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Chad Daybell’s attorney objects to combining trial with Lori Daybell

Daybell Case

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Chad Daybell with his attorney John Prior at an August preliminary heairng. | Pool file photo

ST. ANTHONY — The defense attorney for Chad Daybell says combining the jury trial with Lori Vallow Daybell will only increase media coverage and make it unfair for his client.

In an objection motion filed Wednesday, John Prior claims an “overwhelming amount of local media coverage” already makes it impossible for Chad Daybell to receive a fair trial in eastern Idaho. He says combining the trials would be prejudicial or give the jury a stronger opinion toward his client other than the facts at hand.

“Joining the cases combines the coverage of both defendants local media as well as national media and only adds to the level of attention and knowledge prospective jurors would have in this case,” Prior wrote.

Daybell pleaded not guilty in August to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence, and two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.

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A jury trial is set to run from Jan. 11 to 29 in Fremont County but Prior has asked the proceedings to be moved out of the county due to potential jury bias.

Police arrested Daybell on June 9 after the remains of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan were found buried in his backyard. In November 2019, Daybell married the children’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, on a beach in Kauai, Hawaii.

On Thursday, Lori Daybell pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. Her jury trial is set to begin on April 2.

Rob Wood, the special prosecutor in both cases, requested that Chad and Lori Daybell’s jury trials be combined for efficiency as he plans to use the same evidence and witnesses.

Mark Means, Lori Daybell’s attorney, has yet to file a response to Wood’s request but he is expected to ask for his client’s trial to be moved from Fremont County.

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