- The defense team for Bryan Kohberger, accused of murdering four University of Idaho students, has criticized the use of genetic genealogy and DNA collection methods used by prosecutors, citing a lack of clarity in how their client was singled out as the primary suspect.
- Despite DNA from three unidentified males being found at the crime scene, the defense argues that prosecutors have failed to provide a substantial link between Kohberger and the victims. The defense also criticizes the authorities’ reliance on genetic genealogy, which is a relatively new technique in criminal investigations.
- Kohberger’s lawyers are pressing for the release of details regarding the genetic genealogy profile created in the case, claiming that the state is attempting to hide crucial aspects of its investigation. The trial is set to begin on October 2, with Kohberger facing the possibility of the death penalty if convicted.
The legal defense for Bryan Kohberger, accused of murdering four University of Idaho students, has slammed prosecutors’ DNA collection methods and use of genetic genealogy, questioning its reliability in linking Kohberger to the crime scene.
The four students – Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20 – were killed in a rental home off-campus in November 2022.
According to a court filing from June 22, DNA from three other unidentified males was discovered at the scene of the crime, including on a glove found outside the home.
Kohberger’s defense has expressed their concern about the lack of information regarding any testing on these three DNA samples.
In a statement, Kohberger’s legal team said, “It remains unclear what the police first relied on in focusing their investigation on Mr. Kohberger.”
They are challenging the law enforcement’s use of genetic genealogy and questioning how police came to focus on a white Elantra allegedly linked to their client.
Despite the authorities’ claim of a “statistical match” between DNA from a knife sheath found near one of the victim’s bodies and Kohberger’s cheek swab, his defense insists that the investigation has provided “precious little” connection between their client and the victims.
Further criticism revolves around the relatively new genetic genealogy techniques used in the investigation.
The defense argues that prosecutors do not have the right to data from the FBI found through genetic genealogy sites and accuses the prosecution of withholding details of the genetic genealogy profile that was created.
“A massive investigation came to focus on (Kohberger) and (Kohberger) alone,” his defense team wrote.
“The State appears to be trying to hide its original domino such that he cannot discover why.”
Kohberger’s defense team is pushing for the release of this information in detail, claiming that the state is hiding its entire case through non-disclosure and their motion to protect the genetic genealogy investigation.
Kohberger has been held in jail without bail since his arrest in December at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania.
He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is set to begin on October 2.
If convicted, Kohberger could face the death penalty.
This case illustrates the growing controversies surrounding the use of genetic genealogy in criminal investigations, raising questions about the privacy and the reliability of the new techniques being used to solve crimes.
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