Surviving Roommate in Idaho Murders Asks Not to Testify in Bryan Kohberger’s Trial

Bethany Funke, one of two surviving housemates in the University of Idaho quadruple homicide, has rejected a request to appear at the upcoming proceedings.

Surviving Roommate in Idaho Murders Asks Not to Testify in Bryan Kohberger’s Trial
Photo:Ted S. Warren (Getty Images)

In November, two students survived the brutal murders of their roommates, Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle, and Kaylee Goncalves in an off-campus residence at the University of Idaho. Now as Bryan Kohberger, the man charged with committing the quadruple homicide, prepares for trial, one student has just rejected the defense’s request to testify in the proceedings.

In a new report from NBC News, Bethany Funke, one of the surviving roommates, has filed a motion with a judge that asks that they not enforce a subpoena requiring her to appear at the preliminary hearing—and potentially, Kohberger’s entire trial—set for late June.

The 21-year-old’s lawyers wrote that the court “has no authority” to request the presence of their client, who resides out of state and has not been named a “material witness” in the case, per a court filing seen by News Nation. Kelli Anne Viloria, Funke’s attorney, went on to allege that the defense’s subpoena is in an effort to make Kohberger’s preliminary a “mini trial” of its own.

“There is no further information or detail pertaining to the substance of this testimony, its materiality or the alleged exculpatory information of Ms. Funke or why it would be entertained at preliminary hearing,” the filing reads. Meanwhile, Kohberger’s attorneys have argued that Funke’s testimony is necessary because she has evidence with the potential to prove Kohberger’s innocence.

“Ms. Funke’s information is unique to her experiences and cannot be provided by another witness,” defense attorney, Richard Bitonti, wrote in an affidavit.

Given that Funke was unaware the murders had taken place until she woke to find her friends’ bodies in the upstairs floor of their home, it’s unclear how asking her to attend the preliminary hearing, testifying in the trial, and subsequently retraumatizing her would be at all helpful in exonerating Kohberger. Notably, after cooperating with police throughout the investigation, Funke denied that she has any information that could clear Kohberger.

That a young woman who’s just lost four of her friends and housemates would be forced to act as a pawn in what will inevitably become a media circus is quite frankly, yet another inane byproduct of a cynical court system.

Thus far, Funke and Dylan Mortensen—the second survivor—have remained publicly silent regarding the murders with the exception of heartbreaking letters read aloud by a pastor at a funeral service for Kernodle. In her letter, Funke memorialized her friends as: “gifts to this world in your own special way—and it just won’t be the same without you.”

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