LIVE UPDATES | Son-in-law, pathologist, neighbor testify in Chad Daybell murder trial - East Idaho News

LIVE UPDATES | Son-in-law, pathologist, neighbor testify in Chad Daybell murder trial

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Please excuse the typos. These are live updates from the courtroom.

1:04 p.m. Prior says because of travel, some of his expert witnesses will not be available until tomorrow morning. Court is in recess until 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. Please join me tonight on ‘Courtroom Insider’ at 6:30 p.m. MDT.

1:03 p.m. Schmitt was told to walk around the property and look for soft spots or areas that looked different, he says. Wood has nothing further and neither does Prior.

1:01 p.m. Schmitt is shown the transcript. Wood asks what he was asked about in relation to boundaries. Schmitt says that was in relation to the grid search. Schmitt was assigned to search the fire pit and pet cemetery. Wood asks if there were any boundaries in the area – Schmitt says there were no specific boundaries. Wood asks Schmitt to clarify about being handed a shovel and walking around. Wood asks Schmitt the first thing he did when he arrived at Daybell’s. He doesn’t remember the first thing. He was instructed to carry a shovel and walk around.

12:59 p.m. Boyce says the term “evidentiary hearing” was used in a question by Wood. Boyce tells the jurors to dismiss that and simply go with “hearing.” Wood begins questioning. He asks Schmitt about the “boundary” question he received and if he recalls what that was about. Schmitt doesn’t remember. Wood provides a transcript to refresh his memory.

12:56 p.m. Prior says when he was given a shovel to go out and look, he responded, “Yes, pretty much.” Prior has nothing further. Rob Wood will now cross-examine. Prior asks for a sidebar.

12:54 p.m. Prior asks about Schmitt participating in shovel work at the Daybell property on June 9, 2020. Prior asks about Schmitt’s testimony from Vallow’s trial and he said there weren’t any boundaries. Prior wants to help refresh Schmitt’s memory by showing him a transcript of his testimony from Vallow’s trial.

12:50 p.m. Boyce says the jurors need to leave briefly while an issue is discussed. The jurors have left the room. Boyce says Schmitt may have inadvertently some trial testimony of a previous witness. Schmitt returned home from work and his wife was listening to a device. The clip was when Ron Arnold responded to John Prior – “I don’t know, you own the property.” All parties agree that this doesn’t create a major issue and Schmitt can testify.

12:48 p.m. Next witness is retired Rexburg Police Detective Rick Schmitt. He takes the stand and Boyce asks for a brief sidebar.

12:46 p.m. Prior has nothing further. Batey will now cross-examine Kararic. Batey asks if Gibb told him that she created the light/dark scale. Kararic says Gibb did not. Gibb told Kararic that Chad would tell Lori about the ideas and Lori would convey them to Gibb. There are no further questions from either side.

12:44 p.m. Kararic didn’t really understand Gibb’s beliefs so he was learning a lot. Kararic said Gibb told him she heard from Chad and Lori some of the things she was mentioning. After the interview, Gibb continued to talk without the tape recording. “After the interview was done, I believe she mentioned that I was nice and a good person. I asked a question of where she believes on the scale where she would rate me. She said I was on the light side – I was so light that I was given a light aura.”

12:42 p.m. Prior asks Kararic to share some of what Melanie Gibb told him. Kararic says Gibb spoke about a light and dark scale and she was able to determine whether a person was light or dark. Gibb spoke about castings and vibrations. This interview took place on Aug. 5, 2020.

12:41 p.m. Kararic spent around 3 hours 38 minutes talking with Melanie Gibb. Prior asks why the interview took so long. Kararic says he had a lot to discuss and had a lot of questions for Gibb. Prior asks Kararic if he asked anything about Gibb’s personal beliefs. Kararic says he didn’t understand a lot of what Gibb was talking about so he asked a lot of questions.

12:40 p.m. Kararic originally worked on the case after former Fremont County Prosecutor Marcia Murdoch asked the AG to take over. When Lindsey Blake was elected, she asked for the case back and the AG was no longer involved.

12:35 p.m. We’re back in the courtroom. Prosecutors and defense are at their tables and Boyce is on the bench. Jurors are in their seats. Next witness is Asmir Kararic – at investigator with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office.

11:06 a.m. In the hallway of the courthouse. Boyce says defense has two more witnesses today. If you recall, Prior said during opening statements that he planned to call the following: Chad’s children (done), Dr. Kathy Raven (done), Greg Hampikian and Patrick Eller. Hampikian is a DNA expert, Eller is a data forensics expert. Those two could be the witnesses this afternoon. Does Prior then call anyone else?

10:58 a.m. We are headed out of the courtroom until the next witness arrives. Time: TBD.

10:52 a.m. Wixom has another issue. He wants to let the court know that after Heather Daybell testified, he found a slight inaccuracy in her testimony. She was asked on the stand if she had provided information to Det. Hope and she said no. Wixom found her name in a police report later. Wixom believes this is fairly inconsequential and informed the defense. Prior agrees this is a non-issue. Boyce says he could bring Heather back to testify but Prior says this is a non-issue and appreciates Wixom’s candor – “even if it was in the middle of the night when he let me know.” Boyce is not concerned about the issue.

10:51 a.m. Jurors have left the room. He says the exhibits need to be properly identified and marked before being submitted to the jurors. He says that will take some time with the clerks and court to work through the list.

10:49 a.m. Boyce says the defense has two more witnesses scheduled to appear today but they are not here. Boyce says there are some matters that can be taken up outside the presence of the jury. Once the witness shows up, the jury will be back.

10:47 a.m. Prior asks for quick sidebar.

10:46 a.m. Prior asks a question, Batey objects, judge sustains and Prior has nothing further.

10:45 a.m. Batey asks Reegan if she ever accepted payment from law enforcement. “Never,” she replies. Batey has nothing further. Prior has re-direct.

10:44 a.m. Special Prosecutor Ingrid Batey is cross-examining Reegen. She asks about Reegen hearing a gunshot. Reegen doesn’t remember the date or timeframe of when she heard the shot – just that it was before Sept. 9. Reegen says it’s common for people to have guns out in the country.

10:42 a.m. Prior asks Reegen about her willingness to wear a wire or work through Joseph Murray to try and find the kids. Prior asks Reegan if she engaged in any discussion with police for payment in regarding the Daybell case. Reegan says Officer K comically said that – not as in taking government funds. Prior has nothing further.

10:39 a.m. Prior plays a recording of Reegen talking to law enforcement on June 9, 2020. You hear her saying she heard a gunshot and there was discussion about raccoons. Reegen says she and her husband discussed strange events that happened with the Daybells over the past year. She said they created a timeline to figure things out.

10:33 a.m. Prior goes to play his exhibit but there appears to be technical difficulties.

10:32 a.m. Prior asks about Reegen reportedly hearing gunshots on Sept. 9. She says she isn’t sure of the date. She contacted law enforcement about a few things that were unusual. She has talked to law enforcement a few times.

10:28 a.m. Prior calls the next witness: Reegen Price. She takes the stand and Prior says he plans to admit an exhibit. Reegan was a neighbor of Chad Daybell’s.

10:22 a.m. We are back in court. One thing I wanted to point out (that many of you caught). Prior asked Raven this question – notice he used the word “murder” : Is that an example of confirmation bias when you take into account all of these other reports documents statements of people who are not present at the murder?

9:59 a.m. Prior asks if ruling that a plastic bag over a head or pillow on face without any evidence would just be a hunch. Raven says yes. Prior has nothing further. Morning break. Back in 20-30 minutes.

9:57 a.m. Prior takes the podium and asks about the witnesses, documents, etc. that Blake referenced. He asks if taking into account all the other documents is an example of confirmation bias. Raven says she has never looked at such an exhaustive list when determining cause of death – she bases her findings off of scientific evidence.

9:55 a.m. Raven says you could suffocate someone by putting an object over their mouth. You could also put a plastic bag over their head. Blake has no further questions.

9:53 a.m. Raven says there was no structural damage to Tammy’s health. Blake asks about the bruises and putting pressure on someone’s chest. Raven says to die from someone sitting on the chest, you would likely need at least 450 lbs. of pressure. Blake asks about other ways someone could die from asphyxia. She lists drowning, suffocation, pressure on chest, chemicals, etc.

9:51 a.m. Blake finishes the list. She asks if all of those documents were provided to Raven. Raven says no. Blake asks about Tammy’s medical records. Raven says she did not review them. Blake asks if Raven reviewed medical records referencing shaking fits or seizure activities. Raven did not. Blake asked where that information came from. Raven says that came from the coroner’s report. Blake says that information came from Chad Daybell, correct? Raven says you would have to ask her.

9:50 a.m. Blake continues to list reports that Raven did not review. Again – all of these reports were reviewed by the Medical Examiner in Utah who determined Tammy Daybell’s cause of death.

9:48 a.m. Raven did not review the lollycloud account, the FBI analyst report, the Seasons medical records or Teton medical records. Blake continues to list other reports that Raven did not review. Prior objects. Blake responds and says she is reading a list of everything reviewed by the Utah Medical Examiners. Judge allows Blake to continue. She continues to list all the reports to Medical Examiner reviewed.

9:46 a.m. Raven has reviewed a few over things over the years. Defense provided her with everything. Blake asks if Raven reviewed a report from Lt. Powell requesting Walmart records. Raven says that does not sound familiar. Blake asks if she reviewed an interview with Paul or Emily Daybell. Raven doesn’t recall. Blake asks Raven if she reviewed more reports from others and Raven does not recall.

9:43 a.m. Blake asks about Raven reviewing Tammy’s autopsy report and other pertinent information. She asks Raven to list what she has reviewed: autopsy report by Dr. Lily Marsdsen, autopsy photos, toxicology reports, brief investigative report from medical examiner, typed coroner report, Fremont County Coroner informal record of death, report from Det. Greenhalgh, scene photos, report from Det. Mattingly, Fremont County incident report, Tammy’s death certificate and transcript of Dr. Christensen’s testimony.

9:41 a.m. Blake asks Raven if she is a medical examiner. She says she has in the past but is currently an independent contractor. Blake asks Raven if she has investigators who work with her. She is in a coroner office system. Blake asks who determines whether an autopsy should be conducted. Raven says it depends – could be a coroner or a pathologist.

9:40 a.m. Prior has nothing further. Lindsey Blake will conduct cross examination.

9:37 a.m. Prior asks about what could have led to Tammy’s death. Raven says seizure, arrhythmia, other things could have contributed. She says no conclusive or scientific evidence shows how Tammy died.

9:35 a.m. Prior asks about seizures. Raven says there are different types of seizures – large, shaking and convulsive. With smaller seizures, people might stare into space, make repetitive motions, etc. Prior asks about arrhythmia – an electrical disturbance in the heart. Raven says you may not see anything at time of autopsy if someone dies from arrhythmia.

9:32 a.m. Prior asks if there was damage to the neck or throat. Raven says no. Prior asks about the difference between her report and Christensen’s report where he said asphyxia was manner of death. She says there is nothing that points to asphyxia and she believes the cause of death is undetermined.

9:31 a.m. Prior asks about someone dying from asphyxia from having someone else sit on their chest. Raven says it would be extraordinary difficult for a healthy person to die from having someone sit on their chest.

9:29 a.m. Raven determined that the cause of death should have been undetermined because there was nothing anatomically wrong. Prior asks about the bruises on Tammy’s arm possibly contributing to asphyxia. She says the bruises were nonspecific.

9:27 a.m. Prior asks about the autopsy being done in December 2019. The signing of the report was two years later. Prior asks why there was such a gap between when the autopsy was done and when the findings were signed. Raven says sometimes the toxicology testing can take a few months. That’s the only thing she can think of that could have caused the delay.

9:24 a.m. Raven says there was no anatomical cause of the death for Tammy – meaning all her organs appeared fine. The toxicology report was extensive and nothing they tested for was positive, so it’s unlikely Tammy was poisoned.

9:23 a.m. Christensen says she paid close attention to Tammy’s autopsy report. She says it was a thorough autopsy and there was nonspecific bruising on Tammy’s body. Prior asks what could have caused the bruises in the arms. Raven says it’s unknown.

9:21 a.m. Prior asks Christensen about her conclusion in this case regarding the autopsy. She explains there are usually five manners of death: homicide, accident, suicide, undetermined or natural.

9:20 a.m. Raven reviewed Dr. Christensen’s autopsy report from Utah, photos, law enforcement investigation reports and more. She also reviewed Christensen’s testimony.

9:19 a.m. Prior retained Raven to review the autopsy report and other materials in the Daybell case. Prior has her report and asks her to review it.

9:16 a.m. Prior asks Raven about her background. She explains her education and training. She has testified in over 300 cases.

9:14 a.m. Raven is a medical doctor. She went to medical school and then became a forensic pathologist. She practices primarily in California.

9:13 a.m. Next witness is Dr. Kathy Raven. She is board certified in anatomic, clinical, and forensic pathology and has worked in the area of forensic pathology for over 25 years.

9:09 a.m. Blake asks for a sidebar before the next witness is brought in.

9:08 a.m. Prior back up at the podium and shows the bank record. The fourth entry shows $8,000 also went to Seth Daybell. Prior asks if any other of Chad’s kids got money. Joseph says he believes they all got $8,000. Prior has nothing further.

9:06 a.m. Wixom says wouldn’t it be possible that a detective might continue to drive by after two bodies were found buried on a property. Joseph says he didn’t think it was necessary. Joseph says he would rather be anything other than in law enforcement. Wixom has nothing further.

9:03 a.m. Wixom asks about the long driveway Joseph was questioned on yesterday. Wixom follows up about Joseph testifying that Det. Hermosillo often drove by the property. Wixom asks if it would be unusual that detectives would drive by the property if they assumed bodies were buried there. Joseph says that would not be unusual but Hermosillo continued to drive by after the bodies were found.

9:01 a.m. Wixom asks Joseph if he has ever met Lori Vallow. He says yes. They met the day after Tammy’s funeral at Chad’s house. Jospeh has never met Alex Cox and never saw Alex on Chad’s property.

8:58 a.m. Wixom shows an exhibit on the screen. It’s a bank account record. It shows that on June 9, 2020, there was an $8,000 deposit into Joseph’s checking account. Wixom asks who made the deposit. Joseph says he isn’t sure. Wixom asks if it came from Chad. Joseph says yes – it was from Chad. Wixom emphasizes that in Dec. 2019, Chad gave Joseph his truck and then on June 9, transferred $8,000 into his account and then he had them move into his house. Chad also gave Emma $9,000 in cash that same day.

8:55 a.m. Joseph says after he gave his information to Cannon, he had no further conversations with Cannon. Wixom asks Joseph about him needing to borrow Tammy’s truck to help a friend on Oct. 18. Joseph says it was his in-laws truck. Joseph went to Tammy to get the keys – Tammy had the truck at the school where she was working. Joseph got the keys and when he was done with the truck, he returned them. Chad Daybell gave Joseph the truck in Dec. 2019.

8:54 a.m. Joseph says he believes Det. Cannon was intentionally inaccurate in his report when Cannon wrote that Joseph heard Tammy scream. Joseph says he was very clear in what he explained to him.

8:51 a.m. Wixom asks about Joseph testifying during the grand jury and yesterday that he has no personal knowledge about the shooting and how it went down. Joseph says that’s correct. Wixom asks about Joseph calling 911. Wixom asks about meeting with Dep. Cannon and the fact Jospeh denied he ever heard Tammy scream. Joseph says that is correct.

8:49 a.m. Wixom asks if Joseph has had many conversations with his siblings about the case. Joseph says they have talked but not “many” conversations. Wixom asks about the attempted shooting of Tammy and Joseph confirms he did not see the shooting. Joseph learned about it from a Facebook post that Tammy put up.

8:48 a.m. Wixom begins by asking about the loss of Tammy being a traumatic experience for Joseph’s wife and siblings. Joseph agrees that finding the bodies of JJ and Tylee have been traumatic. Joseph says he and his wife have had many conversations over the past few years about the case.

8:46 a.m. Rocky Wixom, Fremont County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, will conduct cross examination on Joseph. Wixom begins by asking for an exhibit.

8:43 a.m. Boyce is on the bench. Joseph Murray walks in and takes the stand. The jurors were just escorted in and are seated.

8:41 a.m. As we wait, someone’s watch made a alert noise. The bailiff reminds everyone that this is a good reminder to silence all devices. The guy admits it was him rather than trying to hide it.

8:36 a.m. The attorneys are headed back into Boyce’s chambers. Chad is wearing a tan plaid dress shirt with a red tie.

8:30 a.m. Rocky Wixom and Lindsey Blake are at the prosecutor table. Looks like Blake got a haircut after court yesterday.

8:27 a.m. Larry Woodcock and Vicki Hoban, Tammy Daybell’s aunt, are in the courtroom today. John Prior is chatting with Rob Wood and Ingrid Batey. Chad is sitting at the defense table alone.

8:21 a.m. Joseph Murray, Chad’s son-in-law, will be back on the stand first thing this morning. You can read about his testimony from yesterday here.

8:20 a.m. It’s day 27 of Chad Daybell’s murder trial. The first person in line this morning, a man from Provo, Utah, got here at 4:05 a.m. I arrived at the courthouse around 5:30 a.m. Far less people here today compared to yesterday but most of the benches will still be full.