The attorney representing the sole suspect in the brutal murder of four University of Idaho students in November in Moscow city has multiple ties to the victims’ parents.
It was revealed earlier this week that Cara Northington, the mother of the victim, Xana Kenodle, 20, was being represented by Bryan Kohberger’s attorney Anne Taylor for drug charges until Jan. 5, the same day the suspect was extradited to Idaho.
Court documents obtained by Inside edition now show that as late as June 2022, Taylor, the chief of the Kootenai Public Defender’s Office, represented Madison Mogen’s stepmother, Korie Hatrock, on drug charges. Taylor also oversaw a case involving Mogen’s father, Benjamin, in 2020.
On December 30, police arrested Kohberger, a doctoral student in criminology at Washington State University in Pullman, eight miles from the Moscow residence.
He is accused of viciously stabbing Kenodle and Mogen, as well as Kaylee Goncalves and Ethan Chapin. The suspect was arrested at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania on December 30 and extradited to Idaho on January 5.
Court records obtained by Inside Edition now show that Anne Taylor, the head of the Kootenai Public Defender’s Office, pictured here, represented Madison Mogen’s stepmother who previously
Madison Mogen’s father, Ben, and stepmom, Korie Hatrock, pictured together in August 2020
Ben Mogen was sentenced to 90 days in jail after pleading guilty to charges in 2020. While Hatrock pleaded guilty to possession of an illegal substance, but it is unclear if she served any jail time.
Some speculate that Taylor’s appointment to represent Kohberger was a necessity because the small county did not have an abundance of qualified public defenders.
Taylor is one of only 13 public defenders in Idaho approved by the state’s Public Defense Commission to lead a death penalty case. She is also the only one in all of Northern Idaho.
The chief public defender role is responsible for planning, implementing, coordinating, directing and evaluating activities and programs of the office of public defender, according to a previous job posting for the role in Idaho.
Bryan Kohberger is the sole suspect in the November 13 murder of Madison Mogen and her three friends in Moscow, Idaho.
Taylor has been in the role since June 2017. At the time of her appointment, she told de Couer d’Alene Post Falls Press, “It is such necessary work. It is important to ensure that constitutional rights apply to everyone. You help people in need. I like the work.’
The piece mentions that Taylor was a graduate of Idaho State University and the University of Idaho. After graduation, Taylor spent five years with the Kootenai County District Attorney’s Office.
California appellate and litigation attorney Matthew Barhoma told DailyMail.com that Taylor seems to want to work on the case with Kohberger — he describes it as a “strange and unique” situation.
He said: “Taylor had many prior contacts with the mother on multiple occasions and that heightens the conflict. You have to assume she didn’t get any confidential information from the mother that could seep into this case.
“And then you have to wonder if you can do the job impartially, and it could affect Bryan, who may not have a replacement attorney.
‘It’s an inherently difficult issue that doesn’t have a ready-made answer and it’s a gray area. But if it were me, I’d retire from the business.”
Taylor is seen with her 28-year-old client on January 5. He was a PhD student in criminology at Washington State University, eight miles from the murder scene.
Victims: Pictured are the four Idaho students who were stabbed to death in the early hours of November 13. Ethan Chapin (center right), Xana Kerndole (right), Kaylee Goncalves (bottom left), and Madison Mogen (top left)
Taylor is seen with Kohberger on January 5 – the day Taylor stopped representing Northington
Xana Kenodle’s mom has claimed she gave Taylor power of attorney during her legal troubles over her drug addiction and isn’t sure what happens next in her case.
Northington says she “trusted” the attorney to help her, and is unsure if she has a new representation.
She added that she feels “betrayed” by Taylor, and felt she was “abandoned by prosecutors” who knew that Kohberger is a student at WSU – where Xana’s sister Jaszzmin attends.
Northington, who has long battled addiction, said she only found out Taylor was representing her daughter’s accused killer when a friend saw it on social media and told her.
It was unclear why a liaison officer from the Victim and Witness Coordinator team had not reached out.
Barhoma explained that it is “plausible” that Taylor only became aware of the conflict after taking the case – but believes it “would have come out sooner.”
He added: “There is a significant conflict of interest, despite having removed herself from the mother’s case, she should also be removed from Bryan’s case.”
Kohberger was arrested by a SWAT team at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania on December 30 when they moved to search his apartment at Washington State University.
He has previously stated that he believes he will be ‘exonerated’ as his family is unable to afford his private representation.