Suspect in Idaho slayings had made ‘creepy’ comments to brewery staff, customers, owner says

BETHLEHEM, PA. Some employees of a Pennsylvania brewery knew that the suspect in the murders of four University of Idaho students last month was making «creepy» and inappropriate comments, the business owner said.

Since Bryan Christopher Kohberger’s arrest Friday in Albrightsville, Pennsylvania, some of those who knew or had exchanges with the 28-year-old are now reflecting on those interactions in light of his arrest on a warrant for murder in the deaths of the students in Moscow on November 13. , Idaho.

Jordan Serulneck, 34, the owner of Seven Sirens Brewing Company in Bethlehem, said Kohberger had gone to the brewery alone several times and sat at the bar.

The exchanges at the brewery occurred months ago, likely when the suspect was a student at DeSales University in Center Valley, less than 6 miles south of Bethlehem, Serulneck said. Kohberger graduated from DeSales with a bachelor’s degree in 2020 and completed her graduate studies there in June 2022, according to the university.

The brewery sometimes had «unusual characters,» Serulneck said, but he remembered Kohberger for some interactions he had with female customers and staff.

Serulneck said Kohberger did not do anything in front of him or management, but said he would make comments quietly or if only one person was working the bar.

In the bar’s system, staff had added notes that appeared when their ID was scanned, Serulneck said.

“The staff said, ‘Hey, this guy makes creepy comments, keep an eye on him. He’ll have two or three beers and then he’ll get too comfortable,'» he said.

Serulneck said Kohberger would ask female staff or customers who they were with at the brewery, where they lived and what their work hours were. He said that if women rejected him, he would «get a little annoyed with them,» noting that he once called one of her staff members a derogatory term when he refused to answer her questions.

Kohberger had not returned to the brewery since Serulneck approached him months ago about complaints from his staff, the owner said.

“I went up to him and said, ‘Hey Bryan, welcome back. We appreciate you coming back. … I just wanted to talk to you real quick and make sure you’re going to be respectful this time and we’re not going to have any problems,’” he said. “And he was completely taken aback. He was surprised that she said that and said, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. You have me totally confused.’”

Kohberger had a beer and left, he said.

‘I’m still worried about this’

For people who knew the suspect in passing, learning now that he has been charged in the Idaho murders has left them uneasy.

After a snowstorm in early December, Kohberger needed help removing snow from her car window, said neighbor Angela He, 35, who lives directly below the suspect at a student housing complex in Pullman. , Washington, less than 10 miles from Moscow.

“My husband came out and saw that I needed help,” she said, adding that another neighbor ended up helping Kohberger.

The mother-of-two said she recognized Kohberger when she saw him in media reports Friday, and the fear of residing near a suspected killer has weighed on her.

“We still feel like it’s not that safe to live here,” he said Saturday. «I dont want to go outside. I’m still worried about this.»

BK Norton, a Washington State University student who took four courses with Kohberger, a doctoral student, said he continued to attend classes until the end of the semester.

“When discussed in class, Bryan did not mention or contribute to the conversation about the murders,” Norton said by email. «We were pulled out of class early after the murders to get home while it was still light, and Bryan was in those classes with us.»

Austin Morrison, a 22-year-old criminal justice student in Washington state, said Kohberger was his teaching assistant in his criminal procedure class this past semester, grading their papers and providing feedback on the proper way to write case reports. .

«He was pretty quiet, he didn’t talk much and he would sit to the side,» Morrison said Saturday.

But Morrison cautioned that the judicial system should be left to act before passing judgment on Kohberger.

“Being a criminal justice student, I have the mindset that he is innocent until proven guilty,” Morrison said. «That’s my stance on it.»

Suspect ‘shocked’ by arrest, says public defender

Jason A. LaBar, Monroe County’s top public defender, said in an interview Saturday that Kohberger is «eager to be exonerated.»

LaBar, who represents the suspect in the extradition case but not the murder case, said he spoke with his client for about an hour on Friday after his arrest. “He was very conscious, but calm, and really shaken up by his arrest,” LaBar said.

He said Kohberger intends to forego his extradition hearing Tuesday to travel to Idaho, where authorities have said he will be charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the death of 20-year-old Ethan Chapin; Madison Mogen, 21; Xana Kernodle, 20; and Kaylee Goncalves, 21.

Minyvonne Burke reported from Bethlehem and Deon J. Hampton from Pullman, Washington.

More detailed coverage of the murders at the University of Idaho