In a recent development in the high-profile quadruple murder case involving university students, Idaho District Judge John Judge has acceded to the defendant Bryan Kohberger's plea to exclude media cameras from the courtroom.
However, the court will continue to stream the proceedings.
The decision, announced on Monday, comes in response to the intense media scrutiny on Kohberger, which the Judge believes has been detrimental. "It is the intense focus on Kohberger and his every move, along with adverse headlines and news articles, that leads the Court to conclude that continued photograph and video coverage inside the courtroom by the media should no longer be permitted," Judge stated in his ruling.
This ruling follows months of anticipation in the widely publicized case. "Friday's order states members of the media and public will not be allowed to record their own video, audio or take photographs of future hearings," said Nate Poppino, a spokesperson for Idaho courts. He added, "However, during future public hearings a court-provided livestream will be available through Judge John Judge's YouTube channel."
The Judge also dismissed a motion by a media coalition to intervene in the case. He criticized the media for disregarding his directives, particularly those instructing them not to focus solely on Kohberger's face or to record outside of court hours. "Additionally, defense counsel has raised continued concerns with video footage and photographs capturing private documents on counsel table. This is again in violation of the Courts directives," Judge wrote.
The case against Kohberger involves the fatal stabbing of four University of Idaho students. The victims, Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, both 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were attacked in their rental home at 4 a.m. Investigators found a knife sheath with Kohberger's DNA under Mogen's body, suggesting his involvement in the gruesome act.
Kohberger, who is set to turn 29 this week, was a Ph.D. student in criminology at Washington State University at the time of the crime. He holds a master's degree in criminal justice from DeSales University in Pennsylvania.
During his arraignment in May, Kohberger refrained from entering a plea. Consequently, Judge entered not guilty pleas on his behalf on four charges of first-degree murder and another of felony burglary. If convicted, Kohberger could face the death penalty by firing squad.