The Charges Facing Cara Northington, Mother of Idaho Victim

The defense attorney representing the suspect in the University of Idaho murders is facing questions from legal experts about a potential conflict of interest as she also represented Cara Northington, the mother of one of the victims, in separate criminal cases.

Brian Kohberger, 28, a Ph.D. student in criminal justice and criminology at Washington State University, has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder and burglary in connection with the killings of Madison Mogen, Kaylee Goncalves, Xana Kernodle and Ethan Chapin in Moscow, Idaho.

The Idaho Statesman previously reported that Anne Taylor represented Northington, the mother of Kernodle, in four separate cases. NewsNation also reported on Friday that two other parents of two of the victims had also been represented by Taylor.

The only one of the parents we know Taylor has represented is Northington —who is also known as Cara Kernodle. Here's what we know about what charges she faces.

The Charges Facing Cara Northington

Less than a week after the Idaho murders took place, drug charges were filed against Northington, Fox News reported. On November 19, she was arrested in Kootenai County. She is charged with two felony counts for possession of a controlled substance and is listed on Kootenai County Sheriff's Office's "Active Wanted Persons."

As well the felony counts, she also represented Northington on a misdemeanour charge from August 2017, which has since been adjudicated, according to The Idaho Statesman.

Northington told NewsNation that Taylor, the chief of the Kootenai County Public Defender's Office, suddenly withdrew from representing her in the unrelated drug charge on January 5, according to court documents. That same day, Kohberger, who is accused of fatally stabbing Kernodle and three others on November 13, had his first court appearance at Latah County Courthouse with Taylor by his side.

Taylor is now listed as an "inactive" attorney on the cases where she represented Northington.

Cara Northington—told NewsNation that she was "heartbroken" and "betrayed" by Taylor representing the suspected killer of her daughter.

Newsweek has contacted Taylor for comment.

Several legal and criminal case experts questioned Taylor's change to represent Kohberger and said it likely represents a conflict of interest.

"Can't understand how a conflict of interest didn't exist when AT took the case. IME w/the Public Defenders Office, when their office represented a client associated with a case they could NOT except the client," tweeted law enforcement analyst and ex-FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer.

"Have never seen a conflict like this overlooked by a court," she added.

"The mere fact that the public defender was forced to make a decision about which client to represent reflects a potential issue of competing loyalties," Michael McAuliffe, a former federal prosecutor and elected state attorney, told Newsweek.

McAuliffe said Taylor "is surely acting in good faith, trying to navigate the applicable ethical obligations," but the potential conflict of interest is "significant."

Booking photo of Cara Kernodle 1200
A booking photo of Cara Northington. Kootenai County Sheriff's Department