Judge Orders Partial Release of DNA Records in Idaho Murder Trial, Granting Small Victory to Defense Attorneys

MOSCOW, Idaho – A judge in Idaho’s 2nd Judicial District has issued a late filing regarding the disclosure of information related to the use of advanced DNA technology. The technology in question is investigative genetic genealogy (IGG), which involves using DNA from a crime scene to build a family tree through online genealogy services. This allows investigators to potentially identify suspects connected to crimes.

The judge’s order, posted on a repository of court records, grants the defense attorneys representing the accused, Kohberger, access to some of the requested DNA records. The defense team had been seeking this evidence to analyze it in order to strengthen their case.

The investigation into the murder trial of four University of Idaho students, who were killed at their off-campus house in November of 2022, led detectives to discover a leather sheath for a combat-style knife. Touch DNA evidence found on the sheath’s button snap was later linked to Kohberger, becoming a key piece of evidence in the case.

However, it should be noted that this ruling is only a partial victory for the defense. The judge’s order specifies that only “some” of the information will be disclosed, with a sealed order protecting the privacy of the IGG information, including individuals on the family tree.

Since May of 2023, Kohberger’s defense team has repeatedly requested the release of documents and evidence held by the state and FBI related to the investigation. This recent development will provide them with some of the requested information.

In another development, the house where the crime took place was recently demolished by the University of Idaho, to which it had been given by the homeowner. No trial date has been set for Kohberger, who was arrested in December of 2022 at his parents’ house in Pennsylvania. He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary, and prosecutors in Latah County intend to seek the death penalty if he is convicted.

In conclusion, an Idaho judge has granted Kohberger’s defense team access to some of the sought-after DNA records related to the use of investigative genetic genealogy in an ongoing murder trial. While this ruling represents a partial victory for the defense, the specifics of the information to be disclosed remain protected. The trial date for Kohberger has yet to be determined, but the prosecution intends to seek the death penalty if he is convicted.