Idaho murders suspect, Bryan Kohlberger, stood silent at his pre-trial arraignment, choosing to “stand silent”. According to Kohlberger’s lawyer, Anne Taylor, it meant Kohlberger would not be entering any plea at this time. Judge John C. Judge entered a plea of not guilty, read out all of the counts against Kohlberger, and asked Kohlberger if he understood the charges as they stand; which Kohlberger affirmed cognizance of. Kohlberger is eligible for the death penalty for each count of first degree murder.
Tentatively, the trial is set to begin on October 2nd, in Moscow, Idaho. Kohlberger has stated, through his lawyer, that he expects to be exonerated. Some of the victims’ family members were in attendance during the arraignment.
Kohlberger, 28, is facing four counts of first degree murder and one count of burglary, connected to the brutal slayings of four University of Idaho students on November 13th. The quiet town of Moscow was rocked by the killings, which were the first recorded in roughly seven years. Each victim was killed whilst retiring to their respective rooms in a shared house after a night of celebration. The four students who died that night are Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20.
Investigators linked Kohlberger to the murders via DNA evidence found on a knife sheath left at the crime scene; as well as surveillance video that showed a car similar to Kohlberger’s near the house around the time of the murders. Kohlberger was also enrolled in Washington State University, pursuing a doctorate in criminology. Washington State University is less than 10 miles away from the University of Idaho.
Legal experts have noted that “standing silent” is equivalent to entering a plea of not guilty; however, it offers the defendant more options in plea negotiations. This action also makes it easy for Kohlberger and his team to later plead guilty later to avoid the death penalty.