Closing arguments in Chad Daybell murder trial to begin Wednesday morning

May 28, 2024, 5:29 PM | Updated: 6:36 pm

BOISE — The jury in the Chad Daybell murder trial is about to get the case, as closing arguments are scheduled for mid-morning Wednesday after weeks of testimony and dozens of witnesses.

As the trial draws to a close, all eyes will be on the jury deciding whether the 55-year-old husband, father, and grandfather is guilty of murder.

“I would be surprised if we went into the weekend without a verdict,” Greg Skordas, KSL legal analyst, said.

Over nine weeks, prosecutors have tried to tie the religious book author to the killings of his longtime wife, Tammy Daybell, and two children – 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow – who belonged to his current wife, Lori Vallow Daybell.

Prosecutors said the couple relied on extreme religious beliefs to justify the crimes.

“It was a long trial,” Skordas said, “but there were a lot of counts.”

As the final witnesses took the stand Tuesday morning in the rebuttal portion of the trial, prosecutors tried to emphasize key facts in the case.

Prosecutor Lindsey Blake asked Rexburg Police Detective Ray Hermosillo where the remains of Tylee and JJ were found.

“Chad Daybell’s backyard,” Hermosillo responded.

Dr. Erik Christensen, who worked in Utah’s Office of the Medical Examiner and performed the autopsy on Tammy Daybell after her body was exhumed in December 2019, testified once again that the 49-year-old died of asphyxia due to homicide.

Throughout the trial, Chad Daybell’s defense attorney, John Prior, has tried to poke holes in the case.

On Tuesday, he grilled Christensen about why he didn’t speak with any of Tammy’s children or Chad’s parents when completing the autopsy.

“You didn’t go back and look at anything provided to you from the family to give you some concept of what potentially the family history or medical was, correct?” Prior asked.

“Nothing was provided to me from the family,” Christensen said.

“Well,” Prior countered, “nothing was provided but you didn’t ask, right?”

Christensen admitted he did not.

Skordas said this trial was a tougher task for prosecutors since Chad Daybell did present a defense, while his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, did not. She was convicted in the same case last year and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Skordas said that’s why the state took so much time laying everything out.

“If you think they sort of overshot the case or put on more than they needed to,” he said, “it’s because they can’t leave any stone unturned in a case like this.”

If Chad Daybell is found guilty, he could face the death penalty. That will be something the jury decides as well, but separately.

For now, the question to be determined over the next few days is whether he is guilty or not.

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Closing arguments in Chad Daybell murder trial to begin Wednesday morning