"No Cameras Allowed in Idaho Murders Trial, But You Can Watch It Live!"

Bryan Kohberger is charged with four counts of murder in connection with the deaths of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

"No Cameras Allowed in Idaho Murders Trial, But You Can Watch It Live!"
21 Nov 2023, 02:34 PM
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Judge Bans Cameras and Audio Recording Devices in Courtroom

The judge overseeing the case of a man accused of stabbing four University of Idaho students to death late last year is banning members of the media and the public from using cameras and audio recording devices in the courtroom, saying they jeopardize the defendant's right to a fair trial.

Second District Judge John Judge in Moscow, Idaho, said the court would, however, operate a livestream, available on its YouTube channel, that would ensure members of the public can observe the proceedings.

Bryan Kohberger is charged with four counts of murder in connection with the deaths at a rental house near the university campus in Moscow last November. A judge entered a not-guilty plea on Kohberger's behalf earlier this year. Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson has said he intends to seek the death penalty, and the case is scheduled for trial this fall, although it could be postponed.

Judge Bans News Cameras in Courtroom During Kohberger Trial

A judge has granted a request by Kohberger's attorneys to ban news cameras from the courtroom during the trial. The judge stated that despite strict conditions, some photographic and video coverage had focused too heavily on Kohberger, and that shots depicting him entering or exiting the courtroom were taken when court was not in session. The judge concluded that the intense focus on Kohberger and negative media coverage warranted the ban on photograph and video coverage inside the courtroom.

Wendy Olson, an attorney representing a coalition of media organizations, including The Associated Press, did not respond to requests for comment.

The bodies of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle, and Ethan Chapin were found on November 13, 2022, at a home near the University of Idaho campus. Investigators have linked Kohberger to the slayings through DNA evidence, cellphone data, and surveillance video. According to an affidavit, Kohberger's cellphone pinged near the house 12 times prior to the murders, leading investigators to believe he had been scouting the area.

"He had to know when people were coming, people were going," said Steve Goncalves, Kaylee's father.

Kohberger, a graduate student studying criminology at Washington State University, was arrested at his parents' home in Pennsylvania. The case has attracted widespread interest due to its unusual details.

The judge's order, which cannot be appealed, aims to balance the public's interest with Kohberger's right to a fair trial and the orderly administration of justice. The court will now have control over the video footage of the proceedings, alleviating concerns and allowing the media and the public access to the recordings.

Last month, the judge rejected a motion to dismiss Kohberger's indictment.