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Prosecutors have 60 days to file death penalty notice in Lori Vallow Daybell case as trial date is set

Daybell Case

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ST. ANTHONY — A trial date has been set in the case of Lori Vallow Daybell but in order for it to happen on the scheduled dates, her case would need to be severed from her husband’s.

District Judge Steven Boyce has scheduled the jury trial to begin in Ada County on Oct. 11 with a completion date of Dec. 16, according to paperwork filed Wednesday. A pre-trial conference is set for Sept. 6.

Daybell did not waive her right to a speedy trial during her arraignment Tuesday afternoon, meaning the trial must legally occur within six months. She and her husband, Chad Daybell, are charged with multiple counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder in relation to the deaths of Tammy Daybell, Chad’s first wife, and Lori’s children, Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

WATCH THE ENTIRE ARRAIGNMENT HERE

Chad has pleaded not guilty to the charges and Lori exercised her right to remain silent Tuesday. Instead, her attorney Jim Archibald asked Boyce to enter a not guilty plea on her behalf.

Both cases are currently conjoined and a trial is set to begin in January 2023. If Lori’s trial does proceed in the fall, Boyce would need to separate the cases. Last month, Boyce denied a motion to sever made by John Prior, Chad’s attorney.

Three weeks later, proceedings resumed in Lori’s case after she was found competent for trial. She had been at State Hospital North after being found incompetent last June.

lori standing
Lori Vallow Daybell stands between her attorneys, Jim Archibald and John Thomas, during her arraignment Tuesday. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty in Chad’s case and if they plan to do the same with Lori, they have 60 days from Tuesday to file a notice with the court. Jim Archibald and John Thomas, Lori’s court-appointed public defenders, are both death penalty certified in Idaho. Archibald has been involved in about 30 homicide cases and represented several high-profile defendants, including Brian Dripps, who raped and killed Angie Dodge, and Erik Ohlson, who killed Jennifer Nalley and her unborn baby.

While both trials are set to be held in Ada County, prosecutors argued Tuesday in a separate hearing that it will be significantly cheaper if jurors are bused into Fremont County from the Boise area rather than moving all proceedings to Ada County. Prior and Archibald are opposed to the idea. Boyce has not issued a ruling on the request.

A grand jury in Arizona has also indicted Lori for conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. A Maricopa County Attorney’s Office spokeswoman told EastIdahoNews.com in June that Lori’s Idaho case will run its course before she faces the charge in Arizona.

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