Chad Daybell’s attorney asks to withdraw from murder case

Posted at 7:03 PM, January 12, 2024 and last updated 9:59 PM, January 17, 2024

FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho (Court TV) — Chad Daybell will be in court on Thursday after his attorney filed a motion last Friday asking to withdraw from the case.

Chad Daybell, left, confers with defense attorney John Prior during a preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Monday, August 3, 2020.  (John Roark/Post Register via AP, Pool)

Chad is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of his first wife, Tammy, and his second wife’s two youngest children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Daybell’s second wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, was convicted on the same charges and sentenced to serve three life sentences without the possibility of parole.

In the motion, John Prior said that Chad, whom he has represented in the case since 2020, has been declared indigent by the court and can no longer afford his services. Prior was initially hired with Chad’s personal funds.

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Appointing new attorneys for the case will come with extra complexity, because prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Chad, requiring death penalty-qualified attorneys to represent him. Prior noted the difficulty and scope of the case in his motion.

“Reflecting this complexity and the work required to prepare and try this case, this Court has set aside two full months for a  trial, and the prosecution team consists of no less than five attorneys from two county offices, including an out-of-state attorney hired at taxpayer expense. Remaining on this case would require undersigned counsel to work around the clock, more than full-time, for more than four months without compensation and without the assistance of any other counsel.”

Prior said in the motion that he was filing it with his client’s full consent, and said that Chad had requested he be given two capital-qualified attorneys for the trial. In the motion, Prior said that he had attempted to find an attorney to replace him, but the lawyer he found has not yet been approved by the Public Defense Commission.

Chad’s trial is currently scheduled to begin on April 1, 2024.