CHAD DAYBELL TRIAL

Defense says no evidence Daybell killed Tylee and JJ; Judge finds indictment error

May 16, 2024, 1:01 PM | Updated: 3:48 pm

Chad Daybell and his attorney, John Prior, appear in a hearing on Oct. 29, 2020...

Chad Daybell and his attorney, John Prior, appear in a hearing on Oct. 29, 2020. (KSL TV)

(KSL TV)

BOISE — In court on Thursday,  Judge Steven Boyce said there is an issue with the indictment – and pointed out a crucial date — the date of JJ Vallow’s death — was incorrect.

Chad Daybell’s attorney, John Prior, asked for a “directed verdict” on the murder charges of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, indicating that there was not enough evidence to show that Daybell was involved in their deaths.


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The prosecution explained that the jury should determine the weight of the evidence and decide whether Chad Daybell was involved in the children’s deaths for themselves.

Ultimately, Boyce found insufficient evidence to make a ruling on that motion but added that he has “an issue with the indictment.” The indictment was amended on Feb. 20, 2024 and Boyce said that evidence from the state does not support certain dates that were presented in court.

The indictment listed JJ Vallow’s death as being between Sept. 8-9, 2019. Boyce said JJ was “clearly alive on those days.”

It is believed based on evidence that Tylee Ryan was killed between Sept. 8-9, 2019, but the last date JJ Vallow was seen alive was Sept. 22, 2019. They believe his death was shortly after that date.

The language on the indictment varies and Prior argued that the state had plenty of time and has already rested its case.

Court resumed after a 90 minute break and Boyce went through each count one by one.

Boyce said on count one, the court found significant evidence in the charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against Tylee Ryan.

On count two, the court found significant evidence in the charge of the first-degree murder of Tylee Ryan.

On count three, the court found significant evidence in the charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against JJ Vallow.

Boyce said he would skip count four, which was the charge of the first-degree murder of JJ Vallow.

On count five, the court found significant evidence in the charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against Tammy Daybell.

On count six, the court found significant evidence in the charge of the first-degree murder of Tammy Daybell.

On count seven, the court found significant evidence in the charge of grand theft.

On count eight, the court found significant evidence in the charge of insurance fraud.

On count nine, the court found significant evidence in the charge of insurance fraud.

Based on the evidence given, Boyce denied Prior’s motion for a directed verdict.

The court then discussed count four, the charge of the first-degree murder of JJ Vallow.

Ingrid Batey, with the prosecution said there are three options for the court regarding the incorrect date.

Batey explained because count four did not fall within the scope of the ccourt’s Dec. 8, 2023, order to amend, the court could simply correct the date so that it conforms with the court.

The second option, she said, would be to admit the fault and notify jury that there is a variance.

Her third option was to re-open the case and correct the indictment.

Batey said it was a clerical error.

Prior responded that reopening cases was only for evidence, not errors in indictments.

“They’ve lost their chance. They don’t get to go back. Judge, I’m asking the court to dismiss the charge,” Prior said.

After another recess, court returned to discuss the matter.

Boyce noted that the initial indictment had the correct date for more than two years. He said he found the wrong dates in count four to be an inadvertent mistake and he believes the jurors can be fairly and properly instructed with evidence.

Prior’s request to dismiss the murder charge is denied.

Chad Daybell is charged with the first-degree murder of his first wife of 29 years, Tammy Douglas Daybell, and, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, children of Lori Vallow Daybell.

Chad Daybell is married to Lori Vallow Daybell, who was convicted of six felonies last summer involving the deaths of her two children and conspiring to murder Chad Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell.

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Defense says no evidence Daybell killed Tylee and JJ; Judge finds indictment error