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Lori Vallow Daybell pleads not guilty, jury trial set for April

Daybell Case

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Lori Daybell at her District Court arraingment alongside Mark Means.

ST. ANTHONY — Lori Vallow Daybell pleaded not guilty to two felony charges Thursday and her case will now go to a jury trial scheduled to begin in April.

Daybell appeared via Zoom before District Judge Dane H. Watkins Jr. who summarized the two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.

Seated next to her attorney, Mark Means, Daybell showed little emotion during the 5-minute hearing. She was dressed in a blue sweater as she sat behind the defendant’s table. Because of COVID-19 precautions, she wore a medical mask over her face.

Means entered the not guilty plea on behalf of Daybell.

The jury trial is set to begin on April 2 with a pretrial conference on March 22.

Daybell is married to Chad Daybell, the man who owned the property where investigators found the remains of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan in June.

Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty 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. His trial is set for Jan. 11 to 29 and his attorney, John Prior, is asking it to be moved to a different county.

Means now has 60 days to file a motion if he wants to change venues for Lori Daybell’s trial.

Earlier this month, Special Prosecutor Rob Wood asked that both trials be combined for efficiency. He said in a motion that he expects to use the same evidence and witnesses in the trials.

Watkins and District Judge Steven Boyce, who presides over Chad’s case, have not made any ruling on combining the trials.

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