Chad Daybell: What’s happening and when is his trial?

Posted at 12:12 PM, October 10, 2023


BOISE, Idaho (Court TV) — Lori Vallow Daybell has been busy since being convicted of killing her two youngest children and her fifth husband’s first wife. The so-called Doomsday Cult Mom continues to seek an appeal while she awaits extradition to Arizona for two separate cases; but what about her husband, Chad?

Chad Daybell, Lori Daybell combo

(L) Chad Daybell appears for a preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Monday, August 3, 2020. (R) Lori Vallow Daybell appears in court Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, in Fremont County, Idaho. (Court TV)

Chad Daybell appeared via video at a status conference on Tuesday, two months after his wife Lori Vallow Daybell received a triple life sentence for the murders of her kids, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, and Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. His last court date was vacated minutes before it began after the prosecution agreed to provide transcripts and exhibits from Lori’s six-week trial.

At the status hearing, attorneys confirmed dates for the upcoming trial and scheduled a hearing where media access to the trial will be allowed.

When is his trial, and what do we know about it?

Chad’s trial is set for Apr. 1, 2024, starting at 9 a.m. The trial will take place in Ada County, as Judge Steven Boyce granted a change of venue motion filed by Daybell’s attorney John Prior.

According to Chad’s attorney, John Prior:

  • The defense expects the trial to last 12 weeks
  • The defense plans to call seven or eight expert witnesses
  • Chad will need to listen to the entire audio of Lori’s trial
  • They are still working on DNA issues in advance of the trial

Defense attorneys and prosecutors must turn over all discovery by Feb. 1. A pre-trial conference will be held Feb. 22 in the Fremont County Courthouse, and witness and exhibit lists, along with proposed jury instructions, are due Mar. 11, according to Nate Eaton of East Idaho News.

Why are Lori and Chad being tried separately?

Judge Steven Boyce granted the defense’s motion to split up Lori and Chad’s joint trial to protect Lori’s right to a speedy

courtroom sketch, from left, depicts Madison County prosecutor Rob Wood, Lori Vallow Daybell and defense attorney Jim Archibald

This courtroom sketch, from left, depicts Madison County prosecutor Rob Wood, Lori Vallow Daybell and defense attorney Jim Archibald during opening statements of Vallow Daybell’s murder trial in Boise, Idaho, Monday, April 10, 2023. Prosecutors have charged Vallow Daybell and her husband, Chad Daybell, with multiple counts of conspiracy, murder and grand theft in connection with the deaths of Vallow Daybell’s two children: Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Both are also charged in connection with the death of Chad Daybell’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell. (Lisa C. Cheney)

trial, which she opted not to waive. Chad’s defense team asked for more time to review new DNA evidence from the prosecution. Exactly what evidence the defense was referring to is unknown. DNA evidence had been presented at Lori’s trial, including physical evidence collected at Chad Daybell’s property, where the children’s remains were recovered.
Chad’s attorney, John Prior, said the co-defendants have “mutually antagonistic defenses,” which generally means a jury would have to disbelieve one defendant to believe the other.

An analytical chemist testified about Tylee’s DNA, which was found on a shovel, pickaxe eye and pickaxe handle on Chad’s property. Latent prints and DNA were found on duct tape and a plastic bag used in JJ’s death. 

Did Chad watch Lori’s trial?

An attorney representing Chad attended each day of Lori’s trial, though Chad was never called to testify. The defense also requested copies of Lori’s trial transcripts for Chad to review ahead of his trial — a request prosecutors did not oppose.

What are all the charges Chad faces?

Chad is facing eight charges, including the murders of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan and his first wife Tammy, conspiracy to commit those murders and insurance fraud related to Tammy Daybell’s life insurance policies. Chad has pleaded not guilty and faces a potential death sentence if convicted.

Where is Chad now?

Chad is currently being held at the Fremont County Jail, 4-5 hours away from Boise. His trial will be held in the same Freemount County Courthouse where Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial took place.