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Idaho court rules to combine Chad and Lori Daybell trials

MADISON COUNTY, Idaho — An Idaho Court has ruled that the two separate cases against Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell in the deaths and disappearances of Vallow Daybell’s children will be combined into one trial. 

The original motion to join the two cases was filed by state prosecutor Rob Wood on Sept. 1.

Wood argued that holding two separate trials would create an inconvenience and burden for witnesses and victims who would have to travel into Idaho for two separate trials that include nearly identical arguments noting that none of JJ Vallow or Tylee Ryan’s immediate family live in Idaho.

He also argued that holding two trials would cause an undue cost to the state leading them to duplicate much of the work as it calls on much of the same evidence and many of the same witnesses.

“One issue we did not issue in our brief but that the State feels is very important is the effect separate trials will have on pre-trial publicity,” Wood said. 

“There can be no question that separate cases requiring separate hearings will create more pre-trial publicity. Consider the explosive nature of a story in which two different courts reach two different decisions on the same question of law and fact.”

Chad Daybell’s counsel John Prior argued that the combination of trials could create a bias for jurors and would unfairly prejudice the trial by joining his client to things he may not have been a part of. 

“Mr. Wood’s argument to suggest convenience to the court and expense to the county and the difficulty of witnesses is secondary,” Prior argued.

“Primarily, the importance is if Mr. Daybell is going to get a fair opportunity to present his side of the story. And is it going to be able to be presented without any kind of prejudice or bias or are they [the jury] going to infer anything from any other witness or any other defendant or anybody else that does not afford him an opportunity to fairly present his case.”

Lori Vallow Daybell had previously submitted she did not object to the joinder.

Both Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell are facing two felony charges of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence in Fremont County in the relation to the deaths and disappearance of Lori’s two children JJ and Tylee.

The case of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan

The bodies of both  7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan were found buried on Chad Daybell’s property in June after the two had been reported missing since September 2019.

Police began to investigate the children’s disappearance after suspicions arose in the death of Chad Daybell’s former wife.

Both Chad and Lori flew to Hawaii shortly after the police investigation began. Lori was arrested in Hawaii in February after failing to comply with a court order to “physically produce” her children to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare” in Rexburg.

Chad Daybell was arrested in June after police and FBI agents found JJ and Tylee’s remains buried on his property. 

 


A timeline of the missing Idaho children

Exclusive 3D model offers unique view of Daybell crime scene