Suspected Idaho Killer’s Defense Claims Cell Phone Data Provides Alibi On Night Of Killings
The King Road home in Moscow, Idaho, where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death in November 2022, was demolished on Thursday.
Angela Palermo/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Defense attorneys for the 29-year-old man accused of killing four University of Idaho students in 2022 say cellphone evidence places the suspect away from the area where the murders took place.

The suspect, who is not being named by The Daily Wire, plans to use cellphone tower data to show that he was out driving on the night the students were killed, but never went near their off-campus home, ABC News reported.

“[The suspect] was out driving in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, 2022, as he often did to hike and run and/or see the moon and stars. He drove throughout the area south of Pullman, Washington, west of Moscow, Idaho,” Anne Taylor, the suspect’s lead attorney, wrote in a new court filing.

To back this up, the defense plans to call an expert witness “to show that [the suspect’s] mobile device was south of Pullman, Washington and west of Moscow, Idaho on November 13, 2022; that [the suspect’s] mobile device did not travel east on the Moscow-Pullman Highway in the early morning hours of November 13th,” according to the court filing.

For this reason, the defense claims, the suspect’s car could not be the one seen on video surveillance driving on the Moscow-Pullman highway on the night of the murders.

The suspect has been charged with four counts of murder and one count of burglary relating to the killings of Ethan Chapin, 20; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Madison Mogen, 21, in the early morning hours of November 13, 2022, in the college town of Moscow, Idaho.


Part of the evidence that led to the suspect’s arrest, mentioned in a previously unsealed probable cause affidavit, showed that police were able to narrow the timeframe of the crime to between 4:00 a.m. and 4:25 a.m. and reviewed video footage taken in the area in the time before and after the murders are believed to have occurred. Video showed a white Hyundai Elantra without a front license plate (front license plates are required in Washington and Idaho, but not in Pennsylvania, where the car was registered) in the area between 3:29 a.m. and 4:20 a.m.

The vehicle can be seen passing the off-campus residence three times before returning a fourth time around 4:04 a.m. and attempting to turn around on the road. The vehicle was next seen around 4:20 a.m. traveling away from the direction of the off-campus residence at high speed, heading in the direction of a road that eventually leads to Pullman, Washington, where the suspect attended Washington State University (WSU).

Video footage from the WSU campus showed a white Hyundai Elantra leaving the area and heading toward Moscow at around 2:53 a.m. At around 5:25 a.m., this vehicle was again observed on five cameras in Pullman and the WSU campus.

Police pulled records for white Hyundai Elantras registered at WSU on November 29 – just over two weeks after the murders were committed – and found one belonging to the man who was eventually arrested. Police reviewed the owner’s Washington state driver’s license and determined he matched the suspect’s physical description provided by one of the surviving roommates.

Police matched the suspect to the vehicle through two previous traffic stops in the months before the murders. They also learned that the suspect registered his car in Washington and received Washington plates on November 18 – five days after the murders.

Police also reviewed cell phone data to show the suspect’s phone did not ping any cellular towers near the crime scene during the relevant timeframe, but an expanded examination of cell phone data showed the phone stopped reporting data to the network at around 2:47 a.m. At that time, the white Elantra was leaving Pullman and heading toward Moscow. The phone next pinged at 4:48 a.m. in an area south of Moscow, heading back to Pullman. Cell records also showed that the suspect left his home in Pullman around 9:00 a.m. on November 13 and traveled back to Moscow.

Cell records dating back to June 2022 showed the suspect’s phone was in the crime scene area on at least 12 occasions before the murders – all but one in the late evening or early morning hours.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Suspected Idaho Killer’s Defense Claims Cell Phone Data Provides Alibi On Night Of Killings