Judge Puts Hold On DNA Testing Of Evidence In Daybell Case

Apr 28, 2021, 10:51 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2021, 12:48 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The prosecution’s DNA testing of evidence samples in the Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell case has been put on hold after a motion was filed by the defense.

That was decided during a court hearing in Idaho on Wednesday.

The couple faces charges of conspiring to conceal evidence in the deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, with Chad facing additional charges of concealment and destruction of evidence.

“This is a hearing on the defendant’s motions to oppose the use of and motion to preserve DNA samples,” said Judge Steven Boyce.

Judge Steven Boyce agreed to hit pause on prosecutors testing DNA evidence until they can reach an agreement with the defense.

“With the proviso, the state would agree to refrain at this time from any consumptive testing of any evidence in its custody at this time,” said Boyce. “In other words, any testing that would completely consume the evidence, leaving it unavailable for examination by the defense.”

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell’s attorneys’ filed a motion to keep half of the DNA in all samples in order to conduct their own analysis, among other things.

“The Defendant is requesting the following: That the court order the State to not pursue any testing on remaining DNA samples until such time as the defense can obtain half of all samples to allow defense to perform their own DNA testing of all samples. That the court order the State to provide all records, reports, documentation related to the testing that has been performed to date,” Daybell’s attorney John Prior wrote in his motion.

“When a test is done by a crime lab, it destroys part of the sample, and some of the samples are apparently so small that there may not be enough for the defense to do their own analysis and testing,” said Greg Skordas, criminal defense attorney and former Salt Lake County prosecutor.

Skordas, though not connected to the case, has followed it closely. He considered the move by the defense, while permissible, unusual.

“I think it’s unusual that the defense is going to such lengths to have their own tests done because it implies that the State Crime Lab is not competent and there is no evidence of that,” he said.

In court filings, Special Prosecutor for the state Rob Wood responded that they were willing to work with the defense, but that for some samples, there may not be enough DNA to produce two testing samples.

That includes debris found on tools seized from Chad Daybell’s property where the children’s bodies were found and a possible blood sample from an apartment. It is not clear which apartment, but Lori Vallow and her brother Alex Cox had townhomes in the same complex.

“On April 12, 2021, the State received the results of DNA analysis of debris found on tools that were seized from Chad Daybell’s property. The State also learned that some samples obtained from the examined items were possibly suitable for DNA analysis but that those samples were of such size and quantity that the testing process itself would consume the entirety of the sample(s). On April 18, 2021 the State received another report from the State Lab regarding a possible blood sample from an apartment that would require consumptive testing to test the DNA,” Wood wrote in response to the Defense’s motion.

“Most likely, they’re trying to see if either of the children’s DNA are on the tools that they found, because that would be very compelling if one of the children’s blood is on the tools,” said Skordas. “Maybe one of the tools is a murder weapon or a device used to dig a hole.”

It appears the judge was also waiting on additional information from the state forensics lab, which has been facing longer turn around times due to the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the possible solutions was to have the defense’s experts be present when the DNA tests are done.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Lori Vallow & Chad Daybell

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow (KSL TV)...
Larry D. Curtis, KSL TV

Lori and Chad Daybell will be tried together for murders, in January

Lori Vallow Daybell's trial for murder will be moved from October to Jan 9, 2023, when she will be tried together with her husband Chad Daybell.
2 months ago
Lori Vallow Daybell (Madison County)...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Death penalty sought against Lori Daybell

The state of Idaho filed a notice to seek the death penalty against Lori Vallow Daybell Monday. 
3 months ago
Lori Vallow Daybell (Madison County)...
Josh Ellis

Lori Vallow Daybell pleads not guilty to first-degree murder charges

Lori Vallow Daybell pleaded not guilty to all charges she is facing in connection to the deaths of JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan and Tammy Daybell.
4 months ago
Lori Vallow appears in an Idaho courtroom on March 6, 2019....
Josh Ellis

Lori Vallow Daybell found competent to stand trial

Lori Vallow Daybell has been found competent to stand trial, and she will be arraigned next week.
4 months ago
FILE: Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell...
Eliza Pace, KSL TV

Judge denies request to separate Chad and Lori Daybell cases

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell will be on trial for murder together after a judge denied a request to separate the cases. 
5 months ago
Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow (KSL TV)...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

Lori Vallow attorney removed from her murder case 

The judge overseeing Lori Vallow's death penalty case has kicked her privately hired attorney off her case.
7 months ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Judge Puts Hold On DNA Testing Of Evidence In Daybell Case