ST. ANTHONY — An update on whether Lori Vallow Daybell will stand trial on murder charges may be coming soon.
Daybell was committed to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on June 8 after a mental health professional deemed her incompetent for trial. Three months later, District Judge Steven Boyce extended her time in a state mental hospital by at least 180 days.
The 180-day mark was reached this week.
Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell are charged with multiple counts of conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder 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.
Very few details about Lori Daybell’s mental health have been released because her case is sealed but on Thursday, court records show the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, along with two doctors, submitted reports to Boyce.
“It is hereby ordered that the (documents be sealed) because the information in the report concerns the defendant’s mental health records and restorative treatment,” an order from Boyce says. “The defendant’s privacy interests in having her mental health treatment records remain confidential predominate over the public’s interest in having the information disclosed.”
In order for Daybell to be competent for trial, Idaho law says she must understand the proceedings against her and be able to assist in her own defense. There is no insanity defense in Idaho and it is rare for a case to be paused and never resume because of competency. Former Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Clark told EastIdahoNews.com in June that he had only seen that happen once in Bonneville County over the past 20 years.
If the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare believes Daybell has been restored to competency and Boyce agrees, she would be transferred back to the Madison County Jail, where female inmates from Fremont County are housed. Her case would resume with an initial court appearance on the following charges that were filed in May:
- Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception for the death of Tylee Ryan
- Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception for the death of JJ Vallow
- Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of Tammy Daybell
- First-degree murder for the death of Tylee Ryan
- First-degree murder for the death of JJ Vallow
- Grand theft related to Social Security Survivor benefits over $1,000 allocated for Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow
Daybell’s case is currently joined with Chad Daybell’s, but his attorney John Prior has filed a motion to sever them. Prosecutors object to the severance and a hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday, March 18.
Prior has also filed motions to have the indictment and death penalty against Chad Daybell dismissed, along with motions to have prosecutors in the case disqualified. A hearing on those issues will be held Wednesday, March 23.