CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Dave & Dujanovic: Lori Vallow Daybell unfit to stand for trial. Now what?

May 28, 2021, 3:37 PM | Updated: Dec 29, 2022, 12:14 pm
unfit for trial daybell change of venue case...
(Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell are seen in Hawaii. Photo: Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

SALT LAKE CITY — An Idaho court has found Lori Vallow Daybell unfit to stand trial in the murder of her two children JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. That doesn’t mean this case is closed, however, said a Utah attorney. 

 District Judge Steven Boyce issued a stay based on the assessment of a psychologist. 

Also developing: Vallow Daybell could face a conspiracy to commit first-degree murder charge in the death of her late husband Charles Vallow.

The Chandler Police Department said the charge against Daybell was submitted to the Maricopa County attorney’s office.

Unfit to stand trial

Former prosecutor and current defense attorney Greg Skordas joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to discuss how these recent developments may affect the course of the murder case.

“What happens to Lori Vallow now that she’s been ruled, that she’s not competent to stand trial?” Debbie asked.

Skordas said the fact that Vallow Daybell has been declared incompetent to stand trial doesn’t mean the case is closed.

“The judge has ordered that she be hospitalized,” Skordas said. “It’ll be like a prison hospital or a state hospital. They will decide sometime down the road whether her competency can and will be restored. In other words, this isn’t the end of the story. If she’s ultimately restored competent, they will still proceed with a trial on her.”

Ruled incompetent today

“This might be splitting hairs, but is the ruling here that she’s not competent right now or that she wasn’t competent at the time that the murders took place?” Dave asked.

“The issue is that she’s not competent today,” Skordas said. “They didn’t determine that she was not competent at the time [of the deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan]. That would be what we usually considered the insanity defense or something like that.

“This is simply dealing with her ability to make rational decisions, assist her attorney, proceed with a trial today. And that’s why she can be restored. If she was insane at the time of the crime, of course, you can’t restore that. We’re talking about today,” Skordas said.

Keeping close tabs on defendant

“We certainly know from extensive reporting . . . that Lori Vallow has shown an extensive history of  . . . . odd beliefs, almost cult-like beliefs. . .  Will her lawyer continue to use that to push this trial off as long as possible? Debbie asked.

“Yes, they absolutely will, Debbie,” Skordas said. “But the state has objected. The state’s not agreeing to this at all. They’re going to keep close tabs on her. They’re going to have her evaluated down the road. What the state is hoping is that some doctor will say, ‘She’s fine now. She’s able to assist her lawyer.'”

Unsealed court document details final days of Vallow children

“When you have essentially mirroring charges, which it seems that Lori and Chad Daybell have, do  they hold two separate trials with two separate judges and juries?” Dave asked.

“That’s something the state wants to avoid because the trial takes a lot of time,” Skordas said. “Doing two trials for the exact same issue is difficult and expensive, but Chad has a right to a speedy trial. He has a right to have his case adjudicated.”

 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

KSL NewsRadio’s full coverage of the disappearance and deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan

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Dave & Dujanovic: Lori Vallow Daybell unfit to stand for trial. Now what?