Chad Daybell and 47 others may be called as witnesses in Lori Daybell’s court hearings
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REXBURG — Chad Daybell may be called to take the stand at his wife’s preliminary hearing next month, according to newly filed court documents.
Lori Vallow Daybell is charged with two counts of felony child abandonment, misdemeanor resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime and contempt of court. The charges stem from the disappearance of her children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan.
On Monday, Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood submitted a list of 48 witnesses who could be called to testify at Lori’s preliminary hearing, jury trial and other court proceedings. In addition to Chad, the list includes:
- Investigators from multiple law enforcement agencies
- Melanie Gibb – Lori Vallow Daybell’s friend
- Larry and Kay Woodcock – Grandparents of Joshua “JJ” Vallow
- Colby Ryan – Lori Vallow’s oldest son
- Jack and Sheila Daybell – Chad Daybell’s parents
- School administrators
- Medical professionals
The court filing came in response to a request for discovery from Lori’s attorney, Mark Means. Next to Chad’s name, Wood pointed out that under Idaho Rules of Evidence, Chad cannot claim husband and wife privilege, meaning the information the couple shared together in conversations is not confidential.
Wood specifically mentioned a subsection that communications related to the children in a criminal or civil action concerning the “physical, mental or emotional condition of or injury to a child, or concerning the welfare of a child including, but not limited to the abuse, abandonment or neglect of a child,” are not exempt from disclosure.
In the disclosure, Wood also said his office is compiling financial records which will be handed over to Means. Wood’s office also gave the Rexburg Police Department case report, cellphone data and other electronic evidence to the defense.
While Wood did provide several items of evidence, he disputed others requested by Means and wrote some information is not required to be given under Idaho Criminal Rule – including requests that were “overly broad and vague.”
Earlier this month, Means asked that prosecutors hand over toxicology and autopsy reports for two of Daybell’s former husbands, Charles Vallow and Joe Ryan, along with her brother, Alex Cox. Additionally, he asked for the same reports on Tammy Daybell, Chad’s late wife.
“The requested items are outside the care and custody of the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office and the deaths of the above-mentioned individuals are irrelevant to the desertion of the minor children,” Wood wrote in his response. “Further, the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office has no jurisdiction over the investigation of the deaths of any of the mentioned individuals.”
Means has also sent subpoenas to the Fremont County Prosecutors Office and the Idaho Attorney General’s Office for information related to the death of Tammy Daybell. The agencies are investigating Chad and Lori for conspiracy, attempted murder and murder in connection to the death of Tammy.
It remains unclear what information Means retrieved from the subpoenas, but court records indicate the subpoenas were returned Tuesday.
In addition to the autopsies, Means requested the names of all investigating authorities and the communication made during their investigations. Wood denied the request and said his office does not need to collect evidence for the defense.
New demands for information
In an additional subpoena filed by Means, he demanded the Madison County Sherriff’s Office hand over the entire file regarding the communications of Lori Daybell while in the Madison County Jail.
Earlier this month, the Meridian-based attorney argued COVID-19 measures implemented at the jail infringe upon his client’s constitutional rights.
“Upon arriving at said Detention Center, I was required, with no attorney/client option, to the sole option of communicating with my client in the public visitor meeting room, wall of glass between attorney and client, over a recorded telephone line,” Means wrote. “I was told that the ONLY way that my client could review documents was to pass possibly sensitive documents/records by and through a Detention Center Officer from the public (my side) room ‘…round and about…’ through multiple security doors to the inmate (client’s side). All of which would be out of sight of the Attorney and Client.”
Means subpoenaed the records, included deleted and partial files related to Lori and her stay at the jail. He also demanded the names of all sheriff office employees who have had involvement with Lori
The subpoena notes the information must be provided by May 8.
Daybell is scheduled for a bail reduction hearing on May 1 at 2 p.m.