On Wednesday, a Washington court unsealed the search warrants for the office and apartment of Bryan Kohberger, the 28-year-old Washington State University Ph.D. student accused of stabbing four University of Idaho undergraduates to death in the nearby town of Moscow, Idaho.
A search of Kohberger’s office at the Washington State’s department of criminal justice and criminology turned up no evidence, but hair samples, fabric with dark red stains and a single black glove along with other evidence, were found at his apartment.
While the warrants were initially sealed, a Washington judge ordered that redacted versions of the documents be released. Investigators describe in the files previously undisclosed evidence that they were seeking, including blood, DNA, shoes with diamond-pattern soles and “data compilations” of information about the victims and the house on King Road in which they were murdered.
Kohberger is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and another of felony burglary after he allegedly snuck into a six-bedroom house near the University of Idaho, about 10 miles away from his Washington apartment, and ambushed four undergrads around 4 a.m. on Nov. 13, stabbing them to death with what is believed to be a fixed blade knife.
The warrants contain new details about what investigators found after arresting the suspect, who had obtained a master’s degree in criminal justice from DeSales University. They allege that Kohberger had planned the ambush and had studied other murders and how to avoid detection as part of his preparations.
“These murders appear to have been planned, rather than a crime that happened in a moment of conflict,” an affidavit seeking the search warrant reads.
Police retrieved a single “nitrite-type black glove,” a Walmart receipt and Dickies tag, two receipts from a Marshalls store, the dust container from a Bissell vacuum, eight “possible hair strands,” a Fire TV stick, a single “possible animal hair strand,” four other “possible” hairs and a computer tower from Kohberger’s apartment.
Because the victims’ home contained “a significant amount” of blood, spatter and castoff, investigators believed they would find some of that evidence in Kohberger’s apartment. When they entered the building, the found several items in the bedroom, including a dark red spot, two “cuttings from uncased pillow of reddish/brown stain” and mattress covers with multiple stains.
The filings add that Kohberger lived in the apartment alone.
“I’m sure by now they have the DNA on the human and animal hair and know exactly where they came from,” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “If those hairs came back to any victim or the dog, they hit the jackpot.”
Police had done an “excellent job” with the investigation, Giacalone said, adding that with the amount of evidence, at this point, finding the murder weapon may not be necessary to convict.
“The only defense argument I can see to discredit the evidence is to say that it was transferred there by the police themselves, which of course depends on what substrate it was found on and if those cops were recently at the crime scene,” he said.