Michael Novakhov - SharedNewsLinks℠

State must submit materials from genealogical investigation in Idaho quadruple murder by Dec. 1

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LATAH COUNTY, Idaho – A hearing in the case against Bryan Kohberger, charged with the murders of four University of Idaho students last year, was held Thursday morning over Zoom. During the meeting, the judge heard arguments from the prosecution and defense over what evidence could and should be provided to Kohberger’s defense from the initial genealogical profile created to narrow the suspect pool early in the murder investigation.

Kohberger’s defense has repeatedly requested details related to the DNA evidence used to create a genealogical profile through Othram, a private company which specializes in Investigative Genetic Genealogy, or IGG.

IGG is frequently used by the FBI and other agencies in cold cases and other criminal investigations. Through crime scene DNA, it is able to create a genealogical tree with possible relations to the suspect, which can help narrow down a much broader investigation. According to the State, the FBI mandates these initial profiles be deleted after use and material destroyed to protect the privacy of both the suspect and of any potential relations.

In the case against Bryan Kohberger, the prosecution has argued intel gathered from the IGG profile was not used to form probable cause and make an arrest, and it would not be included in the trial. 

Thursday’s hearing was set up in response to the ninth request filed by the defense for details related to the IGG profile.

While the prosecution has argued some of the information may be privileged and other items requested no longer exist, the defense claims that is not true and the prosecution is deliberately misleading the court. 

In order to better understand what information should be provided to the defense for discovery, the judge heard arguments from both sides. 

The defense requested a list of all communication and materials regarding the IGG from the FBI and Othram. The prosecutor stated it wanted to make the submission to the court all at once and not piecemeal to avoid misleading the court with out-of-context details. 

The judge did not make a final decision on what could be provided to the defense due to the complicated and controversial nature of the request. He ordered the prosecution to submit all material to be reviewed by Dec. 1.