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University of Idaho murders house to be torn down despite calls from victims’ families to postpone

Heather Roberts/ABC News

(MOSCOW, Idaho) — The off-campus University of Idaho house where four students were stabbed to death is set to be torn down despite calls from victims’ families to postpone until after the suspect’s trial.

The four victims — roommates Kaylee Goncalves, Madison Mogen and Xana Kernodle, as well as Kernodle’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin — were killed in the Moscow, Idaho, house on Nov. 13, 2022. Two other roommates survived the shocking crime that garnered national intrigue.

Attorney Shanon Gray represents the Goncalves, Mogen and Kernodle families, who want the house to remain standing until the criminal case is resolved.

But a University of Idaho spokesperson said, “We are currently working on removing all the personal items from the house so the families can claim them, as they choose. Then we plan to move forward with demolition.”

A university lawyer noted in a letter to Gray that the court released the house from the case and the prosecution and defense have not objected to the demolition.

A university spokesperson said the school plans to demolish the house before students return to campus in the fall.

The university announced in February that the house would be demolished, with university president Scott Green calling it “a healing step” in the wake of a “crime that shook our community.”

Kaylee Goncalves’ mom, Kristi Goncalves, told ABC News last month she was glad no one else would live in the house.

But, she added, “It’s going to be very multifaceted for me, honestly, because my daughter lived in that home. She lived a happy life in that home, she loved living there with her friends. And for the real story, to be, like, what happened in that house was so horrific that it has to be torn down — that doesn’t happen that often. … For them to say, ‘No, we don’t want family in here, we don’t want anybody living in here. It’s got to be torn down’ — it’s definitely not happy.”

The suspect, Bryan Kohberger, who was a Ph.D. student at nearby Washington State University at the time of the murders, was arrested in December.

Kohberger’s trial is set for Oct. 2. Prosecutors announced this week that they will seek the death penalty.

Kohberger chose to “stand silent” at his arraignment last month. By not responding, the judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf.

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