STROUDSBURG, Pa. - 69 News is learning new details from the Pennsylvania public defender who represented the Monroe County man accused of killing four Idaho college students.
"I actually hung up on my office one time because I did not believe that they were telling me the truth," said Monroe County Chief Public Defender Jason LaBar.
LaBar was just as shocked as everyone else when the quadruple Idaho murder suspect was arrested in the Poconos. His office called back, and over the next five days, he spent four hours talking with Bryan Kohberger.
"The first thing I said to him was 'Bryan, don't tell me anything about the case. I don't want to know any of the facts and circumstances,'" said LaBar.
That's because LaBar was only representing Kohberger during the extradition process.
"I'm obviously informing Mr. Kohberger: these are the allegations only, you're presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and that's the most important thing, because you don't want to be judged in a court of public opinion, even though you're going to be," said LaBar.
He described Kohberger as calm and educated.
LaBar is no longer involved, now that the 28-year-old is back in Latah County, Idaho.
As for the affidavit outlining the accusations against Kohberger, LaBar said, "it certainly was a strong circumstantial case, but I believe that individually taken, the evidence could be attacked."
Though he admitted, he couldn't answer why Kohberger's DNA would be on the knife sheath if he wasn't involved.
"Does mental illness or mental awareness play a role in what happened here and what's going to happen moving forward?" asked 69 News Reporter Priscilla Liguori.
"I haven't seen any evidence that I believe that Mr. Kohberger had any type of mental illness or disease or defect," said LaBar.
Liguori said, "We've talked with people who went to Pleasant Valley with Bryan Kohberger and/or his sisters. We've talked with people who went to Northampton Community College and DeSales with him, and everyone who grew up with him, in a sense, says he came from a very nice, normal family. How are they doing?"
"They understand the situation that he's alleged to have committed these murders, and they understand that there's four families suffering loss of their loved ones. They pray every day," said LaBar. "It's very difficult for them."
"They believe in the process, but are you able to say if his family thinks he's guilty or not?" asked Liguori.
"I actually told them not to comment on it," said LaBar. "You know, they'll let it play out, unfold in court."
The victims' families have said they'd be in court throughout the proceedings.
LaBar says Kohberger's family plans to attend the preliminary hearing June 26. That's where more evidence is expected to be presented, and witnesses may speak.
"Obviously, the American criminal justice system isn't perfect," said LaBar. "It has its flaws, but it is the best system in the world, in my opinion, and the basis of that, the foundation of that, is the presumption of innocence and it's the Commonwealth in Pennsylvania, in Idaho, it's the prosecution's job to prove someone actually committed the crime."