Family of Idaho Murders Victim Kaylee Goncalves Reacts to Bryan Kohberger’s 'Stargazing' Alibi

Bryan Kohberger, a former criminal justice Ph.D student, is accused of murdering four University of Idaho students in Nov. 2022

<p>August Frank-Pool/Getty </p> Bryan Kohberger

August Frank-Pool/Getty

Bryan Kohberger

The family of one of the University of Idaho students found stabbed to death in November 2022 is not impressed with accused killer Bryan Kohberger’s new alibi.

Kohberger, 29, is accused of murdering four college students at their home in Moscow, Idaho, on Nov. 13, 2022. This week, the former criminal justice Ph.D student, filed an official alibi in court claiming that he was out driving around and looking at the stars the night of the murders.

Prosecutors allege Kohberger snuck into students' house that night and stabbed Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Madison Mogen, 21, and Kaylee Goncalves, 21, to death with a knife.

Kohberger was a graduate student and a teaching assistant at Washington State University at the time of the killings. After a police search that lasted several weeks amid high-profile media coverage, Kohberger was arrested in December, 2022, at his family’s home in Pennsylvania and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and felony burglary.

Investigators say they've tied Kohberger to the crime scene through DNA and cell phone pings. Police also seized a white Hyundai Elantra — the same vehicle authorities were searching for throughout the seven-week manhunt — from Kohberger's family’s home where he was arrested.

Related: Idaho Murder Suspect: What We Know About Bryan Kohberger

<p>Zach Wilkinson-Pool/Getty</p> Bryan Kohberger

Zach Wilkinson-Pool/Getty

Bryan Kohberger

Authorities have not detailed an alleged motive in the attack, and Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall issued a gag order to restrict details about the case from becoming public.

But this week, Kohberger’s defense team filed his official alibi claiming the accused killer "was out driving in the early morning hours of November 13, 2022; as he often did to hike and run and/or see the moon and stars," according to documents obtained by local KREM 2 and other outlets.

"He drove throughout the area south of Pullman, Washington, west of Moscow, Idaho including Wawawai Park,” Kohberger’s lawyers claim.

Related: Idaho Murders Suspect Bryan Kohberger's Alibi Claim Declared in New Court Filing

<p>Zach Wilkinson-Pool/Getty </p> Bryan Kohberger

Zach Wilkinson-Pool/Getty

Bryan Kohberger

But Kohberger’s explanation for why he was in the area that night isn't convincing, according to Goncalves’ family. The family released a statement shortly after the alibi was made public.

“We have been waiting on this information for months and it has finally arrived,” the statement read, according to KREM 2. “It is so hard not knowing anything about the case and you find you have to cling to dates, motions and hearings in order to figure out anything. A big part of this has been waiting on the Alibi information. Now that it is here we feel even more confident in the prosecution of the Defendant.”

Related: Bryan Kohberger's Cheek Swab Allegedly Matched DNA Found at University of Idaho Murder Scene: Prosecutors

The family continued: “The Defense’s claim is that the Defendant was driving late at night hiking/running and stargazing. We are not sure why it has taken over a year for this to come out as those don’t seem to be complicated activities. We believe that If this alibi had any weight it would have been submitted months ago. It also in direct conflict with the Probable Cause affidavit that states that the Defendant’s phone was turned off between 2:47am and 4:48am. So if the Defendant was driving around and there is cell phone information that he was in a different place it would be either before or after the times of the murders. Hence not really an alibi.”

Related: How Strong Is Idaho Murders Suspect Bryan Kohberger's Alibi? Legal Expert Weighs In (Exclusive)

The family then thanked the public for its support over the last year and a half. Meanwhile, Idaho prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in Kohberger’s case.

Neama Rahmani, a legal expert who has worked as a former federal prosecutor, recently told PEOPLE that Kohberger's claim is "a weak alibi defense."

"The reason this is coming out now is most states require the defense to provide notice of an alibi defense. So it's required by law," Rahmani added. "If you don't provide the advance notice, you can't raise the defense at trial. So what I think is happening is that Kohberger's defense team, they're trying to tailor the story to the evidence. I mean, who drives by themselves in the middle of the night for no reason, or to look at the stars?"

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