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Idaho judge rules Daybells will be tried together in Boise on murder, other charges

UPDATED: Thu., May 26, 2022

Lori Vallow Daybell glances at the camera during a hearing March 6, 2020, in Rexburg, Idaho. Daybell’s trial will be held with Chad Daybell’s trial, the judge ruled Thursday.  (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register/AP)
Lori Vallow Daybell glances at the camera during a hearing March 6, 2020, in Rexburg, Idaho. Daybell’s trial will be held with Chad Daybell’s trial, the judge ruled Thursday. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register/AP)
By Nate Eaton Idaho Statesman

The murder trial for Lori Vallow Daybell will be held with Chad Daybell’s after a judge issued a decision Thursday delaying the start date until early next year.

In a 12-page ruling, Judge Steven Boyce granted the prosecution’s request to continue Lori’s jury trial from Oct. 11 to Jan. 9.

“This is a death penalty case. The discovery volume is extraordinary. Defendant’s defense team has only recently been fully assembled and has expressed concerns with the ability to be fully prepared to defend their client in October,” Boyce wrote.

Lori’s previous attorney was removed from the case in December.

Prosecutors argued in written court filings and during a hearing last week that witnesses and evidence in both cases are the same and that it would be more cost-effective to hold one trial, as proceedings are expected to last 10 weeks.

Chad and Lori’s cases have been conjoined since they were charged a year ago with multiple counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan – two of Lori’s kids – and Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell.

Chad’s attorney, John Prior, filed a motion in September to sever the trials, but Boyce denied the request. While being arraigned in April, Lori did not waive her right to a speedy trial, so a date was set for October.

She has not changed her mind, according to documents filed by defense attorney Jim Archibald, but Lori’s mental health is “extremely complex and fragile” and she understands a postponement “will give her defense team more time to get ready.”

“The trial itself has been set for a duration of 10 weeks – which further confirms the scope of evidence the State intends to introduce,” Boyce wrote. “The Court is concerned that the defense may be impaired by being required to commence trial in October, where they are relatively recently appointed to the case.”

Larry and Kay Woodcock, JJ Vallow’s grandparents, told EastIdahoNews.com that they will attend the trial in Boise when it begins early next year.

“Finally we can see a clear path forward to justice for JJ, Tylee and Tammy,” Kay Woodcock said.

Prosecutors are pursuing the death penalty against both Chad and Lori, who have both pleaded not guilty to all charges.

A grand jury in Arizona has also indicted Lori for conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. A Maricopa County Attorney’s Office spokeswoman told EastIdahoNews.com in June that Lori’s case in Idaho will run its course before she faces the charge in Arizona.

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