Unless, you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the four Idaho college students whose lives were tragically taken in November of 2022. Now that there’s been an arrest and the trial has been scheduled. But the question of whether or not Brian Kohberger is innocent is still being answered, as he is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
So, What’s Going on with the Case?
Is Kohberger Innocent?
Bryan Kohberger recently stood silent during his arraignment, meaning that—in the most simple terms—instead of entering a plea of guilty or not guilty, he chose not to enter any plea. Since Kohberger chose to stand silent, a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf. This preserves Kohberger’s right to contest the indictment. Simply put, being indicted, or charged, means that you have been formally accused of committing a crime, and there may be a trial if a plea deal is not taken, or the defendant does not plead guilty. However, there’s a difference between being indicted and being charged.
Indicted vs Charged
Generally speaking, police need to prove that there’s enough evidence to prosecute a defendant before they’re able to arrest the alleged perpetrator and charge him with the crime.
Usually, once a prosecutor decides there’s enough evidence to charge the alleged perpetrator with a crime, they issue an arrest warrant. However, sometimes, the prosecutors decide that they want to take it one step further by having a grand jury issue an indictment. Usually, this is up to the prosecutor’s discretion. They don’t necessarily have to have a grand jury review the evidence. This means that a grand jury reviews the evidence against the defendant and determines whether or not there’s enough evidence to indict the defendant. If there’s enough evidence, the grand jury will issue an indictment.
Contesting an Indictment
Is Kohberger Innocent?
If Kohberger’s defense team contests the indictment, they could be making an argument that there wasn’t enough evidence to indict him for the crimes. Or, they could be saying that something happened in the process that caused the indictment to be unfairly issued.
The defense will go over documents from the grand jury which may include information about jury members, information about how they were selected, transcripts from their meetings, and more. According to an interview with a criminal defense attorney who’s licensed in Idaho, the defense will likely need a court order to obtain the aforementioned information. Currently, the prosecution has pushed back on Kohberger’s request for additional information regarding the grand jury indictment.
What’s Going on with the Alibi?
You’ve probably heard that Kohberger’s defense team has requested more time to establish an alibi. Now, you might be wondering, why does he need more time to submit an alibi? Can’t he just tell us where he was and be done with it? Well, no, not really. Contrary to popular belief, when a defendant is claiming that they have an alibi, especially in a murder case, it’s not as easy as just claiming that you were at your friend’s house at the time of the crime. Alibis, understandably, are rigorously picked apart. Even if Kohberger truly is completely innocent and has a solid alibi, his defense attorney will likely need to pick apart every little detail of it and compare it with the massive amounts of evidence that the prosecution has handed over to ensure there are no holes in Kohberger’s alibi, and to iron out any contradictions in his alibi. Ensuring that there are no holes or contradictions in the alibi is standard and not necessarily evidence of guilt.
What Is Notice of an Alibi?
Is Kohberger Innocent?
In most states, defendants are required to give notice of an alibi within a specified time, if their defense is going to be based around the fact that they have an alibi. In Idaho, the rule says that a notice of alibi only needs to be done within ten days of being directed by the court. Since Kohberger’s trial isn’t scheduled until October 2nd, his attorneys are arguing that it’s too early for the prosecution to request his alibi. The burden of proof rests on the prosecution, not Kohberger. Therefore, he doesn’t necessarily need to have an alibi in order to avoid conviction—although having an alibi would substantially increase the likelihood of avoiding conviction—however, if the prosecution can prove that he was at the victims’ residence at the time of the murders, and he doesn’t have an alibi, that could be problematic for his case.
So, Is He Innocent? Guilty?
It’s still too early to make any guesses as to whether or not Kohberger is innocent or guilty. A lot of the evidence that police released can be explained away by a skilled attorney. However, the police have likely obtained more information and evidence than they’ve released to the public. We’ll likely have to wait until the trial in order to make a more informed prediction. So far, it seems like both the prosecution and the defense are leaving no stone unturned.