(NewsNation) — Bryan Kohberger has officially been given the green light to add another attorney to his defense team.
His current lawyer Anne Taylor, chief of the Kootenai County Public Defender’s Office, made the request last week. A Latah County judge gave the approval.
“I think everyone involved in this case thinks it’s relatively obvious that they will go after the death penalty,” former federal prosecutor Andrew Cherkasky said during an appearance Wednesday on NewsNation’s “Banfield.” “In fact, I can see no reason under the law why they would not.”
In death penalty cases in the state of Idaho, under the administrative code, defense counsel is required to have at least two “death-qualified” attorneys.
“While the prosecution doesn’t have to announce that they’re seeking the death penalty until 30 days after the initial arraignment … I think everybody sees the writing on the wall, and they want to get their defense team in order at this point,” Cherkasky added.
Kohberger is facing charges for the stabbing deaths of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin in November 2022. Kohberger, 28, was a criminal justice graduate student at nearby Washington State University.
The bodies were found Nov. 13 at a rental home across the street from the University of Idaho campus. The slayings shocked the rural Idaho community and neighboring Pullman, Washington, where Washington State University is located.
The case has garnered widespread publicity, and in January, Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall issued a sweeping gag order, barring attorneys, law enforcement agencies and others associated with the case from talking or writing about it.
This week, the family of Goncalves released a statement about the gag order. In it, they say they “firmly believe” the media’s coverage, as well as witnesses and “undeniable evidence,” led to an arrest.
It is clear from the newly released memo by Judge Marshall in this matter that she does not believe that the “gag” non-dissemination order applies to the victim’s families. Only through the hard work of our attorney were we able to get the clarification that was needed.
Our attorney (Mr. Gray) has been informed through a public filing ‘Notice Regarding Hearing Date On Motion To Appeal, Amend And/Or Clarify Amended Non-dissemination Order’ that Judge Marshall will not provide a hearing or address the other issues raised in the motion until the Idaho Supreme Court makes a decision in The Associated Press, et.al v. Second Judicial District of the State of Idaho (County of Latah, Honorable Megan Marshall) Docket No. 50482-2023.
That being said, we are confident that once the decision is made in the above case that Mr. Gray will once again be able to speak on our behalf. He will continue to address any concerns our family has while continuing to hold the investigators, prosecutor and all parties accountable as the family supports the prosecution of Mr. Kohberger.
We would like to thank everyone across the country and worldwide for their donations/gifts, support and prayers. They have given us strength everyday in this battle for justice.
Finally, we firmly believe it was the coverage by the media of the victims families, numerous witnesses and undeniable evidence that led to an arrest in this case.
May God Bless You!Statement from the goncalves family
Shanon Gray, an attorney for the Goncalves family, filed an opposition to the gag order in state court and has said the gag order is unduly broad and places an undue burden on the families.
Kohberger could potentially face execution by firing squad if he’s convicted of killing the four University of Idaho students and if proposed legislation clears the Idaho state legislature.
A preliminary hearing date for Kohberger is set to begin at 9 a.m. June 26.