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Moscow murder suspect will remain in jail with no bail, given no contact order

Bryan Kohberger will be back in court for a status hearing on Jan. 12, 2023 at 10 a.m.

MOSCOW, Idaho — Bryan Kohberger, the 28-year-old suspect in the murder of four University of Idaho students, made his first appearance in court on Thursday morning after arriving in Idaho Wednesday night.

During the hearing, a Latah County judge ruled Kohberger would remain in jail without bail. Kohberger was also given a no-contact order that prohibits him from having any contact with the victims' families, friends and the surviving roommates.

Kohberger was booked into the Latah County Jail on Wednesday night. He faces first-degree murder and burglary charges for the deaths of Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, and Xana Kernodle on Nov. 13.

If Kohberger pleads guilty or is found guilty, he faces the death penalty or life in prison.

During Thursday's hearing, Kohberger was present with his public defender, Ann Taylor. Latah County Magistrate Megan Marshall informed Kohberger of his rights and read the charges against him.  

Because Kohberger is the defendant in this case, the state bears the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that he is responsible for the four murders. He is also eligible to have a preliminary hearing within 14 days of his first appearance.

If probable cause is established during the preliminary hearing, Kohberger's case will be transferred to Latah County District Court, at which point he will be allowed to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty or no contest. A jury trial will also be set at that time.

Kohberger's attorney requested a status hearing be held within a week of Thursday's hearing, at which point it will be decided if he will have a preliminary hearing. That hearing is scheduled for Jan. 12 at 10 a.m.

Taylor also made a "limited request" for bail to be set for Kohberger. She said the request is limited because she doesn't have enough information about the case, as she was appointed earlier this week.

Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson argued Kohberger is not entitled to bond due to the nature of the charges.

Judge Marshall ultimately decided Kohberger would be held without bail.

Thompson then asked the court to issue a no-contact order between Kohberger and those close to the case, such as the victims' families and the surviving roommates. Judge Marshall issued to no-contact order for a period of two years.

Kohberger was studying criminal justice at Washington State University (WSU). He was arrested in Monroe County, Pa. on Dec. 30. Kohberger later waived his extradition rights during a court hearing on Tuesday.

Later that same day, Latah County Court Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall issued an order prohibiting investigators, law enforcement, attorneys, and agents of the prosecuting attorney or defense attorney from speaking to the media or public about the Moscow murders.

According to court documents, the order will remain intact throughout court proceedings until a verdict has been reached or unless the mandate is modified by Latah County court.

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