VALLOW DAYBELL CASE

Legal analyst discusses Chad Daybell’s possible defense and struggles

Apr 2, 2024, 6:00 AM

Image of Chad Daybell during a court hearing, Aug. 4, 2020, in St. Anthony, Idaho. Jury selection g...

FILE: Image of Chad Daybell during a court hearing, Aug. 4, 2020, in St. Anthony, Idaho. Jury selection got underway on April 1, 2024, in Daybell's trial. He is accused of eight felonies, including first-degree murder. (Post Register/ John Roark, POOL)

(Post Register/ John Roark, POOL)

BOISE, Idaho— Jury selection got underway this week in the trial of Chad Daybell, who is accused of eight felonies, including first-degree murder.

Daybell is suspected of murdering his first wife, Tamara “Tammy” Douglas Daybell, and two children of his second wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, who was sentenced to life in prison last year.

Daybell defense barriers

One legal analyst said that Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial, held in 2023, will be a tough hurdle for Daybell’s defense team to leap. Especially because the death penalty is on the table for Daybell, where it was not an option for Vallow Daybell.

KSL legal analyst Greg Skordas has been involved in several death penalty cases both as a prosecutor and a defense attorney. He told KSL NewsRadio the court will not be able to turn a blind eye to Vallow Daybell’s conviction. Her conviction is another barrier for the defense team to overcome.

“It will be hard to defend Chad, in part because Lori was convicted of the same crime,” said Skordas. “The jury has to know, or they will know, that his co-defendant, his accomplice, has been convicted. That’s a hard burden for the defense to overcome.”

As the death penalty is a part of this case, Skordas said the state and defense could reach a plea deal. He said it could even happen near the end of the trial. However, a deal for Daybell would likely be no less than a life sentence in prison.

“I think that the only way the state would consider a resolution would be a life without the possiblity of parole,” said Skordas. “Chad and his attorneys might feel like that’s the same as a death penalty, so they may be at an impasse.”

Potential defense strategies

The best defense for Daybell in this case, Skordas said, would likely be to try and turn eyes away from Vallow Daybell’s conviction last year.

“Chad is going to have to distance himself as much as possible from Lori. Make her out to be the one who was more involved in the case. Really, the one that was making the decisions,” said Skordas.

However, a large hiccup in this strategy is that Vallow Daybell’s attorneys tried the same thing in her trial. One of their main defense strategies was to put the blame on Daybell and paint him as the mastermind. Yet, a jury found her guilty of all charges.

Skordas explained that Vallow Daybell’s defense team called no witnesses and did not show much evidence in her defense. He said they did this assuming the evidence was weak. And, that there was no proof of guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Daybell’s defense team now has that case to use as an example of what will not work to protect him.

“Chad’s attorneys now know that the government does have that quality of evidence, that quantity of evidence. So they’ve got to put on a defense. They’ve got to put something on to help the jury understand that maybe there is a little bit of doubt in this case,” Skordas explained.

Because of the extra work the defense team must do, this trial may last much longer than Lori Vallow Daybell’s.

Becky Bruce contributed.

Our previous coverage:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Vallow Daybell Case

Chad Daybell during his murder trial on April 16, 2024....

Mary Culbertson

Judge bars prosecutor from taking stand in Chad Daybell trial

On the fourth day of testimony in the Chad Daybell trial Tuesday, the jury heard further testimony from law enforcement officers.

18 hours ago

aerial photo, investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell's residence in Salem, Idaho, o...

LARRY D. CURTIS

Chad Daybell discussed finances with daughter after arrest: ‘I’m not coming back’

On the third day of testimony, law enforcement officers explained their observations surrounding Daybell’s arrest on June 9, 2020.

2 days ago

chad daybell and lawyer...

Greg Skordas

Day 2: Detective only witness during second day of Chad Daybell trial

A Rexburg (Idaho) police detective testifies during the second day of the murder trial of Chad Daybell.

6 days ago

Chad Daybell appears during a court hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, Aug. 4, 2020. On the first day o...

Greg Skordas

What it was like inside the courtroom on day one of the Chad Daybell murder trial

Testimony began Wednesday in the trial of Chad Daybell, charged in the murder of his first wife Tammy Daybell and the deaths of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow.

6 days ago

Chad Daybell appears during a court hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, Aug. 4, 2020. On the first day o...

Adam Small

Chad Daybell trial to be streamed. Legal analyst provides possible reasons

The upcoming trial of Chad Daybell will be livestreamed. He faces multiple counts of murder and conspiracy.

8 days ago

chad daybell shown,...

Peter Johnston

Judge in Chad Daybell trial seals midnight intervention

On Tuesday, Judge Steven Boyce sealed a last-minute intervention made by a lawyer not associated with the Chad Daybell trial.

12 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.

...

Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Legal analyst discusses Chad Daybell’s possible defense and struggles