ST. ANTHONY — The cases for Chad and Lori Daybell could be combined after a request from the prosecutor’s office.
Special Prosecutor Rob Wood has asked District Judges Dane Watkins Jr. and Steven Boyce to combine the cases in a motion filed on Tuesday. In the documents, Wood says the cases should be combined based on the fact that charges against the Daybells allege they participated and or conspired in an act or series of actions.
“Trials in these matters will require the same witnesses and evidence be presented by the State,” Wood wrote in a six-page memorandum supporting the motion. “In order to preserve judicial economy and efficiency, avoid delays in bringing either defendant to trial, and for the benefit of the witnesses and victims, these cases should be joined.”
Under Idaho court procedures, co-defendants can be charged under the same complaint if they are accused of participating in the same act or acts of the alleged crimes.
Chad pleaded not guilty last month 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.
Lori is set to appear for her district court arraignment on Sept. 10, where she will enter a plea on two felony charges of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence.
Both were charged after investigators with the Rexburg Police Department, Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and FBI located the remains of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan. The two children of Lori were last seen alive in September 2019 before being buried in Chad’s backyard.
Two months later, Lori and Chad were married in Hawaii where they lived at the time of her arrest in February.
The documents filed Tuesday are among a handful of new developments in the case. Last week, John Prior, Chad’s defense attorney, asked Boyce to dismiss the entire case. Prior says prosecutors failed to provide sufficient evidence that Daybell committed the crimes.
A jury trial for Chad is set to run from Jan. 11 to 29 in Fremont County before Boyce. Prior has until Oct. 20 to file a motion if he wants to move the trial to another venue to avoid potential jury bias.
Neither Prior nor Lori’s attorney Mark Means have filed responses to Wood’s motion as of Wednesday afternoon.