There was a glaring mistake at the Idaho murders hearing (2024)

There was a glaring mistake at the Idaho murders hearing (1)

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The grieving family of slain University of Idaho Kaylee Goncalves has complained to the court after the judge presiding over their daughter’s murder case mispronounced her name.

Bryan Kohberger, accused of the 13 November stabbings of Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, appeared in Latah County Court in Moscow to enter a plea on Monday (22 May).

During the brief hearing, Judge John Judge informed Mr Kohberger of his rights, the charges against him and the penalties – including the death penalty – if he is convicted.

But while reading out the charges, the judge mispronounced two of the victims’ names. First, he appeared to call Goncalves “Kayla” and then struggled to pronounce Kernodle’s first name, ultimately saying “Zana.”

“This is hard, I’m sorry,” the judge told the court.


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According to reporters present during the hearing, Goncalves’ sister Alivea Goncalves was seen shaking her head in disapproval. Ms Goncalves later complained to the victim assistance coordinator, COURTV reported.

Before the hearing kicked off on Monday, the grieving sister was seen arriving in court with her parents and newborn baby, who she named in part after Goncalves and Mogen.

There was a glaring mistake at the Idaho murders hearing (5)

Monday’s hearing appears to be the first time Judge Judge presided over a hearing in which Mr Kohberger was present. He has been on the district court bench since 2008.

Mr Kohberger last appeared in court on 12 January to waive his rights to an expedited preliminary hearing, with Judge Megan Marshall presiding at the time.

In an unusual move on Monday, Mr Kohberger’s attorney said that he was “standing silent” on the charges, leaving the judge to enter not-guilty pleas on his behalf.

There was a glaring mistake at the Idaho murders hearing (6)

Shackled and dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit with what appeared to be protective armour underneath, the accused killer entered the courtroom just after 9am PT, giving his attorney Anne Taylor a brief smile as he sat down next to her.

The judge went through each count individually, saying aloud each of the victims’ names.

Mr Kohberger showed no emotion or expression as he stared straight ahead at the judge while hearing the names of the students who he is accused of violently killing.

Mr Kohberger spoke only to answer defiantly and loudly “yes” and “yes I do” when asked if he understood the charges, maximum penalties and his rights in the court.

The prosecution now has 60 days to confirm whether or not they are seeking the death penalty in the case.

Mr Kohberger is accused of breaking into an off-campus student home on King Road and stabbing the victims to death with a large, military-style knife.

There was a glaring mistake at the Idaho murders hearing (7)

Two other female roommates lived with the three women at the property and were home at the time of the massacre but survived.

One of the survivors – Dylan Mortensen – came face to face with the masked killer, dressed in head to toe black and with bushy eyebrows, as he left the home in the aftermath of the murders, according to the criminal affidavit.

For more than six weeks, no arrests were made and no suspects named before law enforcement swooped on Mr Kohberger’s family home in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, on 30 December and arrested him for the quadruple murders.

There was a glaring mistake at the Idaho murders hearing (8)

An affidavit released in January revealed that Mr Kohberger’s DNA was found on a knife sheath left behind at the scene of the murders

It also revealed that his white Hyundai Elantra was caught on surveillance footage close to the crime scene.

New details have emerged since about what was found during an initial search of his apartment in Pullman and a rental storage unit. The court documents show that two items found in his apartment – a mattress cover on the bed and an uncased pillow – tested positive for blood.

Judge Judge has set Mr Kohberger’s trial date for 2 October 2023 following a request by Mr Kohberger’s attorney to set the date as late as possible. The trial is expected to take around six weeks.

There was a glaring mistake at the Idaho murders hearing (2024)


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