One of two housemates who were inside an off-campus dormitory when four University of Idaho students were murdered in November is asking a judge to deny a defense request to attend an upcoming hearing on the murder suspect Bryan Kohberger.
Bethany Funke’s motion to vacate a subpoena was filed Friday in district court in Washoe County, Nevada, where she is from, according to court documents and public records.
Funke’s motion says the subpoena would compel her to appear in court in Latah County, Idaho, in late June and possibly during the trial of Kohberger, who was arrested in Pennsylvania on December 30, weeks after the murders. on November 13. Kohberger, 28, was charged with four counts of first degree murder and robbery.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for the week of June 26, when prosecutors will begin presenting evidence. He has yet to enter a guilty plea. The motive for the killings is also unclear; Kohberger’s family said in January that they were cooperating with law enforcement to «promote the presumption of his innocence.»
An affidavit filed in March by a criminal investigator supporting Kohberger’s defense says Funke was in a first-floor room in the apartment building during the early morning of the Nov. 13 murders.
Funke was «interviewed by police on several occasions. She disclosed things she heard and saw,» according to the affidavit signed by Richard Bitonti.
Bitonti wrote that «Bethany Funke has information about the charges against Mr. Kohberger; parts of the information Ms. Funke has are exculpatory to the defendant. Ms. Funke’s information is exclusive to her experiences and cannot be provided by another witness.»
But Funke’s motion to quash the subpoena says the statements in the affidavit «are unsupported and there are no further information or details regarding the merits of this testimony, its materiality, or the purported exculpatory information from Ms. Funke or by what would be considered. in preliminary hearing.
The motion also says that the subpoena was issued without first allowing Funke to address his concerns and that «there is no authority for an Idaho criminal defendant to summon a Nevada witness to Idaho for a preliminary hearing.» Even if he is aware of evidence that could help clear Kohberger’s name, it is an issue that should be brought up at trial, not at a preliminary hearing that Funke is required to attend, the document says.
It is unclear when the Washoe County judge will make a decision.
The Reno, Nevada law firm of Kelli Anne Viloria, which represents Funke, declined to comment Monday.
Neither the Washoe County public defender’s office nor Kohberger’s public defender in Idaho, Anne Taylor, could immediately be reached for comment.
Funke and the other surviving roommate, Dylan Mortensen, have not spoken publicly about the case, though they have honored their slain friends in letters read during a church vigil in December.
Funke and Mortensen shared their apartment with 21-year-old Maddie Mogen; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; and Xana Kernodle, 20, who were stabbed to death along with Kernodle’s boyfriend, Ethan Chapin, 20. Chapin had stayed the night at the house.
Investigators said they traced male DNA from a knife sheath left at the crime scene to Kohberger, who was then a doctoral student at Washington State University, less than 10 miles from the University of Idaho. Other evidence included video surveillance of the area where a white Hyundai Elantra that investigators say Kohberger was driving was seen, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Authorities have not said whether Kohberger knew the victims or why he would have attacked them or the home. The murder weapon, believed to be a large fixed-blade knife, has not been recovered, Moscow police said.
Initial reports from investigators said Funke and Mortensen were asleep during the stabbings, which police believe occurred between 4 a.m. and 4:25 a.m. One of the surviving roommates’ cell phones was used to call 911. several hours later.
According to the probable cause affidavit, Mortensen provided police with the most detailed eyewitness account before the murders. She said that she saw a figure dressed in black clothing and a mask, and that she was left in a «frozen shock phase» when she noticed the person walking toward a rear sliding glass door. She then «locked herself in her room after seeing the man».
The affidavit does not clarify whether she said she made eye contact with the figure.
Further details of the case remain unavailable publicly after Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall issued a gag order in January barring attorneys, police and other officials from commenting.