BOISE, Idaho — A court order from the judge overseeing the case against Bryan Kohberger, who is suspected of murdering four University of Idaho students, publicly released Monday outlines his news rules regarding cameras in the courtroom during Kohberger’s trial.
Judge John Judge of Idaho’s 2nd Judicial District in Latah County previously said he’d permit cameras but wanted to have more “control over them.” In the court order, Judge said he will grant Kohberger’s motion to “remove cameras” operated by the media, including both video and still photography. Instead, a court-operated camera will livestream the trial, which the public will be able to watch online on Judge’s YouTube channel.
The judge said in his order that this route “will ensure the public still has access to see the proceedings for themselves if they cannot attend hearings in person.” The ruling was filed at 5 p.m. Friday and made public through the Idaho judicial branch’s website Monday.
In a case that has garnered intense national interest, Kohberger, 28, is accused of stabbing four U of I students to death at an off-campus Moscow home in November 2022. The victims were seniors Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, both 21; and junior Xana Kernodle and freshman Ethan Chapin, both 20.
The decision comes after months of disagreement — played out through court documents and hearings — between the defense team and media outlets over whether cameras could prejudice a jury.
Judge’s order is unlikely to make either side happy. The defense had asked to ban all cameras, while media outlets asked to be allowed to take their own footage.
Kohberger’s defense team said media photographers and videographers had disobeyed Judge’s prior instruction to avoid focusing exclusively on Kohberger, the Idaho Statesman previously reported.
“The concept of removing this sort of almost sideshow from what’s being put out there, we think, would be an important way to kind of take away the sensationalization of this case, and just kind of reduce it to hopefully the words on the page,” Logsdon said at an October court hearing.
The judge agreed with this assessment in his order, noting that “media cameras, both still and video, have and continue to zoom in on Kohberger,” despite a previous ruling that outlets not capture Kohberger entering or exiting the courtroom.
“It is the intense focus on Kohberger and his every move, along with adverse headlines and news articles, that leads the court to conclude that continued photograph and video coverage inside the courtroom by the media should no longer be permitted,” Judge wrote.
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