Judge denies motion to withdraw by Chad Daybell attorney in hearing

Jan 18, 2024, 10:48 AM | Updated: 12:26 pm

Chad Daybell’s attorney files to withdraw from case due to lack of funds...

Chad Daybell and his attorney, John Prior, appear in a hearing on Oct. 29, 2020. (KSL TV)


FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho — A judge has denied John Prior’s request to withdraw as the attorney for Chad Daybell in a hearing ahead of Daybell’s April murder trial.

Prior had asked to be removed from the trial and case, telling the court he felt he wasn’t qualified to defend someone in a death penalty case. Prior was also concerned that Daybell would not be able to pay for Prior’s services.

District Judge Steven W. Boyce cited several reasons for denying Prior’s request, including the state’s right to a speedy trial, as well as the defendant’s. Boyce also said that delays would prejudice the defendant.

Prior had argued that he wouldn’t be able to defend Daybell, but Judge Boyce said he couldn’t find any specific grounds that Prior couldn’t defend his client.

Withdrawal would risk the future of. any hearing, trial for Chad Daybell

Finally, Boyce said he didn’t know who would replace Prior.

“Quite frankly, I don’t know who would be appointed,” said Boyce. “The trial would have to be vacated — quite possibly for a long time.”

State prosecutors had argued that Daybell waived his rights to a capital-qualified lawyer and that Daybell’s money issues were known a year ago. 

The state also argued that Prior was offered a second attorney which included money to obtain that attorney.

Overall, the state argued it doesn’t want council for the defendant who cannot be prepared. But they are frustrated by the delays the state believes this issue will inevitably cause.

Some of the charges against Daybell include first-degree murder for the death of his former wife, Tammy Daybell. He faces the same charge for the deaths of Lori Vallow Daybell’s children, Tylee Ryan and J.J. Vallow.

Lori Vallow Daybell has been sentenced to life in prison for the deaths of her children, Tylee Ryan and J.J. Vallow.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Our previous reporting:

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Judge denies motion to withdraw by Chad Daybell attorney in hearing