An Idaho judge on Thursday denied defense attorneys’ motion to drop the criminal indictment against Chad Daybell and also ruled that his trial — and that of his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell — will take place in Ada County.
District Judge Stephen Boyce had previously granted a change of venue from Fremont to Ada County last fall, saying that it was unlikely an impartial jury could be impaneled in the county where the Daybells lived, as CrimeOnline previously reported.
In April, however, prosecutors asked that Boyce consider seating a jury from Ada County but bussing them to Fremont County as a way to cut costs. Defense attorneys opposed the request.
“The Court determines that while it may be more economical to transport a jury to Fremont County, that is not a foregone conclusion given the additional possible scenarios related to sequestration,” Boyce wrote in a 10 page ruling, according to EastIdahoNews.com. “In particular, the Court finds that a non-sequestered jury in Ada County could result in an overall cost similar to conducting the trial in Fremont County.”
Boyce also noted that potential jurors would have to be notified that they would be required to sit for the entire trial in Fremont County, expected to last 10 weeks.
“Many jurors may raise concerns of hardship rising to the level that would require their excuse from service,” he wrote. “Asking jurors to forego family interactions, child care, employment, medical or dental appointments, and other essential and normal daily obligations will certainly result in many requests to be excused for hardship.”
St Anthony, in Fremont County, is more than 300 miles from Boise, in Ada County.
Boyce also denied the defense request to dismiss the criminal indictment against Daybell, although he sealed the order because of requirements to keep grand jury proceedings confidential.
The Daybells are charged with multiple counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of two of Lori Daybell’s children — 7-year-old Joshua Daybell and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — and Chad Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Both have pleaded not guilty.
Chad Daybell is set to go on trial in January, and his wife’s trial is to begin in October. But with their cases currently conjoined, Boyce will have to make a decision before that time to sever them or change the dates.
Prosecutors have already said they are seeking the death penalty should Chad Daybell be convicted and have until June to declare if they plan to seek death for Lori Daybell.
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[Featured image: Chad Daybell, left, and Lori Vallow Daybell with her attorneys in separate hearings held on April 19, 2022. (Tony Blakeslee/EastIdahoNews.com via AP, Pool)]