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Idaho College Murders: Prosecutors Warn of ‘Chilling Effect’ Amid Bryan Kohberger Courtroom Controversy

Judge Rules Again on Request to Throw Out Kohberger's Murder Charges
Source: Mega

Idaho judge makes decision for third time on defense team trying to dismiss charges against Bryan Kohberger.

Sep. 11 2023, Published 2:05 p.m. ET

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Prosecutors in the case against Bryan Kohberger, who is facing charges for the murder of four University of Idaho students last fall in their off-campus apartment, have shown support this week for the defense's motion to prohibit cameras from the courtroom, according to authorities.

While Kohberger’s attorneys argued cameras were too focused on their client, Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson said he was more concerned with the “chilling effect” intrusive cameras could have on “young and vulnerable” witnesses, according to court documents.

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Thompson also said the possibility that jurors could see evidence not put before them in the course of overwhelming media coverage was another concern.

In the state’s court filing, Thompson wrote, “The State fully understands the enormous value that responsible media has in helping the public to understand the true facts of what occurs in court. The State believes, however, that those ends can be accomplished without the need for camera/video images, or the physical presence of cameras in the courtroom.”

Thompson went on to say that he is “concerned that allowing the presence of cameras in the courtroom will have a substantial chilling effect on the ability of witnesses to openly, fully and candidly testify about some horrible occurrences.”

He referenced Judge Steven Boyce's decision to bar cameras in the trial of Lori Vallow Daybell, which also took place in Idaho, stating that Judge Boyce's ruling “provides a thorough examination of the issues before the court.”

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Thompson concluded by saying, “The State respectfully submits that the appropriate course of action would be for the court to prohibit cameras in the courtroom, both still and video, at a minimum during trial and during any other court proceedings at which victims such as described above might be called to testify.”

In response to the defense's recent request for discovery, prosecutors submitted an exhibit. However, this exhibit has been filed under seal, pending a hearing on the matter.

The next hearing in the Kohberger trial is scheduled for Sept. 13.

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