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Plan to demolish home where four University of Idaho students were murdered is delayed

‘The university has decided to pause demolition and revisit the decision in October,’ University of Idaho President Scott Green said

Andrea Blanco
Wednesday 12 July 2023 23:58 BST
Moment Idaho student murders suspect arrives in court for arraignment

Plans to demolish the home where four University of Idaho students were murdered last year have been paused.

The delay follows requests from family members of the victims that the decision is revisited in October, when the only suspect in the case, 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger, is expected to face trial. Mr Kohberger is accused of brutally stabbing Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin to death in the early morning hours of 13 November.

The owner of the property donated it to the school after the killings, and the university announced earlier this year that it was planning to demolish the home. University spokesperson Jodi Walker previously told The Idaho Statesman that the school wanted the house gone before the start of the fall semester.

But Shannon Gray, an attorney representing Goncalves’ family, said in an email to the newspaper that the “home itself has enormous evidentiary value as well as being the largest, and one of the most important, pieces of evidence in the case.”

Although the prosecution and the defence did not object to having the house demolished before the trial, the university said in a memo on Wednesday that it will pause the process and revisit the decision in October.

“In response to this tragedy, we have tried to do what is right, knowing full well there are no actions or decisions that will be, met with full support,” the memo, obtained by KHQ, read. “This is why the decision about what to do with the King Road house is so difficult.”

It continued: “There are people who want the house taken down because it brings a constant reminder of the heinous acts that happened inside.

Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were stabbed to death on 13 November inside the young women’s rental home (Instagram/Kaylee Goncalves)

“On the other hand, there are people who are grieving that worry that the demolition of the house could impact the court case.

“With all this in mind, the university has decided to pause demolition and revisit the decision in October.”

Mr Kohberger previously refused to enter a plea at his arraignment on four charges of first-degree murder and one charge of burglary. His attorney said that he was “standing silent” on the charges, leaving the judge to enter not-guilty pleas on his behalf.

Mr Kohberger’s trial is scheduled for 2 October, but the date is expected to be delayed following his defence’s filings.

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