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University of Idaho begins demolishing house where 4 students were murdered, despite pleas from families to postpone

University of Idaho begins demolishing house where 4 students were murdered, despite pleas from families to postpone 1

The University of Idaho began demolishing a house Thursday morning where four of its students were fatally stabbed, refusing pleas from two of the victims’ families to wait until evidence they say is needed for the court case is collected from the site.

NBC affiliate KTVB of Boise and The Associated Press reported Thursday morning that demolition of the house had begun.

Piercing sounds of construction equipment rang out early this morning, as an excavator started tearing down the front part of the house, and debris from the home’s former walls were loaded into a dump truck, the AP reported.

The University, which is located in the western Idaho town of Moscow, announced plans to destroy the three-story home in February as a “healing step.” The owner of the house offered it to the school after students Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were murdered there in November last year.

But the Goncalves and Kernodle families said the demolition should be postponed until after the trial, claiming in a joint statement that there are still evidentiary questions about the house which have not yet been answered. The trial date has not been set yet.

A private security officer sits in a vehicle Jan. 3, 2023, in front of the house in Moscow, Idaho where four University of Idaho students were killed in November.Ted S. Warren / AP file

“We all along have just wanted the King [Road] home to not be demolished until after the trial and for us to have a trial date so that we can look forward to justice being served. Is that really too much to ask?” the Goncalves and Kernodle families said in the statement.

The families included a list of questions they claim have not been answered by current evidence collection, including what could the other roommates hear from inside the house, what windows could the suspect see in from where he was parked outside, and how could the suspect get in and out without anyone seeing him?

“We certainly appreciate that there is a lot of emotion around demolishing the house, and nowhere is that felt more than with the families. But we feel certain that now is the right time to move forward with the healing that comes with the demolition,” the University of Idaho said in a Dec. 14 press release.

Latah County Prosecuting Attorney William Thompson said prosecuting attorneys and lead investigators anticipate no further use of the house because they have already collected measurements to create illustrative exhibits for the jury.

“Based on our review of Idaho case law, the current condition of the premises is so substantially different than at the time of the homicides that a “jury view” would not be authorized,” said Thompson in a statement.

Defense lawyers for suspect Bryan Kohberger, who was arrested on Dec. 30 last year and charged with four counts of first degree murder, also accessed the home to collect evidence.

The FBI gathered data from the house in late October, which will allow them to create visual aids that can be used in the trial, said the University of Idaho in a press release.

The Goncalves and Kernodle families said the lead up to the trial has been plagued with delays, and called for a trial date to be scheduled. “This case has to move forward!” their statement said.

Germer Construction of Moscow will oversee the demolition, which the University said will take at least two days.

University President Scott Green said the house serves as a “grim reminder” of the murders that took place inside, and claimed that tearing it down would decrease further impact on the students who live nearby.

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