A man accused of killing four students in the US was warned after making “creepy” and inappropriate comments to staff and customers at a brewery, its owner has claimed.
Bryan Christopher Kohberger was arrested at his parents’ house in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, on Friday.
He has been charged with the murders of four University of Idaho students who were found stabbed to death in a house on 13 November.
Kohberger, a 28-year-old PhD criminology student at Washington State University (WSU), which is a short drive from the University of Idaho, is also charged with felony burglary.
Prosecutors believe he broke into their home “with the intent to commit murder”.
Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, both 21, Xana Kernodle and her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, both 20, were likely asleep when they were attacked but there was no sign of sexual assault, police said.
Kohberger’s lawyer, Jason LaBar, said the PhD student plans to waive his extradition hearing, taking place to send him to Idaho from Pennsylvania, which is 2,500 miles away, so he can quickly be brought to Idaho to face charges as he is eager to be exonerated.
Detectives are now combing through Kohberger’s background, financial records and electronic communications and have asked those who know him to contact them to share anything they know about him.
Jordan Selrulneck, the owner of a brewery in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania – near where Kohberger was a student at DeSales University earlier in 2022 – said he had visited a few times that year and would sit at the bar by himself.
He told Sky News affiliate NBC News that Kohberger would make comments under his breath and staff added warning notes that would pop up when his ID was scanned.
“Staff put in there, ‘Hey, this guy makes creepy comments, keep an eye on him. He’ll have two or three beers and then just get a little too comfortable’,” he told NBC.
Image: (L-R) Kaylee Goncalves, Maddie Mogen, Ethan Chapin and Xana Kernodle were murdered in the house the women shared in Moscow, Idaho The owner of the Seven Sirens Brewing Company said the suspect would ask female staff or customers who they were with, where they lived and what their work schedule was.
He said if women brushed him off “he would get upset with them a little bit” and he called a staff member a disparaging term when she refused to answer.
Mr Selrulneck said Kohberger had not returned since he asked him months ago to be respectful to his staff.
“I went up to him and I said, ‘Hey Bryan, welcome back. We appreciate you coming back. I just wanted to talk to you real quick and make sure that you’re going to be respectful this time and we’re not going to have any issues’,” he said.
“And he was completely taken aback. He was shocked that I was saying that, and he said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. You totally have me confused’.”
He had one beer and then left, the brewery owner said.
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‘It isn’t the end of Idaho investigation’ ‘Suspect did not discuss murders’
Kohberger’s arrest is the first major development in the case, with students and residents of the small community of Moscow, Idaho, left fearing for their safety and desperate for answers.
BK Norton, a WSU student who took four courses with Kohberger, said the suspect attended classes until the end of the semester following the murders.
“When discussed in class, Bryan did not mention or contribute to the conversation of the murders,” they told NBC.
“We were released from class early after the murders to get home when it was still light out, and Bryan was in those classes with us.”
Image: Kohberger receiving his diploma from DeSales University in May
Image: Bryan Kohberger started his PhD at University of Idaho in August ‘Super awkward’
Ben Roberts, who started the WSU graduate programme with Kohberger in August, said the student was confident and outgoing but “he was always looking for a way to fit in”.
“I had honestly just pegged him as being super awkward,” he said.
“One thing he would always do, almost without fail, was find the most complicated way to explain something.”
Eileen Cesaretti, who lives opposite Kohberger’s parents in Chestnuthill Township, Pennsylvania, told the local paper she loves his parents and is fond of their son, who she said helped her around the house.
“I don’t think he’s capable of doing something like this. I pray to God he’s innocent,” she said.