Daybell judge declines to postpone trial

Fremont County Courthouse Photo credit: Flickr

In a hearing for the upcoming Daybell murder trial, District Judge Steven Boyce denied motions from both the prosecution and defense on Thursday to postpone the trial, sequester the jury and allow the defendants to meet.

Judge Boyce heard four motions from the prosecution and defense on Thursday related to the approaching April trial of Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow, spouses accused of killing two of Vallow’s children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

Daybell and his attorney, John Prior, filed a motion in early January to postpone the trial until April of next year.

According to East Idaho News’ report of Thursday’s hearing, Prior argued that he needed sufficient time to receive potential DNA evidence from the Idaho State Lab and then have his own expert test it.

The lab recently discovered hair samples related to the case from which they will attempt to create one or more DNA profiles.

Boyce denied Daybell’s motion.

Boyce said that since the defendants will be tried together and Vallow did not waive her right to a speedy trial, he cannot delay it for another year.

Boyce did say that if Prior has not had enough time to examine the evidence before the start of the trial, he may sever Daybell and Vallow’s cases, meaning they would be tried separately.

Boyce also denied the state’s request to sequester the jury, a motion filed in September. To sequester jurors is to isolate them, typically in a hotel, for the duration of a trial to avoid outside influences. Both Daybell and Vallow objected. Vallow’s objection argued it would place an undue burden on the jurors given the trial is expected to last 10 weeks.

“I believe adequate steps can be put into place to not require sequestration during the course of the trial, and the court will take those steps very seriously,” Boyce said per East Idaho News.

Vallow’s attorneys filed a motion earlier in the month to allow her and Daybell to meet in ongoing meetings with their attorneys present to discuss settlement options and plan strategy.

Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake objected to the motion and said in the hearing that incriminating statements by either party in such a meeting would not be protected by attorney-client privilege and would make the co-defendants’ attorneys into witnesses. She also said settlement discussions can only occur in the presence of state attorneys.

Boyce denied the motion.

On Thursday, Boyce also issued subpoenas for Lori Vallow’s church records and JJ Vallow’s school records.

Lori Vallow is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

JJ Vallow attended Kennedy Elementary School in Rexburg where he was last seen alive in September 2019 before being found dead, buried alongside his sister, Tylee Ryan, on Chad Daybell’s property in June 2020.

The Daybell-Vallow trial is scheduled to begin April 3.