Well, this is awkward. But is it ethical??
Bryan Kohberger is set to face trial in the coming months for the shocking murders of four University of Idaho students. But will it be with his current legal team?
His current lawyer is the public defender from nearby Kootenai County, a woman named Anne Taylor. But there’s a bit of an issue with her representing him. We learned last week that she had previously represented one of the victims’ parents. She had Xana Kernodle‘s mother as a client, 43-year-old Cara Kernodle, at the time the murder case came in. She quickly dropped that case after working on it a month, subbing in a new public defender, to jump over to defend Kohberger.
Huh?? Why? Aren’t there more public defenders? Well, as it turns out, not so many who have handled a capital murder case. In fact, she’s apparently the only one in North Idaho. Many critics have accused her of clout-chasing — as this case will be in a media spotlight from beginning to end. But it’s possible she was just the only one in the region qualified. Like we’ve said before, this isn’t the type of thing they see every day there.
Related: Cops Found Blood And Hairs At Kohberger’s Apartment
Only… it’s starting to look more and more like the Public Defender’s office might need to bring in someone from out of town. See, as it turns out Anne Taylor also represented ANOTHER victim’s parents!
In a jaw-dropping coincidence, Inside Edition reported over the weekend that records show Taylor represented Maddie Mogen‘s father, too. Benjamin Mogen faced two misdemeanor drug charges in 2020, and as his public defender Taylor got him a deal where he pleaded guilty to one and was sentenced to 90 days.
But that’s not all! She also represented Maddie’s stepmother, Korie Hatrock, who faced one misdemeanor and two felony drug counts. The more serious matter took longer but also resulted in a plea deal, to a single felony charge. The case seems to have been closed by December 28 of last year — two days before Kohberger’s surprise arrest.
That makes THREE parents of the four victims that Taylor represented. If it had a whiff of conflict of interest before, it’s an overwhelming stink now. Boise, Idaho defense attorney Edwina Elcox weighed in, telling Fox News Digital in particular the ongoing Kernodle case and her sudden abandonment of it was particularly problematic. She quipped:
“I wouldn’t touch that with a 10-foot pole. It just doesn’t seem right.”
However, she did concede:
“It’s not normal, but again this case isn’t normal. [Latah County] is a much smaller jurisdiction, where they may not have the resources and have somebody that is qualified to deal with the magnitude of this case.”
As for suggestions she’s doing it for attention, well, as LA defense attorney Lara Yerestrian told Fox, defending accused murderers isn’t the kind of attention folks usually want:
“It’s not the most popular thing to do, so you know that she’s not doing it necessarily for her career. She’s doing it because I’m assuming as a criminal defense attorney and a believer in the concept of a fair trial and our constitutional rights, she’s doing what she believes is her calling and her job, and that is to defend a defendant who’s been arrested and charged, even if it’s seen as a heinous crime to everyone. It’s what she does.”
But former prosecutor Neama Rahmani thinks regardless of intentions, it’s just too precarious:
“It’s a potential conflict of interest at best, and maybe an actual conflict if Taylor received confidential information related to the Kohberger case from any of the victims’ parents.”
You certainly don’t want anything with even the hint of impropriety in a case like this — not just because of how it looks under that media spotlight but also because you don’t want this to end in a mistrial for any reason.
What do YOU think? Should Anne Taylor be recused from the case??