The 28-year-old graduate student accused of stalking and murdering four college students in Idaho could face a firing squad following the state’s decision to pass a bill aimed at reviving the controversial punishment earlier this week.
Only rejected in 2009, the method of execution is now back on the table in the Gem State, as the case surrounding alleged Idaho murderer Bryan Kohberger has drawn the ire of millions across the country.
The murder suspect is currently facing the death penalty for the November slayings of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle, after he was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania.
Kohberger, who was pursuing his doctorate at nearby Washington State University before his arrest in January, is now back in Idaho, where he is being kept in isolation away from other inmates given the depravity of his alleged crimes.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, faces shooting if convicted of murdering four University of Idaho college students.
Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were allegedly killed by Kohberger, who was arrested in January and is now being held in solitary confinement.
The Idaho state Senate held a meeting Monday to discuss the GOP-backed bill and voted overwhelmingly to bring the punishment back, with 24 of 35 lawmakers in favor.
The bill’s Republican sponsor, State Sen. Bruce Skaug, spoke to Fox News on Tuesday to confirm the passage of House Bill 186, which passed the state House earlier this month. .
Gives authorities the option of ordering a death by firing squad, only if lethal injection drugs are not available within five days of issuing the death warrant.
“H186 has now passed the Idaho Senate and House with a veto-proof majority,” Skaug said, explaining that the guidance will now make its way to Gov. Brad Little’s desk for final approval.
“With the governor’s signature, the state is more likely to bring justice, as determined by our court system, against those who have committed first-degree murder,” Skaug said.
‘This is an important bill for the victims, their families and the rule of law.’
Although he makes no direct reference to Kohberger’s alleged crimes, the senator’s words come as attention surrounding the alleged murderer’s case, and his possible punishment, has reached a critical point.
Rep. Bruce Skaug, R-Nampa, championed a bill to reinstate firing squads as a legal alternative to lethal injection in death penalty cases.
The bill does not specify how many or what types of firearms must be used in the execution, only that the IDOC director will determine the procedures used in the execution.
While punishment has its detractors, Skaug argued for months in its favor, saying he believed the option was more humane than lethal injection, citing how recent cases of the gunshot resulted in agonizing pain for convicted inmates.
The legislator also recently pointed out to the Idaho Capital Sunshine that other states such as Utah have brought back the use of firing squad in recent years due to their inability to obtain lethal injection chemicals.
Other states that brought the penalty back include Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina, with Idaho legalizing it in 1982 before finally eliminating it in 2009, leaving lethal injection as the only legal form of execution in the state.
Guideline supporters such as Skaug argued that retrieving the bill makes sense of late, as procuring the chemicals used in lethal injection becomes increasingly difficult.
Last year, the legislature passed a bill allowing anonymity for any company or pharmacy providing the chemicals used in lethal injection in the hope that more companies and pharmacies would be willing to contract with the legislature to provide the ingredients. necessary.
Still, in November, the Idaho Department of Corrections was forced to cancel the scheduled execution of Gerald Pizzuto Jr when it was unable to obtain the chemicals needed to carry out the execution.
The bill was approved by the Senate on Monday the 24th at 11 a.m. and will now go to Governor Brad Little’s desk for final approval before becoming official law.
Prosecutors have laid out in charging documents how Kohberger stalked the off-campus Moscow home of his alleged victims for weeks before the murders and kept several photos of one of the students on his phone.
Some of her former friends have even told the FBI and state investigators how Kohberger changed both physically and emotionally in her senior year of high school, even apparently by getting a tummy tuck.
Prosecutors have exposed in court documents how Kohberger turned off his phone the night of the murders in an alleged attempt to cover his tracks before brutally stabbing the four college students.
It is even alleged that he returned to the scene of the crime at 9 a.m. on November 13, just hours after police believed he committed the quadruple homicide.
The probable cause document then goes on to say that the criminal justice grad stalked the property at least 12 times, and his DNA was found on a knife sheath near the bodies of Maddie Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.
A subsequent investigation of Kohberger’s apartment at Washington State University later found several strands of hair, including suspected animal hair, a black glove, a computer tower, and an unidentified item with a collection of ‘blotches of red’. dark’.
Police said they also took a pillow with a “reddish/brown stain” and the top and bottom of a mattress cover with “multiple stains.”
All items are now stored at the Washington State University Police Department.
The motive for the brutal killings remains unclear, and Kohberger is currently being kept in isolation from other inmates in Idaho for his safety, a former FBI agent recently told Newsweek.
Despite being in solitary confinement, however, Kohberger is far from having a hard time and has reportedly been allowed comforts like his own television as he is kept away from other accused and convicted criminals.
He won’t appear in court until June 26 and has yet to plead guilty, but his lawyer in December said he was “eager to be exonerated.”
He is being held without bail until then.