Connect with us

Latest

Idaho slayings suspect agrees to extradition to face charges

Avatar photo

Published

on

Idaho slayings suspect agrees to extradition to face charges

STROUDSBURG, Pa. (AP) — A criminology graduate student accused of the November slayings of four University of Idaho students agreed Tuesday to be extradited from Pennsylvania, where he was arrested last week, to face charges in Idaho.

Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old doctoral student at Washington State University — a short drive from the scene of the killings across the state border — will be transported to Idaho within 10 days.

Students at the University of Idaho and nearby residents lived in fear for weeks as authorities seemed stumped by the mysterious and brutal stabbings on Nov. 13. Idaho police appeared to make a breakthrough, however, after searching for a white sedan seen around the time of the killings and analyzing DNA evidence at the crime scene.

Investigators have said they are still looking for a murder weapon and a motive for the killings. More details about the case are expected to be released after Kohberger arrives in Idaho and an affidavit is unsealed.

But attorneys, law enforcement officers and others involved in the case won’t be able to discuss the affidavit or other court documents after an Idaho magistrate judge on Tuesday evening issued a so-called gag order barring officials from talking publicly about many aspects of the case outside of court.

Judges sometimes issue the orders when they fear that pretrial publicity could prevent a defendant from getting a fair trial.

Wearing a red jumpsuit with his hands shackled in front of him, Kohberger showed little emotion during Tuesday’s brief hearing in a Pennsylvania courtroom in which he acknowledged facing four counts of first-degree murder and a burglary charge.

Kohberger, who was arrested by state police at his parents’ home in eastern Pennsylvania on Friday, will be held at a jail in Monroe County, Pennsylvania, until his extradition.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Kohberger’s parents and sisters sat in the front row of the courtroom gallery, behind the defense table. His mother and his sister Melissa broke down as he walked into the courtroom, sobbing quietly and holding one another. A sheriff’s deputy brought them a box of tissues. Kohberger glanced at his family briefly as he was led out of the courtroom.

Latah County prosecutors in Idaho have said they believe Kohberger broke into the victims’ home near the university campus intending to commit murder.

The students were: Kaylee Goncalves, 21, of Rathdrum, Idaho; Madison Mogen, 21, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho; Xana Kernodle, 20, of Post Falls, Idaho; and Ethan Chapin, 20, of Conway, Washington. They were close friends and members of the university’s Greek system.

Mogen, Goncalves and Kernodle lived in the three-story rental home with two other roommates. Kernodle and Chapin were dating, and he had been visiting the house that night.

The killings have left the rural town of Moscow, Idaho, deeply shaken, and police have released few details about the investigation. For weeks, the Moscow Police Department faced heavy criticism for telling frightened residents that there was no great risk to the community, even though a suspect had not been named.

University officials hired extra security to escort students across campus, but nearly half of the 11,500-student body temporarily left campus for the perceived safety of online classes.

Would-be sleuths attempted to fill the void with their own theories online — some of them targeting friends and acquaintances of the slain students with hurtful and inaccurate allegations.

The chief public defender in Monroe County said his client is eager to be exonerated. Kohberger should be presumed innocent and “not tried in the court of public opinion,” said the public defender, Jason LaBar.

After Tuesday’s hearing, LaBar described Kohberger as “an ordinary guy,” and said that after his extradition he would be represented by the chief public defender in Kootenai County, Idaho.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Capt. Anthony Dahlinger, of the Moscow Police Department in Idaho, told The Associated Press on Saturday that authorities believe Kohberger was responsible for all four slayings at a rental home near campus.

“We believe we’ve got our man,” said Dahlinger, adding that investigators obtained samples of Kohberger’s DNA directly from him after he was arrested.

Pennsylvania State Police Maj. Christopher Paris said Tuesday that Kohberger’s warrant merited an after-dark arrest, which requires a higher standard of probable cause.

“We wanted to go in at a time when we thought it would be the safest for everybody. Safest for anybody else in the house, safest for Mr. Kohberger and safest for our people,” he said.

A tactical response team reviewed floor plans of the home, and broke multiple doors and windows when they entered, Paris said.

In her gag order — formally called a “non-dissemination order” — Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall prohibited people involved in the case from talking about anything “reasonably likely to interfere with a fair trial of this case.” That includes details about any evidence, the existence of any confessions or other statements given by the defendant, or the merits of the case, Marshall wrote in the order.

The gag order will last until a verdict is given or it modified by the court. The paper documents filed in the criminal case are still expected to be open to the public once Kohberger arrives in Idaho, however.

DNA evidence played a key role in identifying Kohberger as a suspect, and officials were able to match his DNA to genetic material recovered during the investigation, a law enforcement official said last week. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss details of the ongoing investigation.

In addition to the DNA evidence, authorities also learned Kohberger had a white Hyundai Elantra, the official who spoke anonymously said.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Moscow police had already identified a white Hyundai Elantra seen near the scene of the crime, and asked the public for help finding the white sedan. Tips poured in, and Idaho investigators soon were trying to narrow down a list of roughly 20,000 possible vehicles to find the right one.

The Indiana State Police announced Tuesday that on Dec. 15, a trooper stopped a white Hyundai Elantra on Interstate 70 for following too closely. A body camera worn by the trooper appeared to show Bryan Kohberger in the driver’s seat, the police said. At the time, there was no information available to the trooper that would have identified Kohberger as a suspect in the Idaho killings, the agency said, and he was released with a verbal warning.

Kohberger had also been stopped a few minutes earlier by a deputy from the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department for following too closely, and given a verbal warning, the sheriff’s department said.

Federal and state investigators are combing through Kohberger’s background, financial records and electronic communications as they work to build the case against him, the official who spoke anonymously said. The investigators are also interviewing people who knew Kohberger, including those at Washington State University, the official said.

Kohberger’s relatives in Pennsylvania have expressed sympathy for the families of the victims but vowed to support him and promote “his presumption of innocence.”

Investigators have asked for information about Kohberger from anyone who knows him, and Dahlinger said investigators got 400 calls to a tip line within the first hour of that request. He said they were “trying to build this picture now of him: Who he is, his history, how we got to this event, why this event occurred.”

___

Boone contributed to this report from Boise, Idaho.

Read More

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Austin Local News

Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

Avatar photo

Published

on

Remember last year’s Memorial Day travel jams? Chances are they will be much worse this year

The patience of Memorial Day weekend travelers was tested Thursday by widespread delays across the country, but there were relatively few canceled flights, raising hopes that airlines can handle bigger crowds expected Friday.

By early evening on the East Coast, more than 6,000 flights had been delayed Thursday, with the biggest backups at the three major airports in the New York City area and Dallas-Fort Worth International.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback
Pasha Pidlubniak waits for a domestic flight at Miami International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Miami. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

 

The Transportation Security Administration predicted that Friday will be the busiest day for air travel over the holiday weekend, with nearly 3 million people expected to pass through airport checkpoints. It could rival the record of 2.9 million, set on the Sunday after Thanksgiving last year.

“Airports are going to be more packed than we have seen in 20 years,” said Aixa Diaz, a spokesperson for AAA.

When they aren’t waiting out flight delays, travelers are reporting sticker shock at the prices.

At Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, Larisa Latimer of New Lenox, Illinois, said her airfare was reasonable but other expenses for a getaway to New Orleans were not.

 

 

 

 

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

 

 

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

Motorists travel along Interstate 24 near the Interstate 40 interchange Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to hit the pavement over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

“I just have to make the accommodation,” she said. “The rental car is up … this year, the hotel accommodations were very unusually expensive.”

Kathy Larko of Fort Meyers, Florida, used frequent-flyer miles — and some flexible scheduling — to pay for her trip to Chicago.

“I’m really conscious of looking at the cost of the entire trip. We’re staying a little farther out than we normally would” to get a lower hotel rate, she said. “We’re also flying back a day later, because we could get cheaper miles.”

More travelers will be on the road. AAA estimates that 43.8 million people will venture at least 50 miles (80 kilometers) from home between Thursday and Monday, with 38 million of them taking vehicles.

 
Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

 

 

 

 

 

Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Travelers wait at a TSA checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Los Angeles. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/Ryan Sun)

 

Airport unions are using the holiday weekend to highlight their demands.

About 100 workers who clean airplane cabins and drive trash trucks at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, started a 24-hour strike Thursday, demanding better pay and healthcare, according to the Service Employees International Union. About 15% of flights were delayed, but it was unclear whether the strike played any role.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

A planned strike at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York was averted, however. Teamsters Local 553, which represents about 300 workers who refuel passenger and cargo jets at JFK, said that it reached a settlement with Allied Aviation Services and called off a walkout planned for Friday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

George Ridley, 4, left, rides on a suitcase as he and his father Chris Ridley make their way through the Nashville international Airport, Thursday, May 23, 2024, in Nashville, Tenn. A record number of Americans are expected to travel over the 2024 Memorial Day holiday. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

 

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

“We are happy an agreement has been reached, a need for a strike averted, and we are hopeful that the deal will be ratified by our members,” said Demos Demopoulos, the secretary-treasurer of the local.

___

Associated Press video journalist Melissa Perez Winder in Chicago and Associated Press radio reporter Shelley Adler in Washington contributed to this report.

Read More

Continue Reading

Austin Local News

Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

Avatar photo

Published

on

Texas health department appoints anti-abortion OB-GYN to maternal mortality committee

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas’ health department has appointed an outspoken anti-abortion OB-GYN to a committee that reviews pregnancy-related deaths as doctors have been warning that the state’s restrictive abortion ban puts women’s lives at risk.

Dr. Ingrid Skop was among the new appointees to the Texas Maternal Morality and Morbidity Review Committee announced last week by the Texas Department of State Health Services. Her term starts June 1.

The committee, which compiles data on pregnancy-related deaths, makes recommendations to the Legislature on best practices and policy changes and is expected to assess the impact of abortion laws on maternal mortality.

Skop, who has worked as an OB-GYN for over three decades, is vice president and director of medical affairs for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, an anti-abortion research group. Skop will be the committee’s rural representative.

Skop, who has worked in San Antonio for most of her career, told the Houston Chronicle that she has “often cared for women traveling long distances from rural Texas maternity deserts, including women suffering complications from abortions.”

Texas has one of the most restrictive abortion bans in the U.S., and doctors have sought clarity on the state’s medical exemption, which allows an abortion to save a woman’s life or prevent the impairment of a major bodily function. Doctors have said the exemption is too vague, making it difficult to offer life-saving care for fear of repercussions. A doctor convicted of providing an illegal abortion in Texas can face up to 99 years in prison and a $100,000 fine and lose their medical license.

Skop has said medical associations are not giving doctors the proper guidance on the matter. She has also shared more controversial views, saying during a congressional hearing in 2021 that rape or incest victims as young as 9 or 10 could carry pregnancies to term.

Texas’ abortion ban has no exemption for cases of rape or incest.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which says abortion is “inherently tied to maternal health,” said in a statement that members of the Texas committee should be “unbiased, free of conflicts of interest and focused on the appropriate standards of care.” The organization noted that bias against abortion has already led to “compromised” analyses, citing a research articles co-authored by Skop and others affiliated with the Charlotte Lozier Institute.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

Earlier this year a medical journal retracted studies supported by the Charlotte Lozier Institute claiming to show harms of the abortion pill mifepristone, citing conflicts of interests by the authors and flaws in their research. Two of the studies were cited in a pivotal Texas court ruling that has threatened access to the drug.

Read More

Continue Reading

Business

Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

Avatar photo

Published

on

Michigan farmworker diagnosed with bird flu, becoming 2nd US case tied to dairy cows

A Michigan dairy worker has been diagnosed with bird flu — the second human case associated with an outbreak in U.S. dairy cows.

The male worker had been in contact with cows at a farm with infected animals. He experienced mild eye symptoms and has recovered, U.S. and Michigan health officials said in announcing the case Wednesday.

A nasal swab from the person tested negative for the virus, but an eye swab tested Tuesday was positive for bird flu, “indicating an eye infection,” U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said.

The worker developed a “gritty feeling” in his eye earlier this month but it was a “very mild case,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive. He was not treated with oseltamivir, a medication advised for treating bird flu, she said.

The risk to the public remains low, but farmworkers exposed to infected animals are at higher risk, health officials said. They said those workers should be offered protective equipment, especially for their eyes.

Health officials say they do not know if the Michigan farmworker was wearing protective eyewear, but an investigation is continuing.

In late March, a farmworker in Texas was diagnosed in what officials called the first known instance globally of a person catching this version of bird flu from a mammal. That patient reported only eye inflammation and recovered.

Since 2020, a bird flu virus has been spreading among more animal species — including dogs, cats, skunks, bears and even seals and porpoises — in scores of countries.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

The detection in U.S. livestock earlier this year was an unexpected twist that sparked questions about food safety and whether it would start spreading among humans.

That hasn’t happened, although there’s been a steady increase of reported infections in cows. As of Wednesday, the virus had been confirmed in 51 dairy herds in nine states, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. Fifteen of the herds were in Michigan.

The CDC’s Dr. Nirav Shah said the case was “not unexpected” and it’s possible more infections could be diagnosed in people who work around infected cows.

U.S. officials said they had tested 40 people since the first cow cases were discovered in late March. Michigan has tested 35 of them, Bagdasarian told The Associated Press in an interview.

Shah praised Michigan officials for actively monitoring farmworkers. He said health officials there have been sending daily text messages to workers exposed to infected cows asking about possible symptoms, and that the effort helped officials catch this infection. He said no other workers had reported symptoms.

That’s encouraging news, said Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota epidemiologist who has studied bird flu for decades. There’s no sign to date that the virus is causing flu-like illness or that it is spreading among people.

“If we had four or five people seriously ill with respiratory illness, we would be picking that up,” he said.

The virus has been found in high levels in the raw milk of infected cows, but government officials say pasteurized products sold in grocery stores are safe because heat treatment has been confirmed to kill the virus.

The new case marks the third time a person in the United States has been diagnosed with what’s known as Type A H5N1 virus. In 2022, a prison inmate in a work program picked it up while killing infected birds at a poultry farm in Montrose County, Colorado. His only symptom was fatigue, and he recovered. That predated the virus’s appearance in cows.

Advertisement
Submit your 2022 Austin Neighborhood Feedback

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Read More

Continue Reading