Lori Daybell’s defense team files for new murder trial

May 27, 2023, 11:23 AM | Updated: May 30, 2023, 7:33 am

lori vallow daybell shown, a judge ruled today that tammy daybell's aunt could speak at vallow dayb...

FILE: Lori Vallow Daybell stands and listens as the jury's verdict is read at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho on Friday May 12, 2023. The Idaho jury convicted Daybell of murder in the deaths of her two youngest children and a romantic rival, a verdict that marks the end of a three-year investigation that included bizarre claims of zombie children, apocalyptic prophesies and illicit affairs. Her laywers filed an appeal with the Idaho Supreme Court on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Kyle Green)

(AP Photo/Kyle Green)

BOISE, Idaho —The legal team for convicted murderer Lori Vallow Daybell filed paperwork Thursday for a new trial.

The petition claims three reasons for a new trial under Idaho law for Daybell, who was convicted of murder for two of her children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, conspiracy to commit murder for both of them and conspiracy to murder her current husband’s late wife, Tammy Daybell. There were also other financial crimes related to the deaths.

The petition to Idaho’s seventh judicial district claims the trial was in error in three ways:

  • The court misdirected the jury in a matter of law related to jury instruction in the conspiracy charges
  • The court misdirected the jury in an amended indictment
  • A juror interview showed jury instructions were confusing and that he knew of evidence not submitted to the jury

Daybell was convicted of six felonies in Boise Idaho after a case that started with her children being unaccounted for and captured attention across the nation and world.

Her children were discovered in late 2020, buried in the backyard of Chad Daybell, on what was by then, their jointly owned backyard after they were married weeks after Tammy Daybell was killed and buried days later in Utah.

The trial was moved from the Rexburg area, where the killings came to wide media attention, to better find an impartial jury. She was convicted on all counts by a jury. One jury member agreed to an interview and is now part of the petition for a new trial.

The defense team says part of his interview shows the court’s error. The five-page document says in part:

This question and answer between the reporter and the juror make clear that evidence permitted under Rule 404(b), Idaho Rules of Evidence, is confusing to the jury. The defense continually objected to 404(b) evidence and this is a good example why. Arizona evidence and testimony was not for demonstrative purposes, as the juror stated and as the reporter agreed, but was evidence to show some other reason other than bad character. The demonstrative evidence allowed in this case was the summary evidence from the law enforcement witnesses. To confuse demonstrative evidence and character evidence is easy to do; hence, the defense objections should have been sustained.

Attorneys James Archibald and John Thomas filed the paperwork within the 14-day window after the May 12 guilty verdict was delivered.

Her current and fifth husband Chad Daybell is scheduled to face his trial for similar charges in approximately one year. Lori Vallow Daybell faces murder charges in Arizona for her late husband Charles Vallow.

Previous coverage of the trial: 

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Lori Daybell’s defense team files for new murder trial