Lori Vallow Daybell trial: judge and attorneys wrangle over jury instructions

May 10, 2023, 5:22 PM | Updated: May 11, 2023, 7:44 am

The Ada County, Idaho courtroom which has been the site of the Lori Vallow Daybell murder trial for...

The Ada County Courthouse is pictured on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. The jury was not present in court today as the judge and attorneys discussed the jury instructions (Larry D. Curtis, KSL TV)

(Larry D. Curtis, KSL TV)

BOISE, Idaho — The Ada County, Idaho courtroom which has been the site of the Lori Vallow Daybell murder trial for the past 26 days held fewer people today. The jury was not present for this half-day of discussion between Judge Steven Boyce, prosecuting attorney Lindsey A. Blake and defense attorney Jim Archibald.

Lori Vallow Daybell, age 49, is on trial for the murder of her children. The bodies of 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan were found buried when investigators searched Chad Daybell’s backyard in Rexburg, Idaho, on June 9, 202o. 

Along with the murders of the children, Chad Daybell, age 54, is accused of the murder of his wife, Tammy Daybell. His trial has not been set.

The defense and the prosecution both rested their cases this week, the defense doing so because, as they told Judge Steven Boyce, they didn’t believe the prosecution proved their case. Closing arguments are scheduled for Thursday, May 11.

Jury instructions in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial

There are 39 instructions that the Lori Vallow Daybell jury will be given to consider, and on Wednesday most of those instructions were reviewed by the judge and attorneys. The jury had the day off.

When the defense challenged a jury instruction, which it did several times, the challenge lay in the wording and whether the instruction led to simplifying an idea or concept for the jury. For example, the defense was concerned that the wording of an instruction may lead the jury to believe they had more options to convict Lori Vallow Daybell than they actually do. 

Or, that the wording may confuse a juror.

For the most part, the jury instructions were acceptable to all sides. One defense objection had to do with Instruction 19, which did not “accurately reflect how my client (Lori Vallow Daybell) was indicted by the grand jury,” said defense attorney Jim Archibald.

This issue had been brought up the day before and defined as a clerical error contained within the indictment but not the charging documents. The defense’s objection was overruled. The defense also objected to the wording of Instruction 28. It could be solved, Archibald told the judge, by changing the word “and” to “and/or” in the instruction.

The judge agreed to amend this instruction slightly.

Closing arguments in the murder trial of Lori Vallow Daybell are expected to begin Thursday morning.







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Lori Vallow Daybell trial: judge and attorneys wrangle over jury instructions