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Bryan Kohberger’s former professor said he was a ‘brilliant’ student

A former university professor of Bryan Kohberger said the accused killer was “one of my best students, ever” — and that the then-master’s candidate was one of only two students she has recommended to a PhD program.

Michelle Bolger, 33, an associate professor at DeSales University in Pennsylvania, told the Daily Mail that Kohberger, who was arrested in the murder of four University of Idaho students, was a “great writer” and “brilliant student.”

“In my 10 years of teaching, I’ve only recommended two students to a Ph.D program and he was one of them. He was one of my best students, ever. Everyone is in shock over this,” she told the outlet, adding that he was “always perfectly professional” with her.

The associate professor at the private Catholic university in Center Valley, Pennsylvania, said she was stunned that her former student has been charged in the shocking crime.

“I’m shocked as s— at what he’s been accused of. I don’t believe it, but I get it,” Bolger said. “This news is upsetting. I haven’t slept at all since hearing about Bryan.”

Associate Professor Michelle Bolger, who taught quadruple murder suspect Bryan Kohberger
Michelle Bolger, an associate professor at DeSales University, described Bryan Kohberger as a “brilliant student.”
DeSales University

Bolger told the news outlet that she taught Kohberger in an online class last year and helped him with his master’s thesis at DeSales.

“I never saw him in person, I couldn’t tell you how tall he was or how much he weighed, my only interaction with him was via email and Zoom. I didn’t know anything about him, whether he was married, had a girlfriend, etc.,” Bolger told the Daily Mail.

“He seemed normal to me, but then again, I only knew him from teaching him online. I didn’t know anything personal about him. I believe he worked full time like most of our graduate students do,” she added.

Quadruple murder suspect Bryan Kohberger
Bolger said the quadruple murder suspect “was one of my best students, ever.”
Monroe County Correctional Facil/AFP via Getty Images
Slain University of Idaho students
Slain University of Idaho students Madison Mogen (top left), 21, Kaylee Goncalves (bottom left), 21, Ethan Chapin (center), 20, and Xana Kernodle (right), 20.

Bolger said she advised Kohberger with his thesis, which involved questioning people about their thoughts and feelings during the commission of a crime.

“I was one of the professors who helped Bryan with his proposal on his graduate thesis, his capstone project. He did put out a routine questionnaire for his thesis. It looks weird, I understand from the public view. But in criminology it’s normal,” she told the Daily Mail.

“It’s a criminology theory called script theory, it’s a normal theory on how and why criminals commit their crime, etc.,” she said.

Kohberger's listing as undergrad at DeSales University
Kohberger received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from DeSales University in 2020.
DeSales University

After graduating from DeSales last year, Kohberger enrolled as a doctoral student at Washington State University in Pullman, just 15 miles from Moscow.

The 28-year-old was arrested Friday in his family home in Pennsylvania and will soon be extradited to Idaho to face four counts of first-degree murder after he waived his right to an extradition hearing.

He “is eager to be exonerated of these charges and looks forward to resolving these matters as promptly as possible,” his public defender Jason LaBar said in a statement.

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