A criminology graduate student accused of murdering four University of Idaho students was questioned by the local police department about his internship months before the killings.
New emails received by The New York Times show a brief exchange between Washington State University student Bryan Kohberger and then Chief of the Pullman Police Department Gary Jenkins regarding Mr. Kohberger’s interview process for a research assistant position for a public safety position in April 2022.
Mr. Kohberger, 28, faces four counts of murder in the brutal stabbing attacks of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin at an off-campus rented home in Moscow, Idaho, on Nov. 13. Mr. Kohberger was arrested in Pennsylvania on December 30 before being extradited to Idaho on January 5.
In his e-mail to Mr. Jenkins, Mr. Kohberger wrote that “it was a great pleasure to meet you today and share [his] thoughts and emotions.” Mr. Jenkins replied that it was “great to meet you and talk to you”.
It is unclear whether Mr. Kohberger has been offered a position in the department. Independent asked the department for comment.
The internship was previously mentioned by law enforcement in an affidavit regarding Mr. Kohberger’s arrest, issued on January 5. It said Mr. Kohberger wrote in the essay that he was “interested in helping rural law enforcement better collect and analyze technology data in public safety operations.”
According to the WSU website, the college offers two of its three-year internships in partnership with the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology and the cities of Pullman and Pasco.
“The purpose of these positions is to support each agency through data management and analytics and position them for success as they seek outside funding,” according to the site.
Around the same time he applied for the internship, Mr. Kohberger was also running a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological characteristics influence decision making when committing a crime.”
He contacted Redditors with a chilling poll that resurfaced after his December 30 arrest.
“Specifically, this study aims to understand your recent crime history, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout the experience,” the post reads.
Last week, records of a search warrant executed at Mr. Kohberger’s Pullman apartment on December 30, the same day he was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania for the murders, were unsealed.
A record of evidence recovered during a search of the apartment was unsealed on Wednesday, revealing the seizure of 15 items, including hair, receipts, a computer tower, a disposable glove and items with peculiar stains.
The statement, issued on January 5, provided new details on what led investigators to the suspect, but still failed to establish any connection between the victims and Mr. Kohberger.
Bomb documents revealed that investigators believe Mr. Kohberger may have been stalking the student house in the run-up to the mass murder, and cell phone records placed him at the property 12 times prior to November 13.
Investigators believe that at the time of the murder, Mr. Kohberger switched off his mobile phone to avoid detection.
However, mobile phone records place him close to a house on King Road around 9am on November 13 – suggesting he returned to the crime scene just hours after allegedly murdering four victims around 4am, an affidavit reveals.
In addition to the cell phone records, the affidavit reveals that other evidence also led them to arrest Mr. Kohberger for the student murders.
Police said his DNA was found on a knife sheath left at the scene by the killer, and his white Hyundai Elantra was caught on surveillance video at the crime scene at the time of the murder, an affidavit reveals.
One of the surviving roommates of the victims was also able to partially describe the killer to investigators after coming face to face with him in the aftermath of the murders.
Mr. Kohberger is scheduled to appear in court on June 26 for a preliminary hearing.
A whole week has been set aside for a hearing – where evidence against Mr Kohberger will be presented in court for the first time and Mr Kohberger will likely file charges.
Until then, Mr. Kohberger will be held behind bars at the Latah County Jail after being ordered to be released on bail a second time.
As a criminal law graduate student at WSU, he lived just 15 minutes from victims across the Idaho-Washington border in Pullman. He moved there from Pennsylvania and began studying there in August, just after completing his first semester before his arrest.
He previously studied criminology at DeSales University – first as an undergraduate, then completed his postgraduate studies in June 2022.
There he studied under the guidance of renowned forensic psychologist Katherine Ramsland, who interviewed serial killer BTK and co-authored the book Confessions of a Serial Killer: The Untold Story of Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer with him.
He also carried out a research project “to understand how emotions and mental characteristics influence decision making when committing a crime.”
Now he faces life in prison or the death penalty for the murders that rocked the small university town of Moscow and made headlines around the world.