The mother of one of the slain University of Idaho students says the lawyer representing the suspect has power of attorney over her affairs.
Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20 and Ethan Chapin, 20, were found dead in a rental home in Moscow, Idaho, on November 13.
Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old Ph.D. student in criminology at Washington State University, was arrested more than seven weeks later at his parents’ home in Pennsylvania and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary.
He has not yet entered a plea, but a lawyer who represented him in Pennsylvania prior to his extradition to Idaho said he was “eager to be exonerated.”
It has since emerged that his court-appointed attorney, Kootenai County chief public defender Anne Taylor, was representing Kernodle’s mother, Cara Kernodle, up until taking his case, which legal experts told Newsweek raises questions about a conflict of interest.
Cara Kernodle has now revealed that she had signed power of attorney over to Taylor, and feels “betrayed” by her now representing the man accused of killing her daughter. Details of the power of attorney document have not been made public.
“I’d already signed over power of attorney so that she could help me with getting into rehab and whatnot,” she told NewsNation’s Ashleigh Banfield.
“I don’t understand how she could do this. I don’t understand what happens now. Does she still have power of attorney or what goes on now?”
Court records show Taylor filed an attorney withdrawal notice in Kootenai County Court for Kernodle’s mother on January 5—the same day Kohberger made an initial appearance in the Latah County courtroom. The substituted attorney, Christopher Schwartz, is listed as a “conflict public defender” in the court documents.
Cara Kernodle said she was not notified about the switch and only recently found out through a friend who read about it on social media.
“I’m heartbroken because I trusted her,” she said. “She pretended that she was wanting to help me and to find that out that she’s representing him, I can’t even convey how betrayed I feel.”
She added that she had not spoken with Taylor recently.
“I haven’t spoken with her. I found out through a friend who found it on Reddit,” she said.
Cara Kernodle added that she “absolutely” would oppose Taylor representing Kohberger, and refuse to sign a waiver that would allow her to continue doing so.
Newsweek has contacted Cara Kernodle and Taylor’s office for comment.
A gag order issued by Latah County Magistrate Judge Megan Marshall earlier in January bars Taylor—as well as law enforcement agencies and others associated with the case—from talking about it. The order was broadened last week to also prohibit attorneys representing survivors, witnesses or the victims’ family members from talking or writing about the case.