Idaho murders update: Video shows Bryan Kohberger in traffic stop month before students' killings

ByTaylor Romine, Veronica Miracle and Jason Hanna, CNN, CNNWire
Saturday, May 6, 2023
Video shows Kohberger in traffic stop month before Idaho murders
Video shows Bryan Kohberger one month before the University of Idaho murders of Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin.

MOSCOW, Idaho -- Police video obtained by CNN shows Bryan Kohberger -- now charged in the November killings of four University of Idaho students -- talking with an officer during a traffic stop in Washington state a month before the slayings.

The traffic stop by an officer at Washington State University -- which Kohberger attended and is near the Idaho college -- was cited in a probable cause affidavit for Kohberger's December arrest, as WSU authorities' knowledge of his vehicle would play a role in his identification as a suspect.

CNN obtained the video from WSU through a public records request.

In the WSU officer's body camera video from October 14, 2022, the officer tells Kohberger -- who is seated in his vehicle -- that she pulled him over because he ran a red light after having improperly stopped at an intersection.

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Kohberger discusses the details of his turn through the intersection with the officer and shares his license and registration, according to the video. The officer tells him what the best course of action would be in the future.

Kohberger tells the officer that the area of Pennsylvania he's from -- which he later describes as rural -- doesn't have crosswalks, and that he's not used to worrying about blocking them, footage shows.

The officer returns to her patrol car to check information about Kohberger and his vehicle, and then returns and shares specifics about the law, the video shows. She tells him she isn't writing a ticket for the incident, and he said he apologizes if she took him conversing about differences between Washington and Pennsylvania law as disagreement.

"I do apologize if I was asking you too many questions about the law. I wasn't trying to, like, disagree with you," Kohberger says. The officer says she understands his questions, and they part ways.

Kohberger, 28, is charged with first-degree murder in the November stabbings of Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, at a home just outside the University of Idaho's main campus in Moscow.

READ MORE | Idaho college murders: Court denies request to lift gag order in Bryan Kohberger case

The discovery of the bloody crime scene on November 13 shattered the Idaho college town and frayed the nerves of students and residents as the search for a suspect ensued.

Kohberger has yet to enter a plea and is being held without bail in the Latah County Jail in Idaho. A court order prohibits all parties from commenting beyond referencing the public records of the case.

How the vehicle figured into a hunt for a suspect

Kohberger was a graduate student at Washington State University's Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and lived in Pullman, Washington, at the time of his arrest at his parents' Pennsylvania home in December.

Pullman, home to WSU, is less than 10 miles west of the University of Idaho.

After the Idaho killings were discovered, investigators focused on a white Hyundai Elantra seen on surveillance footage near the crime scene, according to a probable cause affidavit released in January.

RELATED | Idaho college murders timeline: From off-campus killings to Bryan Kohberger's court appearance

By November 25, area law enforcement had been notified to be on the lookout for such an Elantra, the affidavit said. Days later, WSU police identified a white Elantra and found it was registered to Kohberger, the affidavit reads.

When investigators searched for his driver's license information, they found it consistent with the description of a man dressed in black provided by a surviving roommate of the victims, the affidavit says, specifically noting his height, weight and bushy eyebrows.

Investigators then linked Kohberger to the crime scene after DNA on a tan leather knife sheath found lying next to one of the victims was linked to DNA on trash recovered from Kohberger's family home, according to the affidavit.

Kohberger has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.

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