Opening statements begin Monday in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial

Apr 9, 2023, 10:10 PM | Updated: 10:18 pm

BOISE, Idaho — Monday will mark a significant day in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial, as opening statements are set to begin. The courtroom is expected to be packed after reservations filled up minutes after opening Friday morning.

Opening statements will kick off week two of the trial. Jury selection took up the entire first week, and the court decided not to sequester the jury.

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The prosecution will deliver their statements first.

“I think the prosecution’s opening statement is going to be a very, very good roadmap,” said KSL Legal Analyst Greg Skordas.

Skordas, who has extensive murder trial experience as both a prosecutor and defense attorney, explained how prosecutors would likely spend a few hours laying out the next several weeks to jurors.

“They’re going to lay out all their witnesses, and they’ll probably lay them out in some order, similar to how they intend to call them,” he said. “We’ll know the strength of the prosecution’s case. And we’ll know the theory of their case, how they’re trying to establish that Lori is the one who’s criminally responsible for this.”

The prosecution will explain how they intend to prove every single one of the seven counts Vallow Daybell is on trial for, beyond a reasonable doubt– from first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft of her children Tylee Ryan and Joshua JJ Vallow to conspiracy to murder her husband Chad Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell, to grand theft of social security benefits of her children.

Skordas said the defense doesn’t have to give opening statements on the first day. If they do, the jury– and the public– may find out if they plan to call Vallow Daybell to testify.

“If the defense says in their opening statement that they’re going to put her on the stand, and then they choose not to– that probably looks bad for the defense,” he said. “If they say they’re going to in their opening statement… the jury will be waiting for her to testify.”

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Family members, who have so far not been present at the trial, are expected to sit in court for this huge day.

Kay and Larry Woodcock said they plan to attend trial every day after waiting on a ruling last week from Judge Steven Boyce on whether they can attend. Judge Boyce appointed Kay, who is JJ’s biological grandmother, as his representative because she is the sister of JJ’s late adoptive father, Charles Vallow (Vallow Daybell was indicted in his death in Arizona).

While Judge Boyce ruled that Larry Woodcock did not classify as a victim, he plans to attend the trial, and the couple said they’re looking forward to this first day.

“As soon as opening statements are done, it’s time for the state to put on his case, and they’ll call their first witness,” Skordas explained.

KSL reporters have seats in the courtroom, and KSL-TV will be posting updates on what’s unfolding Monday.

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Opening statements begin Monday in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial