Newly unsealed court documents reveal Idaho murder suspect Bryan Kohberger’s public defender told a judge she had no conflict of interest that would prevent her from representing Kohberger.
Public defender Anne Taylor told Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall during a secret court hearing in late January that she has never met murder victim Xana Kernodle’s mother and has never provided her legal advice.
Cara Kernodle, Xana’s mother, previously said Taylor represented her in a felony drug case out of Kootenai County. She told NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield that she felt “heartbroken” and “betrayed” after Taylor withdrew from her case to represent Kohberger.
Kernodle also claimed she had given Taylor “power of attorney.”
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In the secret January court hearing, Taylor explained to the judge that because she is the chief public defender for Kootenai County, her name appears on nearly all the letterhead for the Kootenai County Public Defender’s Office, whether she is the acting attorney or not.
She said she had no contact or relationship with Cara Kernodle, and never met her or provided her with any legal advice regarding the felony drug case or a 2017 misdemeanor case.
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Taylor said she explained the situation to the prosecutors in Kohberger’s case and the ISB Bar Counsel’s Office who agreed that there is no conflict, as long as Kohberger is comfortable with Taylor remaining on his case.
Kohberger confirmed to the judge that he was comfortable with Taylor remaining as his defense attorney.
Taylor is a public defender for Idaho’s Kootenai County, but was contracted to represent Kohberger in Latah County, where the Moscow student slayings were carried out, because of her expertise in handling capital murder cases.
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Kohberger is being held without bail on four counts of first-degree murder and a felony burglary charge after allegedly entering an off-campus house around 4 a.m. on Nov. 13 and attacking four University of Idaho students inside.
The ambush killed Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves, both 21, their 20-year-old housemate Xana Kernodle, and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, also 20, who lived nearby and was spending the night.
All four suffered multiple stab wounds, according to Latah County Coroner Cathy Mabbutt, who said at least some of the victims may have been sleeping at the start of the attack.
Two other roommates were present in the home at the time of the murders but were not attacked. One of the roommates told police she witnessed a masked intruder with “bushy eyebrows” leaving out the back door.
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Police found a knife sheath at the scene and allege that DNA found on the thumb snap helped lead them to Kohberger, who allegedly stalked the house at least 12 times before the slayings and returned to the home the morning after, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Kohberger was a Ph.D. criminology student at Washington State University, about 10 miles away from the University of Idaho.
Following the murders, Kohberger drove across the country to his parents’ house in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.
He was arrested there by Pennsylvania police and the FBI on Dec. 30, seven weeks after the killings.
Kohberger is due back in court on June 26 for a preliminary hearing, where his defense plans to challenge the evidence against him.
Fox News Digital’s Michael Ruiz and Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.
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