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University of Idaho murder suspect says he was ‘out driving’ in new alibi

FILE photo from October 2023. Bryan Kohberger's lawyers entered a notice of defence alibi on Wednesday, claiming Kohberger was 'out driving' miles away from where four University of Idaho students were fatally stabbed in November 2022. Ted S. Warren-Pool/Getty Images

Lawyers for Bryan Kohberger, the suspect accused of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students in 2022, entered an alibi on Wednesday claiming cellphone tower data proves he was “out driving” at the time of the murders.

Kohberger’s lawyers have previously argued he was driving his car alone when Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, were killed in an off-campus apartment in Moscow, Idaho.

“Mr. Kohberger was out driving in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2022, as he often did to hike and run and/or see the moon and stars. He drove throughout the area south of Pullman, Washington, west of Moscow, Idaho,” the legal filing reads, according to ABC News.

Kohberger’s legal team will rely on testimony from an expert who will tell the court that, according to alleged cell tower data, Kohberger was miles away from where the murders occurred.

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Bryan Kohberger listens during a hearing to overturn his grand jury indictment on Oct. 26, 2023, in Moscow, Idaho. Kai Eiselein-Pool/Getty Images

In December 2022, Kohberger was arrested and charged with the brutal stabbing deaths of four University of Idaho students in November. News of the killings sent shockwaves through the small college town of Moscow and beyond, triggering intense international attention on the case.

Kohberger is charged with four counts of first-degree murder and felony burglary. The charges could mean a sentence of life in prison, and possibly the death penalty. He did not enter a plea at his arraignment in May 2023, so a judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Click to play video: 'University of Idaho student killings: Police arrest suspect in Pennsylvania'
University of Idaho student killings: Police arrest suspect in Pennsylvania

Kohberger was identified using DNA discovered on a knife sheath found at the scene of the crime.

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The sheath, which was left on the bed of one of the victims, contained DNA that was matched to Kohberger after police recovered samples from the trash at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania. Lab analysis was able to determine the DNA obtained from the trash was the father of the person who left DNA on the knife sheath.

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The murder weapon, which police believe to be a large fixed-blade knife, still has not been recovered.

Click to play video: 'University of Idaho student killings: Police ‘still looking for the weapon’ as suspect arrested'
University of Idaho student killings: Police ‘still looking for the weapon’ as suspect arrested

Wednesday’s alibi filing from Kohberger’s lawyers referenced a probable cause affidavit that alleged a white Hyundai Elantra driven by Kohberger was spotted in security video near the scene of the crime around when the murders are believed to have occurred. Kohberger’s lawyers said the car cannot belong to him.

The probable cause affidavit also claimed Kohberger’s cellphone data showed he had visited the area surrounding the students’ home on King Road in Moscow at least 12 times in the six months prior to the killings.

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On the night of the murders, prosecutors claim the data shows Kohberger turned off his phone after leaving his home two hours before the crime. The affidavit alleges he turned his phone on again while travelling from Idaho to Pullman, Wash., after the apparent time of the killings.

Kohberger’s lawyers wrote in the notice of alibi that more information about Kohberger’s location on the night of the crime “will be provided once the State provides discovery requested and now subject to an upcoming Motion to Compel.”

“If not disclosed, [the expert’s] testimony will also reveal that critical exculpatory evidence, further corroborating Mr. Kohberger’s alibi, was either not preserved or has been withheld,” they wrote.

Kohberger was a criminal justice and criminology doctoral student at the University of Washington.

A trial date has not yet been set.

Click to play video: 'University of Idaho murders: Suspect extradited from Pennsylvania'
University of Idaho murders: Suspect extradited from Pennsylvania

With files from Global News’ Kathryn Mannie

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