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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Idaho murders house to be demolished today

The house where four University of Idaho students were murdered last year is set to be torn down today.

A delay in the trial of suspect Bryan Kohberger, originally set for October, had also delayed the demolition of the house on King Road in Moscow, Idaho, which had been given to the school earlier this year. Kohberger, 28, now expected toface trial next summerover the stabbing deaths of Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, both 21, and Xana Kernodle and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, both 20.

The university had announced that teams from both the prosecution and defense would have access to the six-bedroom house before its demolition, and the FBI had gathered additional information from the house in October. Neither the prosecution nor the defense have opposed demolition.

Demolition was set for during the school’s winter break, when fewer students would be in the area, according to the school.

“It is the grim reminder of the heinous act that took place there,” university president Scott Green said in a statement released earlier this month. “While we appreciate the emotional connection some family members of the victims may have to this house, it is time for its removal and to allow the collective healing of our community to continue.”

Kaylee Goncalves’ family, which has opposed the demolition, released a statement via their attorney Shanon Gray earlier this month, saying the house has evidentiary and emotional value and should not be demolished.

“The family has stressed tirelessly to the Prosecution and the University of Idaho the importance (evidentiary and emotionally) that the King Road house carries but nobody seems to care enough,” the family said in the statement, obtained by local station KREM. It’s like screaming into a void. Nobody is listening and everyone tells you how sorry they are for the decision but the families’ opinion isn’t a priority. Victims’ families have a voice and should be heard and listened to!”

The family of Ethan Chapin, who did not live at the house, offered its support for the demolition.

“We’re supportive of the decision to take down the King Street House — for the good of the University, its students (including our own kids), and the community of Moscow,” family members said in a statement earlier this month.

The four students were found stabbed to death in the rental home in November 2022. Two other roommates were unharmed. Kohberger, a graduate student in criminology at nearby Washington State University, was arrested the next month after a search that garnered national interest. He has pleaded not guilty.

University spokeswoman Jodi Walker told The Associated Press it would take a few hours to raze the house and a few more to clear the site, depending on the weather.

“That is an area that is dense with students, and many students have to look at it and live with it every day and have expressed to us how much it will help with the healing process to have that house removed,” she said.

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