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Bryan Kohberger's attorneys claim cellphone data shows he was not at home where murders took place

Lawyers for Bryan Kohberger, the man accused of fatally stabbing four University of Idaho students in 2022, plan to use cellphone tower data to show he was not at the location where the murders occurred, according to a new court filing.

Kohberger is accused of killing Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin in mid-November 2022 at a home in Moscow, Idaho, where the university is located. The home has since been demolished.

Court documents providing an alibi for Kohberger stated he "was out driving in the early morning hours of November 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 including Wawawai Park."

The document said a cell site location information expert will testify that cell tower data shows "Kohberger's mobile device was south of Pullman, Washington and west of Moscow, Idaho on November 13, 2022; that Bryan Kohberger's mobile device did not travel east on the Moscow-Pullman Highway in the early morning hours of November 13th, and thus could not be the vehicle captured on video along the Moscow-Pullman highway near Floyd's Cannabis shop."

A previous affidavit stated investigators had found cell tower data from that morning which showed Kohberger's phone in Pullman around 2:47 a.m. the night of the murders, at which point it suddenly stopped connecting to the cell network, according to "48 Hours." It was around this time surveillance video saw his car leave his apartment, "48 Hours" reported.

Two hours after his phone disappeared from the network, it reappeared south of Moscow and headed back toward Pullman, "48 Hours" reported.

Families of Idaho student murders victims share new details to "48 Hours" 05:15

At the time of his arrest, about six weeks after the murders, Kohberger was a Ph.D. criminology student and teaching assistant at Washington State University's Pullman campus, about a 15-minute drive from Moscow. Kohberger was arrested at his parents' home in Pennsylvania.

Wednesday's notice of defense alibi also said more information about Kohberger's location the night of the murders "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."

Kohberger's attorney has also asked for a change of venue, The Associated Press reported, arguing he would not be given a fair trial in the area where the murders took place.

"A fair and impartial jury cannot be found in Latah County owing to the extensive, inflammatory pretrial publicity, allegations made about Mr. Kohberger to the public by media that will be inadmissible at his trial, the small size of the community, the salacious nature of the alleged crimes, and the severity of the charges Mr. Kohberger faces," attorney Anne Taylor wrote, according to AP.

Latah County's prosecutor opposed the venue change request, the AP reported.  

A hearing on the change of venue motion will be held on May 14, 2024, court documents showed.

Kohberger is charged with four counts of murder in the students' stabbing deaths. Kohberger did not respond when asked how he pleaded at his arraignment, so a judge entered not guilty pleas for him. Prosecutors have said they will seek the death penalty if Kohberger is convicted. 

—Kerry Breen contributed reporting.

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