In an email to students and employees, the university’s president, Scott Green, said the university still has plans to tear down the house, but won’t do it until October, when the man accused of the murders is expected to. be processed.
Mr. Green said he is trying to balance the needs of the students forced to walk past the house every day with those of the families of the victims and others who have expressed concerns that the demolition of the house could hinder the prosecution of the suspect, Bryan Kohberger, who was a graduate student at a nearby university.
« We still expect to completely demolish the house, which was given to the university by the former owner, » Green said. « But we believe that leaving the house standing, for now, is the right path to take. »
Some of the family members of the four students killed: Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, pressed the university to halt the planned demolition of the property.
Steve Goncalves, Ms Goncalves’ father, said he was concerned that the demolition of the house would preclude a jury from visiting the property if necessary.
« What’s best for the case is for us to heed and protect what the jury might want to wrap their heads around, » said Mr. Goncalves.
Shanon Gray, an attorney representing the Goncalves family, said jurors may need to see the house to understand how noise traveled through the building and how a killer might have moved through the unusual six-bedroom arrangement. of the House.
Jury visits are rare, and emails obtained by The New York Times show that both Mr. Kohberger’s attorney, Anne Taylor, and lead prosecutor, Bill Thompson, said they did not object to the university’s initial plans. demolish the building ahead of a new class of students who arrived in August.
Mr. Chapin’s parents were less sure. Mr. Chapin’s mother Stacy agrees with Mr. Goncalves that the demolition of the house this summer was swift. But she noted that Mr. Chapin’s two brothers—they were triplets—are still students at the University of Idaho, and one of them has a room that overlooks the house.
« Our children have to walk past that house every day, » Ms. Chapin said. “Children need to heal. The university must heal. And the community. »
Mr. Green said the university, which was awarded ownership of the house after the killings by the previous private owner, would review its decision in October, and in the meantime it would move forward with « the abatement of lead and asbestos « .
“There is no legal requirement to leave the house standing — both the prosecution and defense have released any interest in the house for their cases,” Green said.
Mr. Green said the personal items of people who had lived there had been removed and would soon be returned to the families who wanted them.
Mike Baker contributed report.