The suspect, who is not being named per Daily Wire policy, was indicted last week on charges including first-degree murder and appeared in court on Monday for his arraignment. The suspect 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 now have 60 days to decide whether to pursue the death penalty. His public defender also asked the judge to set a trial date in October.
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 who 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 28-year-old man suspected of the murders but have not provided additional details.
“It’s a big deal. That is a smoking license,” retired FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer told NewsNation host Chris Cuomo (“CUOMO”) in early April. “Just like the sheath was a smoking sheath found next to Maddie with his DNA on that clasp, it’s the same thing in this situation. Why would he have an ID related to one of those people from that house?”
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.
Of the items taken, Mancuso said two could be important during the suspect’s trial.
“I would be keen on the shoes, the size of the shoes, comparison to any show impressions that might have been recovered at the scene that sort of thing,” he told BRC 13.
He added that the cheek swab could also play a significant role in court.
“Something that they could compare to the DNA of I believe the snap button for the sheath of the knife,” he said, referring to a knife sheath found at the off-campus residence where the victims were found stabbed to death.