Idaho state prosecutors filed documents to seek the death penalty against Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in an off-campus rental home on Nov. 13, 2022.
Prosecuting attorney William W. Thompson, Jr. said in the filing that the crime was “especially heinous, atrocious or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity.”
He goes on to say the defendant exhibited an “utter disregard for human life,” adding that by his conduct, he has “exhibited a propensity to commit murder which will probably constitute a continuing threat to society.”
“Considering all evidence currently known to the State, the State is compelled to file this notice of intent to seek the death penalty,” Thompson wrote.
Prior to the filing, the prosecution filed details on how authorities were led to believe DNA from a knife sheath found near 21-year-old Madison Mogen’s body belonged to Kohberger, which was a “statistical match” to DNA from a cheek swab after his arrest.
Along with Mogen, 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves, 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, and 20-year-old Ethan Chapin were killed in November at the home in Moscow, Idaho.
Kohberger faces four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary.
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He has been held in jail without bail since he was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania in late December.
A judge entered not guilty pleas for the suspect. His trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 2.
The prosecution’s intent to seek the death penalty come on the same day Kohberger’s defense team claimed their client had “no connection” with the victims.
The defense team took issue with the prosecution’s DNA collection, use of genetic genealogy and tracking of a white sedan that they claim link Kohberger to the murders of the students, though DNA from three other unidentified males was found at the crime scene, including on a glove outside the home.
“No matter what came first, the car or the genetic genealogy, the investigation has provided precious little,” Kohberger’s defense team argued. “There is no connection between Mr. Kohberger and the victims.”
The defense also said they were unaware of any testing being conducted on the three DNA samples.
Investigators, according to court documents, utilized investigative genetic genealogy techniques that are relatively new, and the FBI checked the DNA sample against public DNA databases and subscription-only archives exclusive to law enforcement.
Once investigators developed a lead and collected a DNA sample from the trash outside Kohberger’s parents’ Pennsylvania home, they found a familial match and retrieved samples from Kohberger after his arrest.
The suspect was in grad school at Washington State University, studying criminology.
Chris Eberhart of Fox News Digital contributed to this report.