Lori Vallow Daybell remains silent during arraignment; judge enters not guilty plea on her behalf - East Idaho News
Daybell Case

Lori Vallow Daybell remains silent during arraignment; judge enters not guilty plea on her behalf

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ST. ANTHONY — Lori Vallow Daybell was silent during an arraignment Tuesday, and her attorney asked a judge to enter a not guilty plea on her behalf to murder and other charges.

Seated next to her attorneys, Jim Archibald and John Thomas, Daybell was dressed in a blue shirt, gray dress slacks and blue-framed glasses. She showed no emotion as District Judge Steven Boyce read out the felonies she faces in relation to the deaths of her children and current husband’s first wife. Those charges include:

  • First-degree murder in the death of Tylee Ryan
  • First-degree murder in the death of Joshua “JJ” Vallow
  • First-degree murder in the death of her current husband Chad Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception in the death of Tylee Ryan
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception in the death of Joshua “JJ” Vallow
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of Tammy Daybell
  • Grand theft related to Social Security survivor benefits over $1,000 allocated for the care of minors Tylee Ryan and Joshua “JJ” Vallow that were appropriated after the children were missing and ultimately found deceased.

Daybell is currently scheduled for a trial with her husband Chad Daybell in January 2023 but Archibald indicated his client does not intend to waive her right to a speedy trial, meaning her court proceedings would need to begin by the fall.

“There is a statutory requirement under Idaho code …. which does require that the matter be set for trial within six months if speedy trial is not waived,” Boyce said. “That would give a deadline of approximately October 19 for the trial to commence in this case. With that in mind and a prior trial setting already slated in the companion case for January, I’m going to consult with counsel and discuss the setting of a trial in this case.”

This is Daybell’s first public court hearing since she was declared incompetent for trial in June 2021. After spending 10 months in an Idaho Department of Health and Welfare facility, Boyce deemed her fit for trial last week and she was transferred to the Madison County Jail, where Fremont County female inmates are housed, early Thursday morning.

JJ Vallow’s grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock, along with Annie Cushing, Tylee Ryan’s aunt, were at the arraignment. As the judge discussed JJ and his death, the Woodcocks broke down crying.

“I was very saddened to hear JJ’s name and I am very happy with the stage we are in right now. This case is moving forward,” Larry Woodcock said during a news conference after the arraignment. “(Lori’s) day will come. She’s going to have a miserable life and that’s all I ask for. I know that justice will be served.”

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Kay Woodcock said before the hearing, she didn’t think she would feel anything when Daybell walked in the room but seeing her again was “unnerving.”

As Oct. 19 was discussed as a possible date for Lori’s trial, Kay noted it is the same date that Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, died in 2019.

“It just shows God’s hand is in this,” said Kay.

kay and larry
Kay and Larry Woodcock with their daughter on the steps of the Fremont County Courthouse during a press conference following Lori Daybell’s arraignment. | Tony Blakeslee, EastIdahoNews.com

The arraignment happened about an hour after a separate hearing for Chad wrapped up. The focus of that hearing was the cost of busing jurors from Ada County to Fremont County for what was originally a joint trial. Prosecutors argued it will be significantly cheaper to have jurors brought in rather than holding proceedings in Boise. Chad’s attorney asked the court to uphold its original decision.

Boyce will issue a written ruling on the matter at a later date.

Chad Daybell also faces multiple counts of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and insurance fraud. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and remains in the Fremont County Jail.