Idaho student murders: No preliminary hearing as grand jury charge suspect

A grand jury has charged a man with burglary and four counts of first-degree murder, following the deaths of four University of Idaho students

The move allows prosecutors to skip a planned week-long preliminary hearing that was set for late June.

Bryan Kohberger, 28, was arrested late last year and charged for the same criminal charges in relation to the deaths of Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves at a rented home near the University campus.

A preliminary hearing - where prosecutors must prove to a judge that there is enough evidence to justify moving forward with felony charges - had been scheduled to begin on 26 June.

But on Tuesday, a grand jury indicted Kohberger, re-routing the case directly to the state's felony court level, and skipping the preliminary hearing process.

This means, Kohberger can be tried for crimes that are punishable by death or imprisonment of one year or more.

Read more:
Surviving Idaho student 'saw masked man in black clothing' on night of attack
What do we know about the criminology student accused of quadruple murder?
Criminology student suspected of killing four university students to be extradited

The former student was studying criminology at nearby Washington State University, at the time of the incident, which prompted more than 11,000 students to leave the city and switch to online classes.

Court documents have already revealed Kohberger had various ties to the murders on 13 November.

This included traces of Kohberger's DNA found on a knife sheath inside the students home, and a white sedan, allegedly matching one owned by the suspect, that was caught on CCTV footage repeatedly driving past the rented property around the time of the incident.

Investigators also said that a mobile phone belonging to Kohberger was near the victims' home on multiple occasions prior to the murders, though it was apparently turned off around the time of the attack, which happened in the early hours.

Click to subscribe to the Sky News Daily wherever you get your podcasts

However, a motive for the murders is still unclear, as is, if prosecutors believe Kohberger had met any of the victims before the night they died.

The suspect was arrested on 30 December at his parents' home in eastern Pennsylvania. He agreed to be extradited to Idaho to face murder charges.