ST. ANTHONY — The Chad and Lori Daybell trial is now scheduled to begin in January 2023 in Boise at the Ada County Courthouse.
The date for the 10-week trial was determined while District Judge Steven Boyce, defense attorneys and prosecutors met Thursday for a scheduling conference to set the new date for the case. The couple faces various Idaho charges in relation to the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — two of Lori’s kids — and Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell.
Attorneys were also set to meet to discuss other matters after Chad’s attorney John Prior asked for a hearing after allegations were raised that an Idaho Department of Health and Welfare employee encouraged Lori Vallow Daybell to get a new attorney. Prosecutors refute the claims and filed requests of their own were to be at the center of Thursday’s hearing.
However, after the court went for a time behind closed doors, Boyce announced a hearing on the matter would be vacated and moved to a later date. The date for such a hearing has not been scheduled.
The issues center around a motion filed in October by Lori’s private attorney Mark Means claiming his client was being manipulated by IDHW workers. Prior requested an evidentiary hearing into the issue and is requesting a special prosecutor who is not affiliated with the case or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“There are no grounds or law which support Defendant Daybell’s request to appoint a special prosecutor to handle an evidentiary hearing,” Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood and Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake write in a response to Prior. “The case is appropriately being handled by the Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office where jurisdiction is proper and no conflict exists.”
In the response to Prior, filed Tuesday, Wood and Blake called Daybell’s request premature and based on allegations not supported by testimony. Prosecutors also state Daybell is not entitled to the information he is seeking under Idaho’s Criminal Rules, which dictate what is disclosed in criminal cases.
Lori reportedly called church headquarters, where Means says she was connected with attorney Daniel McConkie. Lori allegedly apparently discussed her case with the church attorney and then a different attorney with the law firm reached out to prosecutors about the call. Means alleges prosecutors learned of statements about the case made by Lori, but prosecutors say they have no such comments.
“Means alleged Ms. Vallow Daybell informed him of information, which no one else seems to have knowledge of or posses,” prosecutors wrote. “It appears Defendant Daybell is requesting to be provided the content of the alleged information in possession of co-counsel Means and possibly Ms. Vallow Daybell.”
Ahead of Tuesday’s hearing, a sealed affidavit from the IDHW healthcare worker has been filed and prosecutors subpoenaed her for the hearing. She did not testify or make an appearance during any public portion of Thursday’s hearing.
Since June, Lori has been committed to the Department of Health and Welfare after a mental health professional said she was not competent to assist in her defense or stand trial. District Judge Steven Boyce issued the order of commitment and details surrounding her commitment continue to be sealed.