Idaho massacre suspect could face death by firing squad if convicted

Feb 27, 2023 | Political News

Bryan Kohberger, the suspect in the gruesome slaying of the death of four University of Idaho students could face a firing squad if convicted.

Kohberger, the 28-year-old former criminal-justice doctoral student, has been charged in the brutal Nov. 13 stabbing deaths of the University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20  Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Madison Mogen, 21.

Prosecutors have not yet indicated if they plan to pursue the death penalty against Kohberger if he is convicted, but last week Republican state lawmaker Rep. Bruce Skaug, chairman of the state House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee, introduced a bill that would bring back the firing squad as a legal form of execution in Idaho.

Idaho executions are currently performed using lethal injection but according to Skaug’s bill state Department of Correction officials must determine if lethal injection is available no more than five days after the issuance of a death warrant and if not, a firing squad would be used.

According to the East Idaho News, Skaug introduced the legislation after state officials had to cancel a scheduled execution in November because they could not find lethal injection chemicals. The outlet reported that the lawmaker believes firing squads are more humane because they cannot be botched.

Utah as well as other states have brought back firing squads for the same reasons and death by firing squad was legal in Idaho from 1982 to 2009.

The state was forced to cancel the scheduled execution of Gerald Pizzuto Jr. in November because the chemicals weren’t available. The state Legislature passed a bill in 2022 that provides anonymity to companies or pharmacies that provide the drugs used in lethal injections hoping more companies would be willing to provide them.

Prosecutors have until the end of July to decide if they will pursue the death penalty.

Law enforcement officials allege that Kohberger stalked his victims for weeks before the murders and claim to have DNA evidence linking him to the crime scene. He has been charged with four counts of murder and is expected to enter a plea on June 26 and remains in custody in Idaho.