The mother of one of the four University of Idaho murder victims recently got the shocking news that her lawyer has switched clients and is now representing her daughter’s accused killer.
Xana Kernodle, 20, is one of the four students that were killed in their home at the University of Idaho. At this time, her mother, Cara Northington, was being represented for drug charges by the chief public defender for Kootenai County, Ann Taylor.
Without warning, Taylor dropped Northington on January 5, the day that murder suspect Bryan Kohberger appeared in court in Idaho. Now, Taylor is representing the 28-year-old defendant in the trial for the murder of Northington’s daughter.
In an interview with News Nation, Northington said, “I am heartbroken.”
“Because I trusted her. She pretended that she was wanting to help me,” Northington continued. “And to find out that she’s representing him – I can’t even convey how betrayed I feel.”
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Northington said that she does not know if she even has a lawyer anymore in her own case, and reported feeling abandoned by the prosecutors.
She hadn’t even been told prior to the trial that Taylor would be representing Kohberger. In fact, she only found out about her lawyer’s new client when a friend saw it on social media and informed her.
Taylor had been granted power of attorney over Northington’s legal affairs given her addictions, and Northington is now left in the dark regarding how to proceed.
“I had already signed that so she could help me,” said Northington. “I don’t understand how she could do this. I don’t know what goes on now – does she still have power of attorney?”
There is speculation that Taylor was appointed to represent Kohberger out of necessity because she was the only qualified public defender to do so. She is one of 13 public defenders in the entire state of Idaho that are approved by the state’s public defense commission to lead a capital punishment case. Additionally, she is the only one in North Idaho.
Dave Aronberg, the state attorney for Palm Beach County in Florida condemned Taylor’s actions, saying that Northington’s situation is “heartbreaking” because “it’s victimizing her again.”
“You should never have a situation like this,” Aronberg added. “It’s up to the court to make this right.”
The grieving mother is not only angered by the situation with her former lawyer but is also furious that local police allowed her older daughter, Jazzmin Kernodle, to carry on with her studies at Washington State University – where Kohberger was attending – after they had identified Kohberger as a suspect.
“The fact that they knew, and allowed Jazzmin to attend WSU – I’m just beside myself,” said Northington. “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.”