Idaho college murders: Student who had Bryan Kohberger as a TA in criminology class describes grading style, behavior change

MOSCOW, Idaho — We learn more about the 28-year-old graduate student accused of the brutal murder of four University of Idaho students while they slept.

Bryan Christopher Kohberger is now facing four counts of first-degree murder after he was arrested Friday in Pennsylvania, thousands of miles from the scene. He is due to appear in court again on Tuesday.

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Kohberger is a graduate student in Washington State University’s Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. The Idaho murder suspect had finished his first semester as a graduate student in the school’s criminal justice program in early December.

Now, a Washington State University student who had Kohberger as a TA in his criminology class sheds light on his personality in class and how his behavior changed after the Idaho murders.

“It was just totally upsetting, totally shocking to realize that this person who reviewed my work was supposedly this horrible killer,” Hayden Stinchfield told CNN.

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While his interactions with Kohberger have been limited to the classroom, he said his grading style is “pretty strict.”

“He would grade you on what he ended up calling a ‘higher standard,'” Stinchfield said. “But to us it really felt like he was grading us, like he was grading himself as PhD students… We were all annoyed with him.”

In fact, Stinchfield said his professor allowed students to argue for better grades at one point during the semester in order to get “courtroom experience.”

“He brought Bryan in and he said, ‘Okay, walk up to him,'” Stinchfield said. “And he let Bryan get up. And a few people sided with him because they wanted to keep their good grades… but for the most part, it was like half a 150-person class just asking these really critical questions. “

“It wasn’t like yelling or anything, but it was certainly conflict,” Stinchfield added.

RELATED | A timeline of the murders of 4 University of Idaho students

Bryan Kohberger

Monroe County Correctional Facility

The murders took place about a month before winter break, and it was at this point that Stinchfield noticed how his judgmental style took an abrupt turn.

“It was around that time that he started grading everyone as low as 100,” he said. “Pretty much, if you turned in something, you got good grades and he stopped taking notes.”

Stinchfield described his demeanor after the murders as “absent,” saying he seemed less “groomed” and had let his facial hair grow.

“The prior mental preoccupation that we noticed where it was like he didn’t really want to be there, that was at an all-time high,” Stinchfield said. “He just didn’t look like he was doing well.”

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