There are several key revelations in the affidavit that connects arrested suspect Bryan Kohberger to the fatal stabbings that occurred on Nov. 13 at the University of Idaho.
The 19-page document contains five shocking revelations that former homicide detective Fil Waters and Law&Crime’s Angenette Levy discussed in an extensive podcast interview.
1) Kohberger’s DNA was found on the knife sheath
According to Moscow Police’s Brett Payne, when he entered the room where Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen were sleeping, he noticed a “tan leather knife sheath laying on the bed next to Mogen’s right side,” according to the affidavit.
“Ka-Bar,” “USMC,” as well as the eagle globe and anchor of the United States Marine Corps were stamped on the sheath. Kohberger’s DNA was found on the snap of the button.
In a previous Sidebar interview, Waters described the look and function of the then-rumored murder weapon, the Ka-Bar knife.
“When we first talked about this, I showed you the Ka-Bar that I have, that same type of sheath sitting in my office at my home,” explained Waters. “I just think it’s interesting that as brilliant as [Kohberger] has been portrayed to be, he has left that piece of evidence behind at the scene.”
Additionally, agents dug through the trash at the Kohberger family residence in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, to send out for testing. The DNA profiles of the sheath and the trash closely matched those of Michael Kohberger, Michael’s father. The affidavit states, “At least 99.9998% of the male population would be expected to be excluded from the possibility of being the suspect’s biological father.”
There is still no indication of where the knife was purchased or whether Kohberger’s father served in the armed forces, according to Levy.
“This is the type of thing where you could probably find this online or the pawn shop,” she advised.
2) Kohberger may have been spotted by one of his surviving roommates on the night of the murders
Throughout the affidavit, D.M. is referred to as the roommate and recalls that Goncalves said something to the effect of “There is someone here.”.
The woman opened her door a few times, once when she heard what she “thought was crying coming from [Xana] Kernodle’s room.” Additionally, she heard what sounded like a male voice saying, “It’s ok, I’m going to help you.”
She opened the door after hearing crying a third time and found a figure in black clothing wearing a mask covering their mouth and nose. D.M. had described the figure as “5’10” or taller, male, athletically built with bushy eyebrows.” He walked by her as she stood frozen.
Reports indicate that D.M. failed to call the police for several hours. According to Fil Waters, it is impossible to know what D.M. thought at the time, since “people do different things under stress.”
“And while it’s detailed in the affidavit that she saw these things, we don’t know that he saw anything,” Waters said. “He’s moving around in the dark. He’s got this mask over his nose and his mouth. He’s already done what he’s going to do or he’s on his way to do it. He’s already focused on where he’s headed and whether it’s to leave it.
“And remember, it’s dark in there. Certainly what it indicates to me is that he didn’t see her. She saw him, which was certainly to her benefit.”
3) Kohberger’s cell phone tracked him
Kohberger’s cell phone was active at 2:42 am at his Pullman, WA home. At 2:47 am, the phone began traveling south, consistent with the suspected white Elantra’s route south.
Later, the network was disabled and didn’t reappear until 4:48 a.m.
In the affidavit, Payne stated: “Based on my training, experience, and conversations with law enforcement officers that specialize in the utilization of cellular telephone records as part of investigations, individuals can either leave their cellular telephone at a different location before committing a crime or turn their cellular telephone off prior to going to a location to commit a crime.”
The cell phone evidence was significant to Levy.
“One of the key pieces there is the fact that his cell phone pinged off of a tower on the night of the murders at certain points in time,” she said. “But during a period of time in that window, there’s no signal from this cell phone.”
According to Waters, this was “good old-fashioned detective work.”
“One of the first things they’re going to do – is that they’re going to go out there and they’re going to try to draw from any kind of video surveillance evidence that they can draw from,” Waters said. “And that’s exactly what they did in reference to the cell phone. I guess he was brilliant enough to turn it off when he was in there doing what he was allegedly doing. But he wasn’t smart enough or didn’t think about the fact that he needed to turn it off the entire time that he was making his reconnaissance of that structure and those people.”
Kohberger’s cell service was also detected by the victims’ home on “at least twelve occasions prior to Nov. 13. 2022.” One of these incidents occurred at 11:40 pm on August 21, when he was pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt.
“Why is he out and about at 11:40 p.m. at night? So the cell phone evidence in this case, I think is very significant,” Levy explained. “I don’t think you can hang your hat on it entirely. It’s just another kind of piece of the mosaic that is going to, you know, paint this picture that they kept talking about.”
4) A white Elantra drives by the victims’ home several times before they are murdered
The suspect white Elantra was tracked from Kohberger’s home in Pullman, Washington, to the victim’s home in Moscow, Idaho. According to reports, the vehicle passed their home three times before stopping at the supposed time of the murders.
“These sightings show suspect vehicle I makes an initial three passes by the 1122 King Road residence and then leave,” the affidavit states. “Suspect vehicle 1 can be seen entering the area a fourth time at approximately 4:04 a.m.”
5) Kohberger studied criminology and posted a survey about criminal activity
Kohberger’s academic resume was also included in the affidavit, which listed him as a Ph.D student in Criminology at Washington State University. Psychology and cloud-based forensics were his undergraduate degrees.
He applied for an internship with the Pullman Police Department last fall.
“Kohberger wrote in his essay he had interest in assisting rural law enforcement agencies with how to better collect and analyze technological data in public safety operations,” the document states.
The article also mentioned that he posted a Reddit survey asking participants to “provide information to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision making when committing a crime.”
Kohberger’s criminology studies and the survey were among the first pieces of information Levy found after his arrest last week. Moreover, Levy learned that Katherine Ramsland, an expert in serial killers, taught one of his undergraduate classes.
“So we learned that the police were on to all of this,” explained Levy. “The whole time they were telling us they didn’t have a suspect. They were on to him.”