Prosecutors File Motion To Combine Vallow & Daybell Trials

Sep 2, 2020, 9:53 PM | Updated: Sep 3, 2020, 12:11 am

REXBURG, Idaho – State prosecutors in Idaho have requested to combine the trials for Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow one day after Daybell’s attorney requested that a judge dismiss his case.

In a motion filed Monday, special prosecutor Rob Wood argued the couple “participated in the same act or series of acts and conspired to commit the alleged acts or series of acts,” in the deaths of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow.

Daybell faces four felony charges of destruction, alteration and concealment of evidence and conspiracy while Vallow faces two felony charges of conspiracy to destroy, alter or conceal evidence.

Each charge carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

“Specifically, the charges relate to; the discovery of Lori Daybell’s minor children’s bodies on her husband Chad Daybell’s property and Lori Daybell’s alleged conspiracy with Chad Daybell and others (including but not necessarily limited to her brother Alex Cox, now deceased) in committing those acts,” a memorandum in support of motion for joinder for Lori Vallow stated.

In memorandums filed for both Daybell and Vallow, prosecutors alleged the evidence presented in the trials would be nearly identical.

“Due to the nature of the conspiracy charges alleged against the Daybells, the state’s evidence in both cases is nearly identical and the trial for each case will be nearly identical,” prosecutors said.

The memorandum also argued the prosecution would experience an “undue burden” in having to present “repetitive work” before two different judges.

Meanwhile, Daybell’s attorney, John Prior, is pressing to have the case against Daybell tossed out, in a motion also filed on Monday.

Prior’s motion argued a lack of sufficient evidence for the case to continue.

“The charges are not supported by the evidence and duplicative as allegations against the defendant. Further, the prosecution has yet to present evidence to support when the alleged acts is supposedly to have taken place,” Prior’s motion read.

Prior also filed a motion requesting the 14-day deadline for a hearing to be dismissed in order to review the preliminary hearing transcript and evidence.

However, former Salt Lake County prosecutor and criminal defense attorney Greg Skordas, who although not directly involved with the case has been tracking its developments, told KSL it’s not likely Prior’s request to put Daybell back on the streets will be granted.

“The evidence is all considered by the judge in what we say is the light most favorable to the state,” Skordas said. “So it’s really not a difficult thing for the state to preserve their case and prevail at a preliminary hearing … so this motion probably has very little or no chance of prevailing.”

As things stood Wednesday night, different judges were assigned to Daybell and Vallow’s trials. Daybell’s trial is scheduled for January 2021 while Vallow’s arraignment is still pending for Sept. 10, on the charges of conspiracy to destroy or alter evidence.

Additionally, Vallow is also facing three misdemeanor charges related to the children’s disappearance in Madison County. A jury trial was set for Jan. 25, 2021.

Skordas said the motion to dismiss the charges against Daybell may be a strategy to highlight faults in the circumstantial evidence against him with a new judge, but he felt they were unlikely to succeed.

“A motion like this is very rarely made and even more rarely granted because the amount of evidence the state needs to put on in a preliminary hearing is pretty minimal,” Skordas said.

Prosecutors aren’t pursuing murder charges. “These are low-level felony charges,” Skordas said, explaining that prosecutors may not yet have enough evidence to stand in a murder trial.

“Really the case right now that is pending against Chad Daybell is just all the steps that he’s taken to conceal this whole crime,” Skordas added. ”That’s what this case is all about is the destruction and concealment of the evidence and the evidence unfortunately is the children.”

When it comes to combining Vallow and Daybell’s trials, Skordas said a judge will allow it, considering the couple is linked in the deaths of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow.

Attorneys for both Chad and Lori are now expected to file their response to combining the trials. In the meantime, Skordas doesn’t expect the motion to dismiss Daybell’s case will delay a decision on a combined trial.

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Prosecutors File Motion To Combine Vallow & Daybell Trials