The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

University to demolish Idaho house where four students were killed

The site will be destroyed by the end of the spring semester, the University of Idaho says. Bryan Kohberger, who was a graduate student at a nearby university, has been charged in the killings.

Bryan Kohberger, who is accused of stabbing four University of Idaho students to death in November 2022, is scheduled to appear in court in June. (Video: Joy Yi, Sarah Hashemi/The Washington Post, Photo: David Ryder/Getty Images/The Washington Post)
2 min

The house where four University of Idaho students were killed last year will be razed in the coming months after the owner gave the residence to the university for free, the school’s president said Friday, though what will become of the lot has yet to be decided.

“This is a healing step and removes the physical structure where the crime that shook our community was committed,” University of Idaho President Scott Green said in a statement. “Demolition also removes efforts to further sensationalize the crime scene.”

University of Idaho spokeswoman Jodi Walker told The Washington Post the home was given to the university and the school plans to demolish the house by the end of the spring semester.

“We are evaluating options where students may be involved in the future development of the property,” the president’s statement said.

Latest Idaho killing details haunt suspect’s school as new semester begins

The university also announced that planning is underway to create a garden memorial to honor the four students. It will be located on campus, but the location has not been identified.

Students Madison Mogen, 21; Kaylee Goncalves, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Ethan Chapin, 20, were stabbed to death at the house, located on King Road in Moscow, Idaho, in the early morning of Nov. 13, 2022.

Bryan Christopher Kohberger, 28, was arrested and charged with four counts of first-degree murder and one count of felony burglary on Dec. 30, more than six weeks after the killings. Kohberger was a doctoral student, studying criminal justice and criminology at nearby Washington State University at the time of the slayings. He is awaiting trial.

The killings shocked the college town, and fear and confusion rose among students on the 9,000-person campus. The university allowed students to finish the semester remotely, following the Thanksgiving break.

This is not the first time the site of a high-profile murder case has been demolished by a nearby university.

In 1992, the Campus Circle Project, an organization affiliated with Marquette University, purchased and demolished the Oxford Apartments in Milwaukee, where Jeffrey Dahmer drugged, strangled and murdered many of his victims. Today, it remains a vacant lot surrounded by a fence, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

In the aftermath of a tragedy, it is not uncommon to have murder sites knocked down, abandoned or repurposed, according to Dimitris Xygalatas, associate professor of anthropology and psychological sciences at the University of Connecticut.

“Even as the pain remains, the knowledge that a tangible reminder of it has been undone can be soothing,” Xygalatas wrote last year in the Conversation, a nonprofit news website.