Mother of Idaho massacre victim 'heartbroken' after attorney drops her to represent daughter's alleged killer

"I am heartbroken because I trusted her."

Joshua Young North Carolina

Cara Northington, the mother of 20-year-old Xana Kernodle, one of the four University of Idaho students stabbed to death in the early morning hours of November 13 last year, was legally represented by public defender Anne Taylor until January 5th, when the lawyer dropped Northington to represent the man accused of killing her daughter, 28-year-old Bryan Kohberger. 

In a Wednesday interview with News Nation's Ashleigh Banfield, Northington said, "I am heartbroken because I trusted her… (Taylor) pretended that she was wanting to help me… And to find out that she’s representing him (Kohberger), I can’t even convey how betrayed I feel."

Kohberger was arrested on December 30 for the murders of Kernodle, her boyfriend Ethan Chapin, 20, 21-year-old Madison Mogen, and 21-year-old Kaylee Goncalves.

Taylor, who took over the Kootenai County Public Defender’s Office in 2017, had represented Northington in four cases. The last offense regarding drug charges was filed on November 19, 2022.

"I don’t understand how she could do this … I don’t understand what happens now. Does she still have power of attorney?" Northington said. Northington had previously given power of attorney to Taylor. She went on to say she did not know if she had legal representation in her pending felony drug case. 

The Daily Mail reports that Northington has "long battled addiction," and found out that Taylor was representing Kohberger after a friend told her the news on social media.

In Idaho, there are a total of 13 public defenders who the state's public defense commission have approved to handle a capital punishment case. In North Idaho, Taylor is the only attorney approved to represent Kohberger.

Northington's other daughter, Jazzmin Kernodle, attends Washington State University, where Kohberger was a graduate student pursuing his PhD.

"The fact that they knew, and allowed Jazzmin to attend WSU - I'm just beside myself," Northington said. "She was adamant about still going to school, but I think if she had known Xana's killer was there it would have been different."

Attorney Mark Geragos said Taylor might have a conflict of interest if she had to cross-examine Northington and, depending on the circumstances, could lead to grounds for appeal for Kohberger.


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