Bryan Kohberger is escorted to an extradition hearing at the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg


  • Prosecutors have not said whether they will pursue the death penalty against Bryan Kohberger if he is convicted
  • Idaho GOP state Rep. Bruce Skaug argued that death by firing squad is more humane than lethal injection
  • Death by firing squad was a legal method of execution in Idaho from 1982 to 2009

Bryan Kohberger, the suspect in the November 2022 killings of four college students in Idaho, could face a firing squad if he is convicted of his charges.

Kohberger, 28, faces four charges of first-degree murder, which is considered a heinous crime and is punishable by death in Idaho.

Idaho GOP state Rep. Bruce Skaug last week introduced a bill that would bring back execution by firing squad as a backup to lethal injection, which is currently the only legal form of execution in Idaho, the East Idaho News reported.

Skaug noted that firing squads are less likely to be botched compared to lethal injection.

"I am not the expert on the matter. What I have read is that there can be about 10 seconds of extreme pain before death at times, but I find it to be, in my personal view, more humane than lethal injection. Lethal injection gets botched about [6-8%] of the time and is a mess," Skaug said, according to NBC Montana.

In November 2022, Idaho had to cancel the scheduled execution of Gerald Pizzuto Jr. because the authorities could not find lethal injection chemicals.

Execution by firing squad has been an option for carrying out death sentences in the state since 1982, but it was removed in 2009.

In addition to four first-degree murder charges, Kohberger also faces a burglary charge in the Nov. 13, 2022, stabbing deaths of University of Idaho students Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Ethan Chapin, 20 and Xana Kernodle, 20.

While prosecutors have not announced whether they plan to pursue the death penalty against the criminal-justice doctoral student if he is convicted, legal experts believe that the magnitude of the crime is enough to seek capital punishment.

"If you believe in the death penalty, this is a death penalty case," Neama Rahmani, a trial lawyer and former federal prosecutor, told People.

"You have multiple victims, you have evidence of premeditation, you have a victim's family who wants the death penalty, so there's a lot of aggregating factors here," the lawyer added.

Rahmani added that prosecutors would also face a lot of pressure to seek a death sentence as the killings became "one of the most gruesome murders in Idaho state history."

Steve and Kristi Goncalves, the parents of murder victim Kaylee, expressed their support for the death penalty against Kohberger if he is convicted, saying justice would be served once the suspect "leave[s] the planet."

Following his arrest on Dec. 30, 2022, Kohberger was extradited from his home state of Pennsylvania to Idaho, where he remains in custody.

Kohberger will be back in court for his preliminary hearing on June 26.

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