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Cost of security prompted by Idaho college killings tops $1.2M for university

Heather Roberts/ABC News

(MOSCOW, Idaho) — The financial costs to the community continue to climb in the aftermath of the killing of four Idaho college students last fall.


Nine months after the King Road quadruple homicide rocked North Idaho, the University of Idaho has already blown through the $1 million in state funding allocated to support additional security measures, according to records provided to Idaho’s Legislative Services Office by the university.

In a letter to the office’s manager of budget and policy analysis, university president Scott Green said the school “made significant efforts to bolster our security programs and the custodianship of the location where these tragedies occurred.”

University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21 were found stabbed to death on Nov. 13, 2022. After a six-week hunt, police zeroed in on a suspect, arresting one-time doctoral candidate Bryan Kohberger on Dec. 30. If convicted, Kohberger could face the death penalty.

The university is already racking up additional expenses, totaling more than $1.2 million so far — and counting.

“The expenditures related to the King Road House are on-going,” Green said in the letter.

The Aug. 1 letter includes an itemized accounting of how the cash was spent, required by Idaho law.

Nearly $475,000 was spent to increase campus security and private guards. More than $324,000 went to security consultants.

More than $241,000 was spent on the Idaho State Police, including “meals” and “lodging” for troopers.

Prosecutors allege that in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2022, Kohberger, a criminology Ph.D. student at nearby Washington State University, broke into the off-campus home and stabbed the four students to death.

Kohberger was indicted in May and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of burglary. At his arraignment, he declined to offer a plea, so the judge entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf.

A trial is scheduled for Oct. 2, though a delay is likely. Pretrial motions are set to continue on Friday.

“The university has and continues to put its students first. The expenses we have incurred are in an effort to provide for our students the best residential campus experience possible,” University of Idaho spokesperson Jodi Walker said in a statement to ABC News.

“While we cannot bring back the students we lost so tragically, we can continue to improve ourselves and our university for our current students and all those to follow,” Walker said. “We appreciate the support we have gotten from the Governor and our Legislature to help cover some of these unexpected expenses.”

Nearly $100,000 has been spent on security for the home where the students were slain. The home, donated to the school after the killings, remains standing for now, though the university has announced it intends to demolish it.

“We expect further expenditures in the future as we demolish the King Road property,” Green said, with the letter accounting for more than $217,000 they estimate spending through the end of October.

The mounting price tag has not been shouldered solely by the University.

In June, prosecutors leading the case against Kohberger said it could cost them more than eight times their annual trial budget, requesting $135,000 for the case.

In Moscow, where the killings occurred, investigative costs burned through cash that could have gone to fix up city infrastructure, Moscow officials told ABC News in May.

“This is just not something you budget for,” Moscow City Council member Sandra Kelly said, “because it’s something you’d never dream could happen.”

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