An Idaho judge ruled Friday against a motion by attorneys for Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell to remove the attorney prosecuting the case against them, Law & Crime Network’s Cathy Russon reports.
Testimony on the motion wrapped on Wednesday, as CrimeOnline reported, and concerned an interview between prosecutor Rob Wood and Vallow’s biological sister, Summer Shiflett, in October.
Vallow and Daybell have been charged in the disappearance of two of Vallow’s children, 9-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, who were eventually found dead and buried on Daybell’s property. Neither have been charged in the children’s deaths.
Shiftlett’s attorney, Garrett Smith, recorded the interview, conducted in Arizona, without telling anyone else in the room and sent the recording to Vallow’s defense attorney. Both Arizona and Idaho are one-party consent states, meaning that Smith had no obligation to tell anyone else he was recording.
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) January 8, 2021
Smith told the judge on Wednesday that he began recording when he became uncomfortable with the interview.
“There were several things in the conversation that were said that made the buzzers go off in my head,” he said.
Wood was too open in telling Shiftlett his theories about the case, Smith said. The prosecutor appeared to blame Daybell for the disappearances, telling Shiftlett he used “spiritual abuse, spiritual manipulation” against her sister.
Daybell’s attorney, John Prior, said on Friday that Wood’s actions were “completely unethical, according to KTVB.
“I cannot think of any situation that is more egregious than a prosecuting attorney that would go in and interview a witness and for 20 minutes not interview the witness but rather offer a monologue of what his theory is of the case, disparage counsel, disparage the defendant and manipulate,” he argued.
Prosecutor Troy Evans told the judge, however, that the defense attorneys were “throwing things at the wall praying that something sticks.
“Counsel doesn’t like the words that Mr. Wood used … but there was no coaching or intimidation,” he said.
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