Judge rules jurors in Lori Daybell trial won’t hear secret recordings of her and Chad Daybell
May 4, 2023, 9:51 AM
BOISE, Idaho — A judge in the Lori Vallow Daybell murder trial ruled Thursday that jurors will not be able to hear secret recordings of conversations between her, Chad Daybell and others.
Following arguments outside the presence of the jury Thursday morning, Judge Steven Boyce said the recordings constitute hearsay and cannot be admitted. He said if a witness contradicts what was said in the recordings, he could revisit the ruling.
Ian Pawlowski worked with police to make the recordings. He married Lori Daybell’s niece in late November of 2019. He testified Thursday that the night after marrying Melani Pawlowski, she expressed fears — specifically about Daybell’s missing children and about an attempted shooting of her former husband.
MAY 4 THREAD– Tammy Daybell's birthday (she would have been 53). We pick up with cross-exam of Ian Pawlowski, Lori's niece Melani Pawlowski's husband. But first court deciding if defense can play recordings Ian took of Lori. #LoriVallowDaybell #LoriVallowTrial @KSL5TV pic.twitter.com/anFtPrERKs
— Lauren Steinbrecher (@LaurenSnews) May 4, 2023
He said that’s when he decided that “something needs to happen.” He met with law enforcement a few days later and agreed to make recordings of family conversations with Lori Daybell, Chad Daybell and his new wife.
In his arguments, defense attorney James Archibald pushed for the recordings to be played for jurors. He said in one of the recordings, Melani Pawlowski was on the phone with Chad Daybell and Lori Daybell discussing her brother Alex Cox’s death, religious issues, and a blessing from Chad Daybell.
Archibald says the recordings contains statements important to the case’s religious aspects and argued that statements Ian Pawlowski made summarizing the conversations were insufficient.
Prosecutors argued the recordings were hearsay and the judge agreed.
Thursday marks the 17th day of testimony in the trial for Lori Daybell who is charged with murder, conspiracy and grand theft in the deaths of her two children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old JJ Vallow. She is also charged with conspiracy in connection with the death of Tammy Daybell, her new husband’s previous wife. Chad Daybell is charged with murder for the same three deaths and will face a separate trial at a later date.
Thursday would have been Tammy Daybell’s 53rd birthday. On Tuesday, a neighbor testified that Chad Daybell told him he had a vision his previous wife would not make it to 50 years of age. She was killed at age 49.
On Wednesday, Lori Daybell’s friend Audrey Barattiero said when she ended her friendship with Lori Daybell, shortly after Tammy Daybell died, Lori Daybell immediately threatened to cut her up and kill her.
“She said, that she would cut me up, and something about she wasn’t in the mental place to do that now, but she would get herself in the mental place to do it … and it would be so messy, with so much blood. And she mentioned bleach, trash bags … and she would bury me where no one would ever find me,” Barattiero testified.
She also talked about the extreme religious beliefs of Lori and Chad Daybell, some of which she did not feel comfortable with.