Idaho home where four students were killed is demolished
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The Idaho home where four college students were murdered last year was destroyed on Thursday, overruling the objections made by victims’ families.
Last year, the stabbings of four University of Idaho students rocked the small college town of Moscow, Idaho.
School leaders called the three-story house, which was torn down in under two hours, a “grim reminder” of the deaths.
The victims’ parents had asked that the home be kept for the case against the alleged killer, who is awaiting trial.
University of Idaho students Xana Kernodle, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves were found dead inside the home on King Street in Moscow on 13 November 2022.
Bryan Kohberger, 28, has been charged in their deaths. His lawyer has said that he maintains his innocence.
The homeowner gave the property to the University of Idaho after the killings. The school has blocked off the house with a tall fence since then.
The University of Idaho announced earlier this month that the school had decided to tear down the home to “decrease further impact” on students living nearby.
“It is the grim reminder of the heinous act that took place there,” University of Idaho president Scott Green said. “While we appreciate the emotional connection some family members of the victims may have to this house, it is time for its removal and to allow the collective healing of our community to continue.”
Footage of the demolition shows an excavator knocking down the house and dump trucks removing the remaining debris.
The university said it had allowed the defence team and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to access the house to take photographs, scans and measurements to prepare for trial, which has yet to be scheduled.
Several of the victims’ families had objected to the demolition, including Goncalves’ family, who told US media that the move would “destroy one of the most critical pieces of evidence in the case”.
But prosecutors have argued they have all the evidence they need from the house. They also told school officials that the property is in so changed from the time of the murders that a jury would not be authorised to visit the home.
School officials have said a memorial “healing garden” will be constructed at a location to be determined later.
Mr Kohberger, the murder suspect, was a criminology student at nearby Washington State University.
Prosecutors said they connected the suspect to the murders through cell phone records, his vehicle and DNA evidence found on a knife sheath that was left at the crime scene.