Chad Daybell trial to move from southeastern Idaho to Boise

Oct 21, 2021, 9:09 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

REXBURG, Idaho — Chad Daybell’s capital murder trial will be moved to Ada County, Idaho, after his lawyers claimed he wouldn’t receive a fair trial in Fremont County, near Rexburg.

The Idaho Supreme Court ordered the trial be transferred from the Seventh Judicial District, which covers most of southeastern Idaho, to the Fourth Judicial District, which includes Boise — the state capital and Ada County seat.

Ada County is home to nearly 495,000 people — just under 27% of Idaho’s population, according to 2020 census data.

The Supreme Court’s decision also ordered that District Judge Steven W. Boyce will continue as the judge assigned to the case.

Boyce had previously agreed with the defense, which argued earlier this month that the jury pool in Fremont County, 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 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 endorse and espouse religious beliefs’ as a motivating factor in the alleged homicides,” court documents state. It also cites media coverage connected to his wife, Lori Vallow, as another factor in the decision to move the trial. It specified a Court TV story.

Daybell and Vallow have been charged with first-degree murder in connection to the deaths of Vallow’s children — JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan — and could face the death penalty, if convicted.

Daybell is also facing charges in connection with the death of his first wife, Tammy Daybell, who died in October 2019, while Lori Vallow has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder related to the death of her former husband, Charles Vallow.

His July 2019 death was recently ruled a homicide, but Arizona authorities said they will wait until Idaho’s cases wrap up before beginning an extradition process.

Chad Daybell married Lori Vallow just a few weeks after Tammy Daybell’s death.

A status conference for Vallow’s case, which has been stayed since a mental health evaluation deemed her “not competent” to stand trial, is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

See more of KSL TV’s detailed coverage of the cases and investigations here

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Chad Daybell trial to move from southeastern Idaho to Boise