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Bryan Kohberger ‘seemed preoccupied’ after Idaho murders: student

A former student of accused Idaho killer Bryan Kohberger said the teaching assistant seemed “preoccupied” and started grading leniently following the murders of the four University of Idaho students.

“Definitely around then, he started grading everybody just 100s. Pretty much if you turned something in, you were getting high marks,” Washington State University student Hayden Stinchfield told CNN’s Erin Burnett Monday night.

“He stopped leaving notes. He seemed preoccupied,” the student added.

“The couple times that he did come after, or around that time period, he had a little more facial hair, stubble, less well-kept. He was a little quieter.”

Kohberger, who was arrested in Pennsylvania on Friday, is being held at the Monroe County Jail, where he awaits extradition to Idaho to face murder charges in the stabbing deaths of University of Idaho students Ethan Chapin, 20, Xana Kernodle, 20, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, and Madison Mogen, 21, on Nov. 13.

Hayden Stinchfield, a criminology student at Washington State University
Hayden Stinchfield, a criminology student at Washington State University, said Bryan Kohberger “seemed preoccupied” as a teaching assistant.
Accused Idaho killer Bryan Kohberger
Kohberger, a criminal justice PhD student, worked as a teaching assistant at the Pullman campus of WSU, where he had a reputation as a tough grader.

The criminal justice PhD student worked as a teaching assistant at the Pullman campus of WSU, where he had a reputation as a tough grader.

“He’d be grading you on what he ended up calling a ‘higher standard,’” Stinchfield told the outlet. “But what it really felt like to us was he was grading us like he would have graded himself as a PhD student … We were all annoyed by him.”

He said his professor “brought in Bryan, and he was like, ‘All right, go at him.’ And he had Bryan stand up. And a few people were on his side because they wanted to keep their high grades … but for the most part, it was like half of a 150-person class just asking these real critical questions.”

Stinchfield added: “It wasn’t like yelling or anything, but it was certainly conflict.”

But Kohberger’s demeanor took an abrupt turn and his appearance changed after the shocking murders, the student said.

“The previous mental preoccupation that we had been noticing, where it was like he didn’t really want to be there, that was at an all-time high,” Stinchfield said.

“He just didn’t look like he was doing great,” he added.

Reacting to the arrest of his former TA, Stinchfield said: “It was just like, totally jarring, totally shocking to realize that this person who had been grading my papers was allegedly this horrible murderer.”

Slain Idaho students
Slain students Madison Mogen, 21, top left, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, bottom left, Ethan Chapin, 20, center, and Xana Kernodle, 20, right.

Another criminology student who attended one of Kohberger’s classes told the Spokesman-Review that he “always seemed a little bit on edge,”

“We just assumed he was kind of shy,” Joey Famularo told the newspaper.

Jasmine Lander, who graduated this month with a degree in psychology, agreed that Kohberger had been a tough grader before changing his approach in a criminal justice class.

She told the Spokesman-Review that toward the end of the semester, the professor indicated he was not pleased with the amount of work Kohberger was doing and had not been replying to emails.

”He didn’t really seem like he wanted to be there, and his effort kind of showed,” Lander told the outlet.

Accused Idaho killer Bryan Kohberger
Kohberger awaits extradition to Idaho to face four counts of first-degree murder.
Monroe County Correctional Facil/AFP via Getty Images

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Kohberger initially waived his right to counsel and agreed to speak with investigators after he was caught — but he then requested an attorney, Law and Crime reported.

His public defender in Pennsylvania, Jason LaBar, told the outlet that his client waived his Miranda rights and spoke with law enforcement for five to 15 minutes on Friday morning.

LaBar said Kohberger told him that police asked if he understood what was going on — and he responded by saying something to the effect of “yes, certainly I’m aware of what’s going on. I’m 10 miles away from this.”

Kohberger then invoked his right to counsel and requested  a lawyer, LaBar told Law and Crime.

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