Chad Daybell tells judge he won’t testify in his murder trial

May 23, 2024, 9:50 AM | Updated: 5:19 pm

BOISE — The defense attorney for Chad Daybell rested his case Thursday, and the defendant told the judge he will not take the stand himself and testify.

Click here for complete coverage of the Chad Daybell trial

Defense attorney John Prior called his final witness Thursday morning, Dr. Eric Bartelink, a forensic anthropologist from Chico State University. Following Bartelink’s testimony, Judge Steven Boyce inquired as to whether Chad Daybell himself would be testifying.

Prior said his client would not. Boyce then addressed Chad Daybell directly.

“Mr. Daybell, have you in fact discussed that issue with your attorney?” Boyce asked.

“Yes,” Daybell said.

“And he has advised you of your right to either testify or not be compelled to testify in this trial?” asked Boyce.

“He has,” Daybell responded.

“All right,” the judge said, “and it’s your decision to not testify, is that correct?”

“That is correct,” Daybell said.

Chad Daybell is on trial accused of murdering his longtime wife, Tammy Daybell. He’s also accused of killing two children – 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan – while he was having an affair with their mother, Lori Vallow, whom he later married.

Lori Vallow Daybell has already been convicted in this same case.

During his testimony Thursday, Bartelink said he reviewed the remains of Tylee Ryan and testified that her body was most likely burned whole, not in pieces.

Bartelink also said he could not determine where Tylee had been burned or whether it was done on Chad Daybell’s property, which is where her and JJ’s remains were found in June 2020.

During cross examination, prosecutors pressed Bartelink on a number of points, including whether it was possible Tylee had been burned on the property. Bartelink said it was “certainly possible” but that it was also possible she had been burned elsewhere.

After the defense rested Thursday morning, prosecutors began calling witnesses for the rebuttal portion of the trial. Jurors heard from Lisa Marie Jensen, who worked with Tammy Daybell at Central Elementary in Sugar City. Jensen testified Tammy was in good health and did not miss work.

Prosecutors also called Jason Mackay Abegglan, a former co-worker of Garth Daybell, who is the son of Chad and Tammy. He testified Garth told him he found his mother dead at home in October 2019, and his father wasn’t there.

Finally on Thursday, Fremont County Sheriff’s Detective Bruce Mattingly took the stand, and a February 2021 recording was played of him trying to share Tammy Daybell’s autopsy results with her daughter, Emma Murray, who declined to see them.

This is the eighth week of the high-profile murder trial. If convicted, Chad Daybell could face the death penalty.

Court adjourned just before noon Thursday and will resume Tuesday after the holiday weekend, at which point prosecutors will continue calling witnesses for their rebuttal.

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Chad Daybell tells judge he won’t testify in his murder trial