‘Cult mom’ Lori Vallow Daybell’s Hubby Seeks to Sever His Murder Trial From Wife’s

An attorney for Chad Daybell signaled this week that he may be seeking to blame Lori Vallow Daybell for the murders the couple is accused of, telling a judge that Daybell’s “version of the facts will differ greatly” from his wife’s during a hearing on his motion to split their trials in two.

Daybell and Vallow Daybell are charged with murder and conspiracy to murder in the deaths of two of Vallow Daybell’s children and Daybell’s first wife, as CrimeOnline has previously reported. They have pleaded not guilty, and in September, attorney John Prior filed a motion to sever their cases.

“There is a significant amount of information in this case, and the result could be the defendant is put to death,” Prior told the court, according to EastIdahoNews.com. “Given the severity of consequences, the courts and federal courts have made it a habit to sever capital cases.”

Prior referred to Vallow Daybell as “Ms. Vallow” rather than “Daybell,” as she has requested. Daybell and Vallow Daybell married in the fall of 2020, shortly after the deaths of their previous spouses and the disappearances of two of Vallow Daybell’s children,  7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, as CrimeOnline reported.

JJ and Tylee were found dead and buried on Daybell’s backyard in June 2020, and now the couple — who fled to Hawaii as the search for the children began the previous fall — stand charged with their deaths as well as the death of Tammy Daybell, Chad Daybell’s first wife. Vallow Daybell also faces conspiracy charges related to the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, in Arizona that summer.

Prior said during Thursday’s hearing that he would “be petitioning the court to allow me to use a certain amount of information as it relates to Arizona,” EastIdahoNews.com reported

“Our version of the facts of this case will differ greatly from what Ms. Vallow and her legal counsel are going to be presenting,” Prior said. “Our defense is diametrically different than Ms. Vallow’s, and the cases need to be separated.”

Audio recording of motion to sever hearing (cameras are not allowed in the courtroom):

Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake argued against Prior’s motion for severance, saying Prior had not met the “heavy burden” defendants bear to have a judge sever a case.

“Severance is last-ditch effort. It’s meant to be used when no other remedy is available,” Blake said.

Blake noted that evidence and witnesses against the couple are similar “if not identical.”

“This is set to be a 10-week trial. We are talking about a severance that would result in a total of 20-week trials between the two,” Blake said.

The prosecutor suggested a solution to any problems foreseen by the defense might be using separate juries during a joint trial.

The case is currently on hold since Vallow Daybell was declared incompetent to stand trial for a second time. The case was previously paused when she was declared incompetent in June 2021 and only began moving again in April when she was released from a state mental health facility.

The trials were set to begin in January, but District Judge Steven Boyce vacated the start date when Vallow Daybell was sent back for more treatment last month. A hearing was held on her competency on Wednesday, but the proceedings were sealed.

Boyce said he would issued a written order on the motion at a later date.

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