Jury selection day 3: Opening statements for Daybell trial set for Monday as jury selection begins to wrap up - East Idaho News

Jury selection day 3: Opening statements for Daybell trial set for Monday as jury selection begins to wrap up

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Lori Vallow Daybell appears to wipe her eyes or wipe her glasses during jury selection Wednesday. | Lisa Cheney, Pool Sketch Artist

BOISE — Opening statements will begin Monday in the Lori Vallow Daybell case as jury selection is expected to wrap up this week.

Twelve jurors will ultimately be picked along with six alternates. Three groups of 15 men and women were questioned by District Judge Steven Boyce, prosecutors and Daybell’s defense attorneys Wednesday and at the end of the day, 39 potential jurors remained in the pool.

The court needs 42 jurors before the defense and prosecution will begin peremptory challenges until 18 remain. The defense and prosecution each get to eliminate 12 people in the pool.

Jury selection is scheduled to continue at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. Boyce has scheduled opening arguments to begin at the Ada County Courthouse on Monday at 8:30 a.m.

Daybell is charged with murder, conspiracy and grand theft in connection to the deaths of her children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and Tylee Ryan, who was last seen a few days before her 17th birthday.

Her husband, Chad Daybell, faces the same charges and both are also charged in the death of Daybell’s former wife, Tammy Daybell.

EastIdahoNews.com reporter Nate Eaton has been in the courtroom all week and is providing live updates throughout each day. You can get caught up on the details below and watch “Courtroom Insider” in the video player above.


4:51 p.m. Court is adjourned for the day. Join me tonight at 7:30 p.m. to break down everything that happened today.

4:50 p.m. Final two potential jurors in this group were just let go due to media exposure. We are still at 39. A new group of 15 will need to report tomorrow to try and reach 42.

4:46 p.m. Part three of the audio from Monday’s jury selection is here:

4:44 p.m. Potential juror was just released to go due to media exposure. There are two left and it appears a new group will need to be brought in tomorrow morning so we can get to 42 in the pool.

4:42 p.m. There are three remaining potential jurors in this group. If all three pass, we will hit 42 for striking to begin. If we lose one, a new group will need to be called tomorrow morning.

4:29 p.m. Part two of the audio from Monday’s jury selection is here:

4:24 p.m. We just received the audio recording from Monday’s jury selection. It’s from the Ada County Courthouse and is about seven hours long. Here is part one. Currently processing parts two and three.

4:22 p.m. Prosecutors and defense have finished questioning the jurors. We have four remaining as we go into indivudual voir dire. If three of these four make it through, we will hit the pool of 42 potential jurors.

3:54 p.m. Fremont Co. Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake now questioning potential jurors about their ability to be fair and impartial if asked to serve on the jury.

3:38 p.m. Boyce asking potential jurors if they have any hardships by serving on the jury. One woman says she will lose her job if she has to be away for eight weeks. Boyce allows her to be excused.

3:30 p.m. New group of jurors called in. Man says his wife is a true crime junkie and has been telling him all about the case (how many jurors have been called thus far, giving him updates on the case, etc). Boyce asks if that will be a problem if he’s picked for the jury. Man responds, “If I’m allow to go home, yes.” Everyone appears to laugh – including Lori. Man is excused.

3:06 p.m. Sketch just in of prosecutors Rob Wood, Lindsey Blake and Rachel Smith. Second sketch shows defense attorney John Thomas.

04 05 2023 02 JurySelection copy

04 05 2023 04 JurySelection copy

2:43 p.m. We have 39 potential jurors in the pool. Just have to get to 42. Afternoon group will be brought in shortly following a recess.

2:37 p.m. Potential juror dismissed for cause. Said he forgot about the case but then said he remembered it and wrote about a dead spouse, missing kids on his questionnaire.

2:32 p.m. A new sketch from our courtroom artist of Lori Vallow Daybell wiping her eyes or cleaning her glasses. This happened as the prosecution mentioned to potential jurors that they will see autopsy photos of children during the trial:

04 05 2023 03 JuryDuty 2

2:25 p.m. Individual voir dire is underway with the remaining potential jurors in the group being asked about media exposure.

2:20 p.m. A few jurors don’t need any further questioning about media exposure so Boyce passes them through to the final pool. That means we have 39 potentials – three away from 42.

2:15 p.m. Thomas concludes his questioning and individual voir dire will now begin with potential jurors.

2:15 p.m. Thomas tells a potential juror that she can be excused because of her age. She responds that she’s happy to serve. Thomas asks if it will be a hardship for her to be here. She says it will not.

2:01 p.m. A woman says she isn’t comfortable seeing evidence with blood/anything bloody. Thomas says, “Maybe this trial isn’t for you.” She responds, “Maybe not.” Thomas asks to have the juror removed. Boyce explains accommodations can be made like taking a break after evidence is displayed. Some back and forth between prosecution, who wants to keep the juror, and defense, who wants the juror removed. Boyce ultimately dismisses the juror for hardship.

2 p.m. Prosecution finishes their group voir dire. Defense attorney John Thomas now questioning the group.

1:49 p.m. Prosecutor Rachel Smith now questioning group of jurors including a woman whose granddaughter is a prosecutor.

1:39 p.m. A note about a moment from this morning. During lunch break, our court sketch artist told me that when prosecutors brought up to potential jurors that they will see autopsy photos of children, Lori dabbed her eyes or wiped her glasses. Unclear if she was crying or simply cleaning her glasses.

1:35 p.m. Lindsey Blake asking jurors to be “brutally honest” and says following instructions is extremely important. Gives an analogy of catching a plane – would you get on a flight with a pilot who is unsure of landing a plane or would you get on a plane with a pilot who is confident he or she can land the plane. Blake says jurors need to commit to “landing the plane” and follow instructions precisely as given by the court.

1:30 p.m. We are back from lunch and prosecution questioning with this second group of jurors will begin.

12:29 p.m. Another potential juror is a single mom and the only employee at her job. She is dismissed for hardship.

12:23 p.m. Potential juror has a son with a track meet in California next week and his family has booked plane tickets. The man is unsure if the tickets are refundable. Debate over whether to dismiss him for hardship. Boyce says the juror can be excused.

12:20 p.m. Boyce giving instructions to the new group of jurors before the prosecution begins questioning.

12:11 p.m. A new group of potential jurors has been brought in. Out of the 15, six were eliminated due to hardship or bias concerns. We have nine left and they will now be questioned.

12:05 p.m. New sketch image in from today’s jury selection:

04 05 2023 01 JuryDuty copy

11:27 a.m. Second group of potential jurors will be questioned. Court in recess.

11:22 a.m. Thomas asking potential juror if he ever heard of a man named Alex Cox or any other issues “Ms. Vallow” has in other states. State and defense pass the juror — we now have 35 in the potential jury pool.

11:18 a.m. Final potential juror from this morning group being questioned about his media consumption about the case.

11:15 a.m. Thomas challenges the potential juror and asks Boyce to remove him. Wood objects and believes the juror should stay. Boyce overrules the challenge and he moves forward. We now have 34 potential jurors.

11:12 a.m. Another potential juror being questioned. He says he is aware of the Netflix documentary but has not seen it. He stresses that he knows the importance of being fair and impartial. Thomas now questioning the man about the Netflix documentary. The potential juror says he learned about it from friends.

11:08 a.m. We now have 33 potential jurors in the pool. Nine more to go.

11:05 a.m. New potential juror in the courtroom. Smith questions him, nothing major comes up. Thomas now asking the man about photos he says he saw of children he thought were JJ and Tylee. Man believes he saw them on the local news but doesn’t specifically remember where or when. He says he has not seen the Dateline or Netflix shows about the case.

10:59 a.m. We now have 32 potential jurors in the pool.

10:55 a.m. After the questioning, Thomas asks Boyce to have the juror dismissed. Boyce asks the man what he remembers about the news footage he saw of Lori in Hawaii. He remembers a reporter trying to question Lori. Prosecution argues against dismissing the potential juror. Boyce does not think there’s enough to excuse the juror so he stays.

10:52 a.m. Potential juror wrote on his questionnaire that he thinks Lori Daybell’s involvement in the disappearance of her children is “suspicious.” John Thomas asking him further questions about that answer.

10:42 a.m. Each potential juror is being brought in individually and being questioned about their media exposure to the case. First woman tells Rob Wood, “I became aware that the children were missing and Chad and Lori were in Hawaii.” She says she has absolutely no idea what happened and stopped paying attention to the story because the media sensationalized it. “I can honestly say I have no clue if she was part of it or not but I do think she knows what happened because she went to Hawaii.” Wood asks Boyce to excuse the juror for implied bias. Defense agrees. Woman is excused.

10:36 a.m. Thomas has a few questions for different jurors but nothing major comes up. Now individual voir dire will begin.

10:28 a.m. Smith wraps up her questions, now defense attorney John Thomas begins examining potential jurors.

10:23 a.m. Smith asks potential jurors if they would be able to convict someone of murder even if the state could not say exactly how the person died – whether they were shot or stabbed or strangled. One lady expresses some confusion about the question.

10:18 a.m. Prosecutor Rachel Smith now questioning a potential juror who served in Iraq. She asks if seeing graphic images or evidence in this trial would cause problems for the man. He says no and will be fair if selected for the jury as “that’s my duty.”

10:10 a.m. Wood asks the mother of five if she feels she can be a fair and impartial juror. She responds “no” and then says, “You wanted brutal honesty, right?” Wood responds yes and motions to have the potential juror dismissed. Defense does not oppose and Boyce excuses the juror.

10:05 a.m. Wood asks all potential jurors to put aside everything they’ve heard about the case on the news or elsewhere and only use what they hear in the courtroom. He says they will see autopsy photos of children and asks a potential juror how she feels about having to see “emotionally charged” evidence. The woman says as a mother of five, that will be difficult for her to see and make her “very emotional.”

10 a.m. No family members are in the courtroom overflow today. We are still waiting to see if Boyce will allow Larry and Kay Woodcock in the courtroom during the trial. You can get caught up on the issue here.

READ: ‘Blindsided and heartbroken’ Woodcocks hire attorney after learning they may be prohibited from attending trial

10 a.m. Attorneys for the prosecution now questioning potential jurors. This will be very similar to the past two days. Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood asking jurors to be “brutally honest” with them when answering questions. They want the complete, full truth.

9:53 a.m. Boyce asks potential jurors if any of them are related to Daybell, the attorneys or if they are involved in any civil litigation with Daybell. They all say no.

9:48 a.m. Potential juror asks whether he would be able to go work at the end of the day to see patients (he’s a dentist). Boyce says he has no plans to sequester the jury during the trial and has not made a decision about whether they will be sequestered during verdict deliberations. Judge says the goal is to end court every day at 3:30 p.m.

9:40 a.m. Boyce introducing attorneys to the potential jurors and explaining the charges against Lori Vallow Daybell.

9:30 a.m. Boyce says he met with attorneys from defense and prosecution this morning. Both sides raised challenges about seven people in the 15 member jury panel due to hardship and bias reasons. One potential juror didn’t show up. So we have seven remaining in this group.

9:30 a.m. Judge Boyce has just entered the courtroom. Lori is sitting between her attorneys wearing a black shirt and dark-rimmed glasses.

8:55 a.m. Back in the courthouse for day 3 of jury selection. There are about 25 people in the overflow room at the Ada County Courthouse. We need 42 potential jurors in the pool for things to advance – right now we have 30. So we could get the total number today and striking the jurors could begin.

Read summaries of day one here and day two here.

Here is video of Lori’s legal team entering the courtroom: