Bryan Kohberger’s attorney denied media reports about her work for mother of Idaho murders victim
The public defender representing Idaho murders suspect Bryan Kohberger has denied directly representing the mother of one of his victims.
Anne Taylor is representing Mr Kohberger in his upcoming trial for the murders of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin, and Xana Kernodle. She addressed claims of a conflict of interest with Kernodle’s mother during a Zoom hearing in Mr Kohberger’s case on 27 January, according to newly unsealed documents filed in Latah County.
Days before the hearing, reports emerged that Ms Taylor had previously represented Kernodle’s mother Cara Northington but was removed as her attorney due to the Kohberger case.
Northington spoke out against Ms Taylor in a NewsNation interview on 26 January, saying she felt “betrayed” by the lawyer dropping her case and claiming she’d given Ms Taylor her power of attorney.
“I’d already signed over power of attorney so that she could help me with getting into rehab and whatnot,” said Ms Northington, who has a long history of brushes with the law. “I trusted her. She pretended that she was wanting to help me. And to find out that she’s representing him – I can’t even convey how betrayed I feel.”
Ms Taylor refuted those claims at the hearing, explaining that her name appeared in nearly every document filed in Kootenai County criminal cases because she is the county’s chief public defender, but that does not imply she is always an acting attorney. She said that she had never met Northington in person or offered her legal advice.
The court said that when a potential conflict of interest arises, it is up to the attorney to recuse themselves. Ms Taylor, one of 13 qualified public defenders in the state to represent defendants in a potential death penalty case, said she did not believe there is a conflict and Mr Kohberger agreed to be represented by her.
Public records obtained by KREM2 last month showed that Latah County, where the murders took place, agreed to pay a fee of $200 per hour for Ms Taylor’s services in t Mr Kohberger’s defence during the 40-hour work-week. A second-seat attorney was also hired for $180 per hour, while investigators chosen by Ms Taylor will be paid an hourly rate of $45.
Additional gas, lodging and meal expenses that incur when the legal team travels from Kootenai County to Latah County could cost taxpayers thousands of dollars per week.
Documents unsealed this week have also revealed the items seized from Mr Kohberger’s family home in Pennsylvania during his 30 December arrest.
Two new warrants made public on Thursday and obtained by The Independent show that investigators collected a Glock .40 caliber gun, empty gun magazines, a knife, a pocket knife, black face masks, black gloves, electronic devices, and more clothing items during the same search.
Officers also took four swabs from the home. Four laptops, two computers, a cell phone and two hard drives were found at the residence. A “note to dad from Bryan” was also among the items seized.
Mr Kohberger’s Pennsylvania home was raided on the same day as another search at Mr Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman, Washington, where he was studying criminology at Washington State University. His apartment was a 15-minute drive from the crime scene in Moscow.
The warrant from the Washington search was made public last month, revealing investigators seized a “collection of dark red” spotting and a pillow with a “reddish/brown stain” at Mr Kohberger’s Pullman apartment. A Fire TV stick and possible animal hair strands were also taken by law enforcement.
In addition to the DNA found at the scene, Mr Kohberger was linked to the murders through cellphone data and surveillance video of what prosecutors believe to be his white Hyundai Elantra leaving the scene after the slayings, according to the affidavit for his arrest.
One of the victims’ surviving roommates was also able to partially describe the killer to investigators after she came face to face with him in the aftermath of the murders.
Mr Kohberger is set to appear in court for a preliminary hearing on 26 June.