The couple are charged with the disappearance of Vallow’s two children, whose remains were found on Daybell’s property in east Idaho that summer.
BOISE, Idaho – An east Idaho judge ruled last week that the cases against Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell be combined.
The couple are charged in connection with the disappearance of Vallow’s two children, whose remains were found buried on Daybell’s property in east Idaho that summer.
It may sound simple – one trial for both defendants – but what will the trial be? And why the change?
KTVB reached out to former Idaho Attorney General David Leroy for a deeper look into the verdict.
“All of this is now combined into one procedure, although there are differences,” said Leroy. “The witnesses are called once, but they can still be questioned twice, once by each defendant’s attorney.” The defence [attorneys] will make a separate opening declaration to the jury, [and] They will each submit a separate final declaration to the jury. “
The public prosecutor’s office can then include both defendants in a single opening and closing statement.
“While there are some procedural differences related to the structure of the trial, there are many things that are the same or identical, including the basic evidence presented by the same group of witnesses,” Leroy said.
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The cases are linked to the disappearances of Vallow’s children, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, whose remains were excavated on Daybell’s property in June. Investigators believe the children were killed in September 2019.
Neither Daybell nor Vallow, who married after the children disappeared, are accused of causing their deaths. However, they face a number of other charges related to the concealment of evidence in the case.
Although none of the defendants indicated they would do so, Leroy said there is no rule in Idaho that prohibits a person from testifying against their spouse.
“There is a general thesis that one married spouse cannot testify against the other, and this does not necessarily include every situation in which one or both spouses are actually charged with a crime and are in a trial as they are,” he said, “You can both testify against each other if you choose to.”
Leroy noted something else that he found interesting about this case.
“What is procedurally unusual here is a defendant through his lawyer who has objected to a joint trial. [while] The other defendant had no objection to a joint trial through her lawyer, “he said.” Typically these types of decisions would be coordinated and identical. In this case they were different. “
Daybell is charged with two crimes of obscuring evidence and two crimes of conspiracy to conceal evidence, while Vallow is charged with two crimes of concealing, destroying or concealing evidence, and offenses of resisting or obstructing officials. criminal inducement to commit a crime and contempt of court.
Both Vallow and Daybell have pleaded not guilty to the charges. A date for their combined trial has not yet been set.
Meanwhile, a separate investigation is ongoing into the death of Tammy Daybell, Chad Daybell’s late wife. Her body was exhumed in December after her death was classified as suspicious. The results of the autopsy have not yet been published.
KTVB reached out to the Attorney General’s office to find out where this case stands. The AG office said, “the investigation is still ongoing.”
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