Police have ‘no record’ of whether Bryan Kohberger was offered internship position months before Idaho murders

The Independent filed a public records request with the Pullman Police Department earlier this year

Andrea Blanco
Monday 13 February 2023 16:41 GMT
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The Washinton state police department that interviewed Bryan Kohberger for an internship months before the Idaho murders has “no documentation” regarding whether he was offered the position.

The Independent filed a public records request with the Pullman Police Department earlier this year, asking for any documents relating to Mr Kohberger’s application for the research assistantship for public safety position.

One of the core goals of the request was to determine whether Mr Kohberger had been offered the position - as the department had previously declined to answer that question.

A public records officer responded to the request with 10 documents on Friday - but with a major caveat.

“The Pullman Police Department does not have any documentation regarding whether or not Mr. Kohberger was chosen for the internship position,” the officer stated in an email.

Mr Kohberger, 28, is facing four murder charges in the brutal stabbings of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin in an off-campus rental home in Moscow, Idaho, on 13 November. He was arrested in Pennsylvania on 30 December and is now being held behind bars in Idaho ahead of his June preliminary hearing.

An affidavit for Mr Kohberger’s arrest revealed that he had applied for an internship with the Pullman Police Department, which has played a significant role in investigating the murder case.

Last month, emails between Mr Kohberger and then-chief of Pullman Police Department Gary Jenkins showed a brief exchange about the assistantship position, for which Mr Kohberger had applied last April.

The documents turned over to The Independent last week show Mr Kohberger was one out of four applicants for the job.

Applicants were informed on 22 August whether they were selected for the role, which was created to help “support [Pullman PD] through data management and analysis.”

Mr Jenkins, who no longer works for the department, told The Independent he had been advised not to comment on the matter when contacted on Monday.

Although there is reportedly no email trail on Mr Kohberger’s job offer or rejection by the department, the PhD criminology student at WSU sent an email to Mr Jenkins following an approximately 45-minute online interview.

Mr Kohberger wrote that “it was a great pleasure to meet with you today and share [his] thoughts and excitement.” Mr Jenkins replied that it was “great to meet and talk with you as well.”

The internship had been previously mentioned by law enforcement in the affidavit for Mr Kohberger’s arrest, released on 5 January. It stated that Mr Kohberger had written in an essay that “he had interest in assisting rural law enforcement agencies with how to better collect and analyze technological data in public safety operations.”

Around the same time that he applied to the internship, Mr Kohberger also carried out a research project “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime”. He reached out to Redditors with the chilling survey resurfacing after his arrest on 30 December.

“In particular, this study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offence, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience,” the post said.

Bryan Kohberger is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022
Bryan Kohberger is accused of killing four University of Idaho students in November 2022

Mr Kohberger applied to the position at Pullman PD before starting his first semester at WSU last fall. He went on to work as a teaching assistant in the criminology department in August as part of his graduate program.

It has since emerged that within a month, he was already under investigation by the university because of “behavioural problems” and a “sexist attitude towards women”, according to NewsNation.

The outlet obtained a detailed timeline of his issues in the department, revealing that Mr Kohberger was warned multiple times about his behaviour and was brought into several meetings with professors due to their concerns.

His attitude towards women was cited as a key concern, with the criminal justice student allegedly being “rude to women”, grading the women that he taught differently to the men, and having a “sexist attitude towards females he interacted with at the school”.

In his brief four-month stint as a teaching assistant, Mr Kohberger also reportedly got into multiple altercations with one of the professors – Professor John Snyder.

On 19 December, just eleven days before his arrest, Mr Kohberger was ultimately fired from his WSU teaching post, reported NewsNation.

Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21
Ethan Chapin, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21 (Instagram)

The suspect, now facing the death penalty for four counts of murder, was linked to the murders through DNA found on a knife sheath left behind at the scene, cellphone data and surveillance video of what prosecutors believe to be his white Hyundai Elantra leaving the scene after the slayings.

One of the victims’ surviving roommates was also able to partially describe the killer to investigators after she came face to face with him in the aftermath of the murders.

In January, police in Washington unsealed search warrants for Mr Kohberger’s apartment in Pullman and his office at Washington State University (WSU).

The searches were carried out on the same day that he was taken into police custody in Pennsylvania. The unsealed documents reveal that investigators seized a string of items from his home including possible human and animal hair strands, a disposable glove, items with red and brown stains and a computer.

The murder weapon – a fixed-blade knife – was not recovered during the searches and it is still unclear where it may be.

Mr Kohberger is next scheduled to appear in court on 26 June for his preliminary hearing.

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