MOSCOW, Idaho - The King Road home where four University of Idaho students were killed last year will not be demolished until at least October, the school's president announced.
"Since that fateful night in November, the house on King Road where four of our fellow Vandals were senselessly killed has stood as a stark reminder of what was lost. We lost our innocence and our sense of safety. We realized that evil can visit our town and we lost four bright souls from our Vandal Family," Scott Green, President of the University of Idaho, said in a memo Wednesday. "Upon the completion of the remediation of the house, including lead and asbestos abatement, we will pause demolition. We will revisit this decision in October. There is no legal requirement for leaving the house standing — both the prosecution and defense have released any interest in the house for their cases. We still fully expect to demolish the house, which was given to the university by the former owner. But we believe leaving the house standing, for now, is the right course to take."
Previously, objections had been raised to demolishing the house, with members of three of the victims' families signaling it should be preserved until after the trial of the man charged in the deaths.
Shanon Gray, an attorney for the family of Kaylee Goncalves, one of the stabbing victims, said the university was disregarding families’ requests that the home be left standing until after the trial of Bryan Kohberger, which is set to begin in October.
The bodies of Goncalves, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin were found last Nov. 13 at the rental home across the street from the University of Idaho campus. Kohberger is charged with four counts of murder in connection with their deaths.
The owner of the property donated it to the school after the killings, and the university announced earlier this year that it was planning to demolish the home. A demolition date had not been set, but university spokesperson Jodi Walker said the school wants the house gone before the start of the fall semester.
Gray said in an email to the Idaho Statesman that the university asked for the families' opinions "and then proceeded to ignore those opinions and pursue their own self-interests. The home itself has enormous evidentiary value as well as being the largest, and one of the most important, pieces of evidence in the case."
General view of the house at 1122 King Road, Moscow, Idaho, on Sunday, May 21, 2023. The home is boarded up following the murder of four students here in November last year. (Derek Shook for Fox News Digital)
Members of the Mogen and Kernodle families also opposed demolishing the property until after trial, the attorney said. Gray was unsure what position the Chapin family had. Members of the Chapin, Mogen and Kernodle families did not respond to requests for comment from the newspaper.
Gray also represents the Goncalves and Mogen families in tort claims filed against the university, the city of Moscow and Idaho State Police. That step preserves the families’ rights to sue the government entities if they choose in connection with the deaths of their children.
Walker said university officials had been in "regular communication" with the victims’ families since taking ownership of the house.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.