Accused killer Bryan Kohberger was “gregarious and outgoing” during his first semester as a PhD student in criminology – but was “completely silent” during a discussion about the murder of four University of Idaho students, two former classmates said.
The 28-year-old doctoral candidate was one of the first students to introduce themselves at Washington State University in Pullman last fall, Ben Roberts told the Idaho Statesman.
“He seemed gregarious and outgoing, that was really the only impression that I got,” he told the outlet. “He was making the rounds. He definitely seemed a little more eager than some of the others that were present to go around and introduce himself.”
Roberts and another student said Kohberger appeared focused on his studies and spoke up regularly in class, particularly about his area of interest – understanding the criminal mind.
“Bryan only talked about his interest in forensic psychology,” a master’s student told the Statesman on condition of anonymity. “He was an incredibly strong student and talked during class every time.”
Roberts said Kohberger “sat front and center, and was not hiding or tucking back in the back. He was right there in the middle of it.”
But his demeanor took an abrupt turn during a courts and legal process class where the Nov. 13 murders were discussed on Dec. 12, the master’s student said.
Here’s the latest coverage on the brutal killings of four college friends:
“He was completely silent,” the former classmate told the news outlet.
“I’m shocked. I can’t believe this person was around me after they allegedly committed such a horrible crime,” the student added.
Roberts said that he and Kohberger had a few conversations outside school — “pretty typical icebreaker” chats about music and sports, as well as hiking, which Kohberger said he enjoyed.
He also noted that Kohberger appeared condescending toward female classmates.
“It’s hard to see a pattern emerging while you’re in the classroom, but he would tend to push back when a female was talking, more than a male talking,” Roberts told the Statesman.
“He was more keen on asking probing questions and things like that,” he added.
The other student also said Kohberger “talked down to LGBTQ+ individuals, those who are in a marginalized community, those who were disabled, and women.”
The student described how Kohberger appeared to get upset when another person put up a pride ally flag on a door.
Roberts also said that Kohberger had mentioned late in the semester that he hadn’t slept much the night before.
“I do remember it wasn’t the week before or week after the homicides, because I think that would have raised an alarm bell in my head,” he said.
“I believe it was right when we had some pretty heavy assignments, and I don’t think any of us were getting enough sleep,” Roberts told the paper.
Kohberger made his first court appearance in Moscow on Thursday and is being held at the Latah County Jail on four counts of first-degree murder and burglary.