Idaho murders terrorize college community

Crime creates awareness, fear in current and future university students

Sophia Sardiña

aturday night Nov. 12 was like any other Saturday for six University of Idaho students: getting ready to go out, parties, drinks and food,  a late night of fun, or just staying home. But Sunday morning was far from ordinary. It was tragic.

Kaylee Goncalves and Madison Mogen, two of the students, went to Corner Club Bar located in Moscow, Idaho on Saturday night. That same night, Ethan Chopin and Xana Kernodle, went to a fraternity party at the Sigma Chi house, while Dylan Mortenson and Bethany Funke decided to stay home.

 According to police records, at around 2 a.m., all four students returned to the house most of them shared and ordered food at around 3 a.m. By 4 a.m. they were dead. The two roommates who stayed home did not notice the attacks on their roommates.

Before the murders, one of the surviving roommates woke up to supposedly hear Goncalves say something along the lines of “someone is here,” and went to look but saw no one and went back to her room.

Not satisfied and feeling uneasy, she decided to check one more time and, according to the affidavit shown in the trial, heard an unknown male voice in Kernodle’s room saying something like “It’s okay, I’m going to help you.”

On Sunday morning, the two surviving roommates called their friends over because the victims on the second floor were not responding. At around noon, 911 responded to the call that the roomates had place and help was sent out to the house, albeit it was too late as all four students had bled out.

Antoinette R. McGarrahan, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who specializes in forensic psychology and neuropsychology in Dallas, believes that it was likely that it was premeditated as it was proven by phone track records and eyewitness accounts.

“With the information that came out about the tracked cell phone and individuals that were eye count witnesses,” McGarrahan said. “It is likely that it was premeditated.”

Along with the stalking, like visiting their house 12 times beforehand, many believe that Bryan Kohberger, the alleged  criminal, who studied criminology and was a PH.D. candidate at Washington State University, was assisted by his knowledge in the topic.

I do think that college campuses have gotten more dangerous, and I think people should keep that in mind.

Olivia DeYoung

“It’s possible that he used the information from his classes to avoid certain detection,” McGarrahan said. “Ultimately, he was unsuccessful.”

With the information and evidence police used to track Kohberger, it became evident to them that they had found the killer.

Even with the evidence pointing to Kohberger, some continue to speculate about the two roommates and question whether they had part in their friends’ murders.

Many speculate and lean towards criticism towards the roommate who supposedly heard the murders take place, yet had no action on the matter.

Senior Olivia DeYoung has taken an interest in this case as she has always been fascinated by human behavior and forensic psychology,

“I am most interested in this sequence of events after I read the affidavit,” DeYoung said.

One thing that caught her attention was the roommate, who heard a male’s voice yet didn’t take any action on it.

“One of the two roommates claims to have seen the murderer in a black mask,” DeYoung said. “However, neither [of the] roommates made a call to the authorities until almost eight hours later.”

A second theory is about the noise created by the murders. A security camera 50 feet away picked up distorted audio of voices, yelling, and loud thuds; however, neither roommate claims to have heard anything.

“Another thing that I am curious about is how they did not hear anything,” DeYoung said. “I do think there might be something there that may never be uncovered.”

The two roommates were never suspects and will possibly be used as witnesses. Kohberger’s next court appearance may be a preliminary hearing and will be held on June 26.

This case has caused many to question the safety of students and even faculty on college campuses.

“Following these murders has made me realize how important it is to stay aware and keep things locked,” DeYoung said. “I do think that college campuses have gotten more dangerous, and I think people should keep that in mind.”

These murders have caused many to research their college’s safety and be particular about where they go and the reputation they have.

Senior Madison McCloud took safety into consideration in her college decision and ultimately is content with the safety measure taken at the schools she applied to.

“The colleges I applied to, I looked into their safety measures before and realized that they seemed pretty safe,” McCloud said. “So, even with this incident, I don’t think that it really altered my decision making.”

However, many have taken this as a way to be more observant and wary of the environment around them.

“I do not think this is something to be scared about,” DeYoung said. “But I do think it is important to stay vigilant.”

The Idaho murders have sparked interest and curiosity within many.

“I was most shocked by this case and sequence of events,” DeYoung said. “I am really eager to see how this plays out and get the answers that people are looking for.”

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