The judge overseeing the murder trial of Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell split the cases on Thursday and ordered that the two be tried separately.
The two are facing first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of two of Vallow Daybell’s children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, and Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, as CrimeOnline has reported.
District Judge Steven Boyce heard arguments on Daybell’s motion to sever his case from his wife’s — and delay it beyond the April 3 start date — last month. Daybell has waived his right to a speedy trial, but Vallow Daybell has not. That, and recently disclosed DNA evidence — a hair found at the crime scene — prompted Boyce’s decision. The evidence, he said, was not provided to the defense quickly enough for additional testing, according to EastIdahoNews.com.
“I have to balance these rights of these defendants in this case,” Boyce said. “Severance is the only option I see.”
Vallow Daybell’s case remains set for April 3, and a new date will be set later for Daybell.
“The length of the delay, if I were to continue this, it would be up to Ada County and I don’t believe it could be a short delay,” Boyce said. “It would have to be more than six months additionally.”
Vallow Daybell, her attorney Jim Archibald, and prosecutors Lindsey Blake, Rob Wood, and Rachel Smith appeared in person at court. Daybell and his attorney, John Prior, attended virtually.
Prior said he was happy with the delay, particularly concerning the new DNA evidence, because it “provides, at least from my perspective, an explanation potentially of where Mr. Daybell and I are going to go in this particular case.”
“I need to have an opportunity to test that evidence,” he said.
Archibald agreed with Prior, but his client has not given him that freedom.
“If my client waived her speedy trial, I would also be asking for extra time. But since she has held that right and held it close to her,” he said, “I have to respect that constitutional autonomy that she has.”
Both Vallow Daybell and Daybell have pleaded not guilty to all charges. Vallow Daybell also faces a conspiracy to commit murder charge in Arizona, where her previous husband, Charles Vallow, was shot and killed by her brother, who died of reported natural causes a few months later.
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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)]