‘I just felt so sick and disgusted:’ Students learn they knew murder suspect Bryan Kohberger

Students speak on experiences with Kohberger as their TA last semester



Kohberger’s office was located in Wilson-Short Hall.

SAYDEE PHOTHIVONGSA, Evergreen news editor

The arrest of former WSU graduate student Bryan Kohberger shocked the Cougar community as some students realized they interacted with him over the past semester. 

Kohberger was a TA for at least two WSU classes: Criminal Justice 101 and Criminal Law (Criminal Justice 320), according to students who had him as a TA last fall semester.

Freshman psychology major Cassie Handziak, who had Kohberger as a TA for Criminal Justice 101, said that it was terrifying knowing she had been in the same room with someone who might be capable of committing these crimes. 

“I was a wreck and I just felt so sick and disgusted,” she said. “I was going through Canvas (a website that allows students to access their classes and communicate with professors and TAs) and looking at the notifications from Bryan [that say] ‘great essay’ or ‘have a great break, guys,’ and it was just so weird.”

Handziak said that Kohberger attended her class regularly, but since there were two TAs, he typically stood to the side, fiddled with his hands and did not speak to the class much. 

When Kohberger introduced himself on the first day of class, Handziak remembers one of her classmates telling her that they thought Kohberger “gives off really weird vibes,” which has become a core memory for her because of this homicide case, she said.

Hayden Stinchfield, a junior criminal justice major, told The Spokesman-Review that Kohberger was “kind of a creepy guy” and seemed disengaged during their classes.

Kohberger was arrested on Dec. 30, 2022, on five criminal charges in relation to the murders of four University of Idaho students and is currently being held in Latah County Jail.

Some students had even less interaction with Kohberger, as he only came to class around eight times throughout the semester, said junior criminology major Joey Famularo (they/them), who had Kohberger as a TA for Criminal Law. 

Famularo talked about a time last semester, around late October 2022, when the class and even the professor felt Kohberger had graded them too harshly on an exam.

“[The professor] brought Bryan before the class and let us tell him we were disappointed and ask him questions about it,” they said. “That was probably the most interaction any of us had with him.”

Stinchfield told the Spokesman that Kohberger was a harsh grader most of the time.

Pretty soon after this class discussion, Kohberger began handing out full credit on every assignment, Famularo said. 

Kohberger came to class around three times after Nov. 13, 2022, which is when the murders occurred, looking slightly more disheveled than normal, they said. 

“He was just always a little bit of an odd duck,” they said. “He was kind of on edge, like all the time [and] seemed really anxious, so I just kind of thought he was shy.”

Professor John Snyder, who Handziak said was the professor for the class that Bryan was a TA, had no comment on his professional relationship with Kohberger.