Here’s what will happen on Day 1 of the Lori Vallow Daybell trial

Apr 3, 2023, 7:54 AM | Updated: Apr 4, 2023, 3:41 pm

BOISE, Idaho — Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial officially begins Monday. The 49-year-old is facing charges for the murders of her children and husband’s late wife. For the first couple of days, the courtroom will remain closed to the public for jury selection.

It’s expected to take a few days to settle on the list of people who will decide if Vallow Daybell is guilty or innocent of killing Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan, conspiracy to murder Tammy Daybell, and other related charges.

Click here for complete coverage of the Lori Vallow Daybell trial

Vallow Daybell’s husband, Chad Daybell, is expected to go to trial at a later time for similar charges.

Greg Skordas, KSL legal analyst who is both a former defense attorney and prosecutor and has extensive experience working on murder cases, explained what the first day of trial will look like.

“There will be a huge number of people brought in, what we call the jury pool, from which the ultimate 12 jurors that will hear this case will be selected,” he said.

That initial pool could be as many as 100 people, Skordas said. Through a questionnaire, the court will whittle that number down through a process of elimination to about 30 or 40 people, before attorneys on each side then decide on the final 12.

Skordas added that a few extra people will be chosen as alternates. One huge concern, he indicated, will be making sure potential jurors are impartial.

“Both sides and the judge want jurors who can follow the law, who will follow the law, and who don’t have already formed an opinion about the guilt or innocence of Lori Vallow — and they’re willing to let the government put on its case and the defense put on their case before they form an opinion,” he said.

Considering the extensive attention of the case nationally and internationally, it could be hard to find jurors who don’t know about the case. But Skordas described how it’s more about finding people whose minds aren’t already made up.

“The jurors are going to say, ‘I know about the case.’ That’s not the question,” he said. “The question is, given what you know about the case, can you still make an opinion and base your decision solely on the evidence that you’re about to hear during this trial?”

Skordas explained how jury selection is the main reason why the trial was moved to Boise in the first place.

Jury selection likely would have been difficult in Fremont County, where JJ Vallow and Ryan were found murdered on the property of Chad Daybell, Vallow Daybell’s husband. It’s also where Tammy Daybell, Chad’s former wife, died under suspicious circumstances.

Chad and Tammy Daybell lived in the small, tight-knit community for many years.

“In small, rural counties it’s often hard to find qualified jurors who don’t know the parties, who don’t know the law enforcement officers, maybe they’re a neighbor, former schoolteacher, don’t know the medical people, don’t know the victim’s family — that type of thing,” Skordas said. “And so, moving it to a bigger county or even just a different county will sort of get away from that taint and that bias.”

Skordas said the jury selection process that will start Monday could take several days, possibly up to a week before opening statements begin.

When the courtroom opens to the public for opening statements and beyond, there’s still a decision hanging in the balance as to whether or not JJ Vallow’s grandparents will be allowed to watch the trial.

The death penalty is still an option for Chad Daybell, who waived his right to a speedy trial to allow for more time to prepare and review. His trial date hasn’t been set. The couple was originally going to be tried together, but the cases were recently severed.

Click here to see more of KSL TV’s extensive coverage of the trial and case.

KSL 5 TV Live

Lori Vallow Daybell Trial

Lori Vallow Daybell speaks at her sentencing hearing in a St. Anthony, Idaho, courtroom....

Larry D. Curtis

Lori Vallow Daybell files appeal on murder, conspiracy convictions

The law team for Lori Vallow Daybell — convicted of murdering her children — filed an appeal to her conviction with the Idaho Supreme Court.

19 days ago

Mug shot from prison...

Larry D. Curtis and Ladd Egan

After Lori Vallow Daybell’s sentencing, her sister breaks silence

The sister of convicted murder, Lori Vallow Daybell, broke her silence and shared an emotional tribute to her niece and nephew.

2 months ago

Lori Vallow Daybell on July 31, 2023 during her sentencing hearing for murder and conspiracy to com...

Eliza Pace

Lori Vallow Daybell sentenced to life in prison without parole

Lori Vallow Daybell sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murders of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan and conspiring to kill Tammy Daybell.

2 months ago

Lori Vallow Daybell speaks at her sentencing hearing in a St. Anthony, Idaho, courtroom....

Josh Ellis

Lori Vallow Daybell speaks during sentencing hearing

WATCH: Lori Vallow Daybell speaks publicly for the first time since being convicted of murdering her youngest children.

2 months ago

Vallow motion denied...

Josh Ellis

WATCH: Lori Vallow Daybell sentencing hearing

Lori Vallow Daybell faces up to life in prison without parole as she is sentenced for the murders of her two youngest children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, and conspiring to kill Tammy Daybell, her fifth husband’s previous wife.

2 months ago

Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Lori Vallow Daybell sentencing: Here’s what’s expected to happen

With the sentencing for Lori Vallow Daybell starting on Monday, what will happen in court? And will Vallow Daybell, who up until now has been silent about the murders of her two children and husband's late wife, speak at the hearing?

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Here’s what will happen on Day 1 of the Lori Vallow Daybell trial