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The suspect, who will not be named per Daily Wire policy, filed a motion this week requesting to exclude cameras from his pre-trial hearings and the trial itself, KXLY reported. The suspect wrote, “(A)udio/visual coverage has become material for news outlets and social media accounts to espouse their unfounded opinions.”
He cited social media posts, TikTok videos, and podcasts have all attempted to analyze the suspect’s “demeanor by observing his body language… and describing him using phrases such as ‘cold iciness.'” He also wrote at length about so-called experts getting air time to analyze his body language and included studies that he said debunk that practice as it has been used in other cases.
He further argued that allowing cameras during trials can cause participants to act differently, adding that cameras place “additional responsibilities on the trial judge” that may distract them from properly presiding over the trial.
A judge will hear arguments relating to the issue at the end of the week. News organizations have argued that allowing cameras in the courtroom is a First Amendment right “because it enhances the quality and safeguards the integrity of the factfinding process with benefits to both the defendant and society as a whole.”
The suspect was formally indicted in May on charges including first-degree murder. During his arraignment, he wore a bullet-proof vest under his orange jumpsuit, the Daily Mail reported.
He reportedly stood silently when the judge asked him to enter his plea, so the judge entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf. With pleas set, prosecutors have less than 60 days to decide whether to pursue the death penalty. Families of the victims have reportedly asked for the death penalty.
The suspect was arrested six weeks after four friends, Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Ethan Chapin, 20; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Madison Mogen, 21, were stabbed to death on November 13, 2022.
Goncalves’ family is now challenging a court order saying they cannot speak publicly about the case, KXLY reported. This outlet, along with others, has also challenged the gag order with no success.
In April, an ID belonging to someone at the house where four students were killed was found in the suspect’s car, according to NewsNation. Police haven’t confirmed whom the ID belongs to due to the gag order Goncalves’ family is now challenging.
Some information has been released, including a search warrant that was unsealed earlier this year. The search warrant stated that police had seized IDs from the man suspected of the murders but did not provide additional details.
More than 60 warrants have also been served to major companies and banks in connection to the murders, including Amazon, DoorDash, Reddit, and the owner of dating sites such as Tinder and OkCupid. The contents of the warrants are “sealed and redacted” as part of the murder case against the suspect.
Monroe County First Assistant Michael Mancuso told BRC 13 that when the suspect was arrested, he “was found awake in the kitchen area dressed in shorts and a shirt [and] wearing latex medical type gloves and apparently was taking his personal trash and putting it into … separate zip lock baggies.”
Mancuso implied that the suspect was removing the trash to conceal his DNA. Investigators had been surveilling the home for weeks prior to the suspect’s arrest, and during that time, they searched the trash cans outside.
“A trash pull that was done days before recovered DNA profiles but not from him, only from his family members,” Mancuso told the outlet.
An unsealed search warrant also listed items taken from the suspect’s parents’ home at the time of his arrest, including a flashlight, four medical-style gloves, a T-shirt, a Washington State Cougars sweatshirt, a pair of size 13 Nike shoes, as well as Under Armour black socks, shorts, and boxers. Police also collected a cheek swab from the suspect for DNA, People Magazine reported.