social media data," according to court documents.

"Mr. Kohberger's investigation and preparation of his defense is underway," his defense said in a response to the state's alibi demand and request for discovery disclosure, filed Friday, adding that "as determinations are made" regarding trial evidence, "the same will be timely disclosed."

"Trial witnesses will be disclosed as determinations are made," the defense wrote. "Mr. Kohberger does intend to call individuals named in the State's supplied discovery materials."

ABC News' Nicholas Cirone contributed to this report.