Bryan Kohberger case: Idaho judge makes 'family tree' DNA disclosure decision

Idaho prosecutors will have to turn over some genetic genealogy evidence used in the Bryan Kohberger investigation, the judge has decided.

The extent of the discovery disclosure is unclear, with a gag order on the case and the specifics filed under seal.

In a public filing, Judge John Judge wrote that after reviewing the disputed evidence, "a portion" should be shared with Kohberger's defense team.

"The specific material to be provided is set forth in a sealed order to protect the privacy of the IGG (investigative genetic genealogy) information, including individuals on the family tree," Judge wrote.

Bryan Kohberger, accused of murder, arrives for a hearing on cameras in the courtroom in Latah County District Court on September 13, 2023 in Moscow, Idaho. (Photo by Ted S. Warren-Pool/Getty Images)

Prosecutors had argued that police used IGG evidence to generate leads but not to obtain any warrants in the case and, as a result, did not have to disclose it.

Police recovered DNA from a Ka-Bar knife sheath under the body of 21-year-old victim Madison Mogen, who they found with stab wounds in an upstairs bedroom alongside her best friend, Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

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Investigators later allegedly confirmed a match between a DNA sample on the sheath and Kohberger's cheek swab.

The other two victims were Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin, both 20.

All four were undergrad students at the University of Idaho.

Kohberger was studying for a Ph.D. at the neighboring Washington State University, about 10 miles away, at the time of the slayings.

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Kohberger allegedly entered the victims' six-bedroom rental home and massacred them before a surviving housemate saw a masked man leaving out the back door.

Kohberger drove a white Hyundai Elantra, the same type of car investigators identified as the suspect vehicle, and allegedly turned his phone off before heading to and from the crime scene, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Police, citing phone records, also alleged that he stalked the victims' home on a dozen occasions before the murders and drove by once more hours after.

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Kohberger is being held without bail. Judge entered not guilty pleas on his behalf at his arraignment in May.

He could face the death penalty if convicted.

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