‘Why did you choose that victim?’ U of I suspect may have led criminal behavior survey - East Idaho News
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‘Why did you choose that victim?’ U of I suspect may have led criminal behavior survey

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Police are serving a search warrant at the Washington apartment of Bryan Kohberger Friday morning, the man taken into custody earlier in Pennsylvania in connection with the stabbing deaths of four students. | BY FOX – SEATTLE/VIDEOELEPHANT

MOSCOW, Idaho (Idaho Statesman) – When law enforcement arrested a man for the stabbings of four University of Idaho students, the suspect turned out to be a little-known graduate student at a nearby school.

Bryan C. Kohberger, a 28-year-old from Pennsylvania, was studying criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University and had recently completed his first semester as a Ph.D. student, the university confirmed Friday.

Before attending WSU, Kohberger graduated from DeSales University in Allentown, Pennsylvania, with a master of arts degree in criminal justice in May 2022, according to Carolyn Steigleman, associate vice president of marketing and communications. Allentown is about 40 miles south of Albrightsville.

U of I killer
Bryan C. Kohberger in a photo provided by Monroe County, Pennsylvania, Correctional Facility, where he was being held for extradition on accusations of murder in the killings of four University of Idaho students. | CNN

A now-deleted Reddit post indicates that, while at DeSales, Kohberger may have solicited information from people who had committed crimes for a research project.

User Criminology_Student posted on Reddit, identifying himself as DeSales student Bryan Kohberger and saying he was seeking participants in a study “to understand how emotions and psychological traits influence decision-making when committing a crime.”

“In particular, this study seeks to understand the story behind your most recent criminal offense, with an emphasis on your thoughts and feelings throughout your experience,” the post said. “In the event that your most recent offense was not one that led to a conviction, you may still participate.”

The user said the study had been approved by the DeSales Institutional Review Board and provided real DeSales email addresses, including those of two criminal justice professors, for those with questions about the research. It then listed email addresses for the research team, which included Kohberger, identified as “student investigator,” and two principal investigators, both of whom are current faculty members. Neither responded Friday to the Idaho Statesman’s requests for comments.

Kohberger research project on Reddit 12 30 22 snip redacted dot app
A Reddit post by a user who identified himself as Bryan C. Kohberger solicits participation in a research project about criminal behavior. Kohberger was then a student pursuing a master’s degree at DeSales University in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He graduated in May and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in criminology at Washington State University in the fall 2022 semester.


The post included a link to the survey at https://desales.iad1.qualtrics.com/ife/form/SV_ex3bk7x. The survey was accessed by the Idaho Statesman early on Friday but was later removed.

The Reddit user advised participants that it would take 15 to 20 minutes to complete and that they had “the right to withdraw at any point during the study, for any reason, and without any prejudice.”

intro page
The introductory page seen by participants in the survey.


Along with demographic questions, the survey asked participants about the actions they took and emotions they felt while committing the crime.

Questions included:

  • Did you struggle with or fight the victim?
  • Did you prepare for the crime before leaving your home? Please detail what you were thinking and feeling at this point. How did you travel to and enter the location that the crime occurred?
  • After arriving, what steps did you take prior to locating the victim or target (i.e., person or object)? Please detail your thoughts and feelings.
  • Why did you choose that victim or target over others?
  • Before making your move, how did you approach the victim or target? Please detail what you were thinking and feeling.
  • What was the first move you made in order to accomplish your goal? Please detail any thoughts and feelings at this point. How did you accomplish your goal? Please explain what you were thinking and feeling.
  • Before leaving, is there anything else you did? How did you leave the scene? After committing the crime, what were you thinking and feeling?


Carolyn Steigleman, associate vice president of marketing and communications at DeSales, said she did not have information on Friday about Kohberger’s research.

“On Friday, December 30, DeSales University learned of the arrest of Bryan Kohberger in connection with the murder of four University of Idaho students,” Steigleman said in an email to the Statesman. “… As a Catholic, Salesian community, we are devastated by this senseless tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families during this difficult time.”

DeSales was founded by followers of the teachings of St. Francis de Sales, a Catholic saint who “believed that love of God leads naturally to love for all persons,” the university’s website says.