Chad Daybell wants his trial split from Lori Vallow Daybell’s, requests trial date ‘no earlier than’ Oct. 2023

Posted at 10:37 PM, October 4, 2022 and last updated 8:59 PM, May 11, 2023

By Meredith Spelbring

BOISE, Idaho (KIVI) — Chad Daybell’s attorney filed motions in court to sever his trial from Lori Vallow Daybell’s’s and to postpone his trial significantly later than the currently scheduled January 2023 date.

Defense Attorney John Prior filed two motions — one motion to sever Daybell’s trial from Vallow’s and one motion to move the start of his trial “several months later than January 2023,” and no earlier than October 2023, according to court documents.


Daybell and Vallow are currently set to be tried together beginning January 2023 in Ada County. Daybell’s team previously filed to sever the trial into two but the request was denied in March 2022. Prior states in the court filings that the request now comes from a “change in circumstance over the ten months since he last moved to sever” and what Prior said was an application of an “improper legal standard.”

Lori Vallow Daybell (left) is shown in a March 6, 2020, file photo. Her husband, Chad Daybell, right, listens during his preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Monday, August 3, 2020. The couple are charged with concealing evidence by destroying or hiding the bodies of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan at his eastern Idaho home. (John Roark/Post Register via AP, Pool)

Prior argued a joint trial would compromise Daybell’s “rights to present a complete defense, to fair and reliable merits phase determination, to an individualized sentencing determination, to confrontation of witnesses, and to due process pursuant to the state and federal constitutions,” the document reads.

In the request, Prior also notes a “heightened reliability required” in death penalty cases. Prosecutors announced their intent to seek the death penalty for both Vallow and Daybell in May 2022.

Chad and Lori Daybell are charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — two of Lori’s kids — and Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell.

The prosecutors cited the following reasons why Lori and Chad Daybell are eligible for the death penalty:

  • The alleged murders were “committed for remuneration” (financial gain).
  • The alleged murders were “especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or manifesting exceptional depravity.”
  • The defendant exhibited “an utter disregard for human life.”
  • The defendant has exhibited “a propensity to commit murder and will probably constitute a continuing threat to society.”

In the request to reschedule the start of Daybell’s trial, Prior wrote Daybell has the right to a “meaningful opportunity to present a complete defense” and his team will have additional professional and ethical obligations as it is a death penalty case.

This story was originally published Sept. 29, 2022 by KIVI in Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.