Atty for alleged killer of Idaho college students subpoenas surviving witness for ‘exculpatory information’

With the preliminary hearing for the University of Idaho quadruple murder suspect nearing, an investigator’s claim of a survivor’s alleged exculpatory information left attorneys battling over a subpoena.

Earlier this year, Bryan Kohberger, the 28-year-old suspect accused of fatally stabbing Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle, waived his right to a speedy hearing, thus delaying his next court appearance until June 26. Now, court records showed that the defense wants survivor Bethany Funke to testify at that preliminary hearing, a move her own lawyers contend is beyond “authority.”

“Bethany Funke has information material to the charges against Mr. Kohberger; portions of information Ms. Funke has is exculpatory to the defendant,” criminal investigator Richard Bitonti wrote in an affidavit made public Monday.

“Ms. Funke’s information is unique to her experiences and cannot be provided by another witness,” the court document went on to claim.

However, Funke’s lawyer, Kelli Anne Vilora has challenged that subpoena on the basis that her client, a Nevada resident, cannot be compelled to appear in Idaho for a preliminary hearing.

“There is no further information or detail pertaining to the substance of this testimony, its materiality or the alleged exculpatory information of Ms. Funke or why it would be entertained at preliminary hearing,” the motion to dismiss stated.

The court document further asserted “There is no authority for an Idaho criminal defendant to summon a Nevada witness to Idaho for a preliminary hearing,” and, “There is also no authority for an Idaho criminal defendant to summon a Nevada witness to an Idaho matter without a hearing and there is no authority to summon a Nevada witness to an Idaho matter without a Nevada Judge making finding of materiality, necessity and the lack of undue hardship.”

Funke was one of two survivors living in the house where the brutal murders took place on Nov. 13, 2022. Her roommate, Dylan Mortensen, reported that she had seen the killer on the night in question after having awoken to the cries of the victims.

Speaking with Newsweek, former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer suspected that the defense hoped to use testimony from Funke to “offset” reports from Mortensen like the sounds that she heard and what she may have seen. Ultimately, the aim appeared to be to mount a challenge against the probable cause presented to justify Kohberger’s arrest and extradition from Monroe County, Pennsylvania, where he had been staying with his parents.

Should the motion to dismiss the subpoena be denied, Funke will be expected to appear in court on June 28 or face a penalty of $500 or 25 days in jail. In the meantime, Kohberger, who has filed no plea related to his charges of murder and burglary was being held in a maximum security cell at Latah County Jail in Moscow, Idaho.


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