Court hearing on DNA in Daybell case to continue Thursday - East Idaho News
Daybell Case

Court hearing on DNA in Daybell case to continue Thursday

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ST. ANTHONY — A sudden hearing Monday afternoon regarding DNA testing in the Chad and Lori Daybell case will continue Thursday in Fremont County.

The couple is charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan – two of Lori’s children – along with Chad’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell.

District Judge Steven Boyce scheduled Monday’s hearing on Friday afternoon after prosecutors received reports from a lab regarding evidence.

“We had a hearing last Thursday and at that time, the court was advised that some additional reports, as they relate to DNA evidence, were on the way but they had not yet been received by the prosecution,” Boyce said Monday. “A report was received later that evening and disseminated to the court and defense counsel.”

Chad and Lori appeared for the hearing via Zoom from the Fremont and Madison County jails. John Prior, Chad’s attorney, also attended virtually from his Boise office. Prosecutors Lindsey Blake, Rob Wood and Rachel Smith were in attendance along with Jim Archibald and John Thomas, Lori’s attorneys.

Shortly after the proceedings started, Boyce said the new report may or may not be admitted into evidence. Because of that, he called for a portion of the hearing to be held privately without members of the public. Prior objected to closing the hearing.

“This could potentially taint jurors who could be called to serve in this case so it’s necessary to seal the record and close the hearing for purposes of discussing candidly with counsel the DNA test report that was received,” Boyce said.

Everyone in the courtroom was asked to leave for around 45 minutes until the closed portion was finished. Then, after being invited back into the courtroom for about 10 minutes during a recess, everyone was asked to leave again.

Approximately 15 minutes later, the public was invited back to their seats and Boyce announced the remainder of the hearing would be postponed until Thursday.

“While the court was in recess, the court was advised of another additional report that came through regarding DNA evidence that was received by the state today,” Boyce said. “In order to provide time to the defense and prepare the court, this hearing will be continued.”

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The next hearing will be held Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Cameras have not been allowed into proceedings since Boyce banned them last fall.

The trial for Chad and Lori Daybell is scheduled to begin April 3 in Ada County. They have pleaded not guilty to all charges.