In a shock to many, the University of Idaho is preparing to demolish the off-campus house where four Idaho university students were killed last year on Nov. 13th, having being found stabbed to death. Prosecutors allege that Bryan Kohberger, a criminology Ph.D. student at nearby Washington State University, had broken into the home and committed the murders.

The house is slated for demolition tomorrow, Thursday, December 28th at 7:00 a.m. The university just announced their demolition plans on Thursday, December 14th, not giving the public much notice to allow them to object in time to stop it.

But people ARE taking notice including the popular true crime podcast “Crime Weekly” whose co- hosts don’t think the university should be destroying a crime scene before the trial even takes place. In fact, a trial date hasn’t even been set yet.

Where are the injunctions by the police? The prosecutors? The defense attorneys?

Although Kohberger’s defense team was given access to the home on December 14th and 15th to take photos and measurements and state prosecutors were also allowed the same access, it’s not as good as having the real house still in existence.

Co-hosts Stephanie Harlowe and Derrick Levasseur recently released a podcast episode on the university’s demolition plans which you can listen to here on Apple Podcasts. In it, Harlow takes issue with a statement from Scott Green, the university’s president, who said, “While we appreciate the emotional connection some family members of the victims may have to this house, it is time for its removal and to allow the collective healing of our community to continue.”

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Harlowe says about the demolition, “This doesn’t make any sense to me.” She goes on to push back against Green’s statement by saying it’s “condescending” to use an emotional attachment as an excuse to bring the house down. She says, “It’s just literally, the whole point of this is it’s a crime scene. A crime happened there and the crime hasn’t been adjudicated yet. It’s not gone through the justice system yet. Not only do you maybe want to take a jury through there but there could potentially be evidence that hasn’t been collected yet. There could be things there that could still have some use for the defense or the prosecution, for either side.”

Florida-based defense attorney, Mark NeJame from NeJame Law, who has no affiliation with the case, agrees with Harlowe. Demolishing the house, he says, will likely benefit Kohberger’s defense. The U.S. Sun reports NeJame as also saying that the prosecution’s case could be in jeopardy if a ruling is made against the FBI’s 3D rendering of the home. NeJame told them, “It will be beneficial to the defense because of there’s a discussion in keeping out a 3D rendering or video, then you’re simply relying on people’s memories and recollections and the reports that are put together by law enforcement.” He added, “There’s nothing more important than actual evidence. I would think the community is outraged over this…”

Harlowe says in her podcast that 98% of the families are not happy with this. The Goncalves family released the following statement through their attorney, Shanon Gray: “Let us ask this: Isn’t it better to have the King Rd. House and not need it than need the house and not have it? That has been our question to the Prosecution and the University of Idaho for the entire time the demo of the King Road has been an issue. But why is it even up for discussion? This is one of the most horrific crimes in the history of Idaho and the University of Idaho wants to destroy one of the most critical pieces of evidence in the case – and it is also important to make note that there is now a demolition date before there is even a trial date set. This alone speaks volumes. There may be additional discovery by either party that prompts one side or the other to go back to the scene of the crime.”

They added in the statement that the wishes of the families of the victims are being ignored by the university. The statement said, ”It’s like screaming into a void. Nobody is listening and everyone tells you how sorry they are for the decision but the families’ opinion isn’t a priority. Victims’ families have a voice and should be heard and listened to!”

On the other side of the issue, the Chapin family DOES support getting rid of the house. In a statement they say, “We’re supportive of the decision to take down the King Street House – for the good of the University, its students (including our own kids), and the community of Moscow.”

In the Crime Weekly podcast, the co-hosts said it appears that the college just wants the house gone because it’s a stain on the university – including keeping potential future university students away from enrolling.

However, there does also seem to be some logistical issues with the house creating problems in the neighborhood (which could probably be alleviated with security measures). KHQ reports that people are driving by and creating traffic issues. Some are getting out of their vehicles and taking photos and even selfies in front of the house.

But that’s really, in my opinion, far less of a less concern than losing a crime scene for a murder that hasn’t even gone to trial yet.

What if the police get a tip about evidence hidden in a wall? The house will be gone. What if the jury needs to walk through the house to get a better idea of how the crime took place? Too bad. The house will be gone.

The demolition has been delayed multiple times over the objections of some of the victims’ families. But who cares about them, right? The university has decided to move ahead with their demolition plans anyway with Idaho President Scott Green saying in a statement last week that the house is a “grim reminder of the heinous act that took place there.”

So is New York City. So are many other crime scenes across the United States. They don’t get permanently destroyed before trials and appeals take place.

I’m sure that suspect Brian Kohberger is overjoyed that any more evidence that might be in the house will be gone forever.

But will Ethan Chapin, Madison Mogen, Xana Kernodle and Kaylee Goncalves be able to get the justice they deserve? Maybe not if Idaho University has its way.

There is currently an online petition to stop the demolition of the house at least until after the trial takes place and there is “no possible evidentiary value.” The petition already has 4,619 signatures of the 5,000 requested. One of those signers includes Crime Weekly podcast co-host, Harlowe, who asked others to sign it as well.

Comments on the petition include Lisa Duggan who said, “It is Immoral to tear this house down before the conclusion of a trial! If Your Students Come 1st, that Includes Ethan Chapin, Xana Kernodle, Madison Mogen and Kaylee Goncalves.” Signer Pauline Deschene says in all-caps, “THIS HOUSE SHOULD NOT BE TORN DOWN UNTIL THEY ARE ABSOLUTELY SURE THEY HAVE THE RIGHT PERSON! DONT DESTROY THE EVIDENCE!!!”

The reason that the school even has a say in the matter is because the property owner had donated the home to the school after the killings. And THAT seems to have been a mistake at this point.