Chad Daybell’s lawyer is urging a judge to eliminate the possibility of the death penalty in his client’s case. The attorney argues that Chad bears less responsibility than his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, who does not face the death penalty.
In May 2021, Lori and Chad were indicted by a grand jury on numerous counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder related to the deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, who were Lori’s children, as well as Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Chad also faces two counts of insurance fraud in connection with Tammy Daybell’s life insurance policies.
Lori was found guilty in May and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Just before the trial, she had faced the death penalty, but District Judge Steven Boyce removed it as a potential punishment for several reasons. Lori declined to waive her right to a swift trial, and her defense argued that they could not adequately prepare for a death penalty trial due to the overwhelming amount of evidence and discovery provided by prosecutors a month before the trial was set to commence.
Chad, on the other hand, waived his right to a speedy trial. In an 11-page motion filed on Thursday to remove the death penalty, Chad’s defense attorney, John Prior, stated that Lori “initiated the conspiracy, manipulated both Alex Cox and Chad Daybell, and remained in control of her plan throughout.” He quoted a transcript from Lori’s trial, where it was mentioned that “Lori ‘manipulated Chad through emotional and sexual control,’ and ‘Chad [was] not going to act without Lori saying so.'” Prior argued that, based on the state’s own evidence and arguments presented in Lori Vallow’s trial, Chad Daybell bears less responsibility than his co-defendant, who is not facing the death penalty.
Prior further contended that even if both co-defendants share equal culpability, it is “unconstitutional and unacceptable” for one of them to receive the most severe punishment while the other does not. He argued that the state’s evidence and arguments establish Lori as the leader of the alleged conspiracy, with Chad merely following her instructions. Thus, seeking the death penalty for Mr. Daybell is considered cruel and unusual punishment.
John Prior will present his motion during a hearing scheduled for November 29 in Fremont County. He will also argue another motion requesting permission to have cameras in his client’s trial, which is slated to begin on April 1 in Ada County.
Lori has been incarcerated at the Pocatello Women’s Correctional Center since early August. Her attorney has filed an appeal, and she also faces conspiracy to commit murder charges in Arizona. Governor Brad Little signed an executive agreement last month to extradite her to Arizona on these charges, but 12News in Arizona reported on Thursday that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office does not plan to transfer her out of Idaho until the appeals process is completed.
Hey, everybody. It’s Nate Eaton here in our studio, and we have some Daybell news. Been a while, been a little quiet, but the motions are now starting to get filed ahead of Chad Daybell’s trial, which will begin in April in Ada County. And if you remember back to Laurie Valos trial before it actually happened, her attorneys filed a bunch of motions about motions to strike the death penalty, motions about the jury, motions about evidence. We’re going to see that all in the coming months leading up to Chad’s trial because it’s the standard operating procedures, I guess. And you have to be sure that everything is filed to reduce the risk of appeal or to not reduce the risk of appeal, but I guess so that these issues, when it goes to appeal, they can look back and say, was this taken care of? Was that taken care of? Things like that. So Chad Daybell’s attorney filed a bunch of motion. Well, three motions on Thursday dealing with the motion to strike the death penalty. And he’s basically saying that Chad Daybell, as the co-conspirator in this case, was not as culpable as Laurie Valow-De Bell, his wife.
He says the state during Laurie’s trial consistently argued that Ms. Valo was the most culpable party to the alleged conspiracy that led to the death of JJ, Tyley, and Tammy, Daybell. Ms. Valo set the conspiracy in motion. She manipulated both Alex Cox and Chad Daybell, and she remained in charge of the plan throughout. Laurie, quote, manipulated Chad through emotional and sexual control, and Chad was not going to act without Laurie saying so. What John Pryor has done, Chad’s attorney, has gone through the transcripts from Laurie’s trial, and he’s pulling parts out of the transcript and saying, This is why Laurie is more culpable. Laurie did not face the death penalty because she didn’t face the death penalty. Chad shouldn’t face the death penalty because she was far more culpable than him. I’m sorry, I’m just shooting this on my phone to get the video out as quickly as possible. He goes on… One of the filings on the culpability is an 11-page filing. He goes on to say that even when two co-defendants are equally culpable, it’s unconstitutional and unacceptable to subject one of them to the most extreme punishment available, death, while the other did not face that possibility.
Now, if you remember, Laurie Valo did face the death penalty up until a few weeks before her trial. She did not waive her right to a speedy trial. The judge, that trial had to happen. She was not waiving her right. Well, then the extra evidence came out, the additional evidence came out that the defense argued they didn’t have enough time to go through it all. The mitigation expert, the one whose job is to work with Laurie and research her background and basically argue about why she should not get the death penalty. She said that she would not have enough time to get that mitigation stuff put together. So because of that, the judge said, well, unless Laurie waives her trial, we’ll have to take the death penalty off the table because we don’t have enough time to go through all of this. And that’s what happened. Chad, on the other hand, has waived his right to a speedy trial, and his attorney has had since May of 2021 when Chad was indicted to get this thing ready. So by the time it goes to trial, it will have been almost three years since the indictment.
But still, John Pryor is arguing that Laurie Valow was far more culpable than Chad Daybell was in all of this. He goes through and he lists several reasons that she manipulated Alex and Chad. She was the common thread. She led to the alleged conspiracy throughout the whole thing. He goes on to list all of these things about why Judge Boyce needs to take the death penalty off the table. We have the argument, the motion that we’ve posted at eastadohonews. Com. You can go read it if you want. He goes through and cites previous cases and how Laurie groomed Alex and groomed Chad and any death sentence imposed upon Chad would violate the fundamental constitutional principles requiring equal justice under the law on prior rights and would be unconstitutionally disproportionate, excessive, fundamentally unfair, and arbitrary and capricious. Mr. Daybell respectfully requests that this court strike the state’s notice of intent to seek the death penalty, pursuant to the sixth, eighth, and 14th amendments to the US Constitution. And that is the argument. Now, what will happen is on the 29th of November, I apologize that this is shaky. Next time I’ll use a tripod. The 29th of November prior will make this argument.
He will go into the court, he will argue why he doesn’t believe Chad should get the death penalty, and we’ll see what happens. There’s also another issue that will be discussed, cameras in the courtroom. If you remember, Judge Boyce banned cameras about a year ago. Well, September of 2022, two ahead of Laurie Ballow’s trial and Chad’s. Chad Daybell’s attorney asked that cameras be in the courtroom. Well, at the time the cases were joined, Judge Boyce said, if the cases become severed and Chad has a separate trial, I will revisit this issue. He is going to revisit the issue on the 29th of this month, November. And prior we’ll argue for cameras. I can tell you that East Idaho news and some other local Idaho media have hired an attorney, and we will be in the courtroom to also argue on behalf of cameras. And whether Judge Voice changes his mind or not remains to be seen, but it’s an issue I’ve said before. We believe that you should be able to see it all and that cameras should be in there. And we’d love it if cameras were in every court hearing. So that will be another issue that will be discussed at that November 29th hearing.
It’s possible that the prosecution could also file some motions in the coming days that will be heard that day too. The prosecutors will respond to this death penalty motion to strike with their own argument, their own rebuttal, I guess you could say, and they obviously want to keep the death penalty on the table. Now, going forward, Judge Boyce has said he’s going to set monthly hearing dates, where with Laurie, it was, I think, the first Thursday of every month at the same time, they had a status conference where they’d all meet. They’d see if they’re all on the same page so we knew when it was going to happen, if there was anything new that came up. Judge Boyce has said he will do the same thing with Chad’s case. Should this go all the way to trial, which at this point it looks like it is? There could be a last minute plea agreement or Chad could change his plea. This trial will, John Pryor says, be at least eight weeks. It’s a death penalty trial, so jury selection will take longer because there’s a whole death penalty line of questioning, and then we’ll have the whole death penalty sentencing phase or sentencing portion of the trial, meaning they’ll be the normal trial.
If Chad is found guilty, there will then be the penalty phase of the trial where Chad’s attorney will argue that he shouldn’t get death. The prosecution will argue that he should. They will each be able to present witnesses during that time. And then the jury will come back and say, Okay, he’s going to get the death penalty. If he does not get death, he will get life in prison. There’s no other option if he’s found guilty and if this remains the way it is. So we’ll know if a guilty verdict comes down, we’ll know within a week or so or two weeks if he’s getting death or not what his sentence is. Unlike Laurie, because death pedaling was off the table, she was found guilty in May and then was not sentenced until end of July. So that’s the background. Anyway, there are some… The filings, like I said, we’ll link to. You can go read them if you’re interested for yourself. We’ll be in that courtroom on that day on the 29th of November. We have requested… We’ve submitted a request to video it, to have a camera in there and to live stream it.
We’ll see what the judge says. He has not responded to that request yet. And so you can watch it if you want wherever you’re watching this video, we’ll have it on that day if he allows it. If he does not, I’ll be in there live tweeting, live exing, however you say it now, and posting updates on eastidohonews. Com. There’s where we stand… Oh, one other quick update on Laurie. She remains in the prison. Judge Little, not Judge Little, Governor Little in Idaho signed an agreement with the governor of Arizona to have Laurie extradited back, but she still remains in the Pocatel of Correctional Center. And Erica Stapleton at NBC 12 News in Arizona reported on Thursday that she learned that the Department of Correction or the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office has said they don’t plan to bring Laurie back to Arizona until all the appeals are done here in Idaho. That could be some time, a year or two. Arizona, it sounds like they’re waiting till all the appeals are done on Laurie’s behalf, and then they’ll bring her back to Arizona. So the Idaho case sounds like we’ll wrap up first before she even goes to Arizona.
I haven’t been able to independently confirm that, but Erica reported that yet on Thursday. So sounds like Laurie could be here for quite a while. I just checked this morning. She’s still in her unit at the Pocatullow Correctional Center. So there’s where she stands, there’s where Chad stands, and we’ll continue to follow it. Thanks for watching, despite the shakiness, I apologize.