Chad Daybell defense granted change of venue for trial in Idaho

Oct 8, 2021, 5:40 PM | Updated: Oct 21, 2021, 9:17 am
Chad Daybell appears in court for Day 2 of his preliminary hearing on Aug. 4, 2020...
Chad Daybell appears in court for Day 2 of his preliminary hearing on Aug. 4, 2020

A judge has ruled that Chad Daybell’s capital murder trial will be moved out of Fremont County to another county in Idaho to ensure that his Constitutional right to a fair trial is preserved.

Daybell is charged will killing two children – Tylee Ryan, J.J. Vallow – and his former wife Tamara Daybell. He faces other charges as well, but it is the murder charges, and all the media and public attention surrounding the deaths of those three victims, and his relationship with wife Lori Norene Vallow Daybell, that the court ruled could compromise his right to a fair trial and an impartial jury.

Those rights are granted by the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.The prosecution has announced it intends to seek to have Daybell executed for the murders if found guilty.

“The Motion to Change Venue is granted,” documents state. Ada County, across the state and including the population center of Boise will be used instead, according to an Oct. 20 ruling by the Idaho Supreme Court.

U.S. District Judge Steven W. Boyce agreed with the defense and granted the request to change the venue for the trial. The defense argued that the jury pool in Fremont County in southeast Idaho, near Rexburg and Yellowstone National Park, would be tainted by extensive media coverage. The court reviewed media coverage provided by the defense team that documents coverage has been nearly continuous locally and nationally.

Court documents also state that the court found some of the publicity for the trial has focused on the religious components of the case against Daybell.

“In the indictment it is alleged that the Defendant (Daybell) ‘did endorese and espouse religious beliefs’ as a motivating factor in the alleged homicides,” court documents state. It also cites media coverage connected to Lori Vallow Daybell, also charged with murder, as another factor in the decision to move the trial. It specified a Court TV story.

“The Court believes that many prospective jurors would be ‘subtly conditioned to accept a certain version of facts at trail,’ the documents state. While cost efficiency and inconvenience weighed against moving the trial out of Fremont County, the judged said “those concerns cannot outweigh the constitutional right of a Defendant to be afforded a fair trial before an impartial jury.”

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Chad Daybell defense granted change of venue for trial in Idaho