The University of Idaho began demolishing a home Thursday morning where four of its students were fatally stabbed, refusing requests from two of the victims’ families to wait until evidence they say is needed for the trial is completed. collected on the site.
NBC affiliate KTVB in Boise and the Associated Press reported Thursday morning that demolition had begun.
Piercing noises from construction equipment rang out early in the morning, as an excavator began demolishing the front portion of the house and debris from the house’s walls was loaded into a dump truck, the AP.
The university, located in Moscow in western Idaho, announced plans to tear down the three-story house in February as a “healing step.” The owner of the house donated it to the school after students Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were stabbed to death there in November last year.
But the Goncalves and Kernodle families said the demolition should be postponed until after the trial, saying in a joint statement that there were still questions about the evidence surrounding the house that had not yet been answered. A trial date has not yet been set.
“We always wanted the King (Road) house to not be torn down until after the trial and for us to have a trial date so we could hope for justice to be served. Is that really too much to ask?” » said the Goncalves and Kernodle families in the statement.
The families included a list of questions they say have not been answered in the current collection of evidence, including what other roommates could hear from inside the house, what windows the suspect could- he could see 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 surrounding the demolition of the house, and nowhere is this felt more than among the families. But we are confident that now is the right time to move forward with the healing that comes with demolition,” the University of Idaho said in a Dec. 14 news release.
Latah County Prosecutor William Thompson said prosecutors and lead investigators do not anticipate any 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 state of affairs is so different from that at the time of the homicides that a ‘jury opinion’ would not be permitted,” he said in a statement.
Defense attorneys for the suspect, Bryan Kohberger, who was arrested Dec. 30 last year and charged with four counts of first-degree murder, also accessed the home to collect evidence.
The FBI collected data on the house in late October, which will allow it to create visual aids that can be used during the trial, the university said in a news release.
The Goncalves and Kernodle families said trial preparations had been plagued by delays and asked that a trial date be set. “This matter must move forward!” » says their statement.
Germer Construction of Moscow will oversee the demolition, which the university estimates will take at least two days.
University President Scott Green said the house was a “grim reminder” of the killings that took place inside, and said demolishing it would reduce the impact on students who live nearby.
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