Prosecutors ask judge to move Chad Daybell’s trial

Posted at 8:59 AM, November 17, 2023


FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho (Court TV) — Prosecutors preparing their case against Chad Daybell have asked a judge to reconsider his decision, for a third time, to move the trial out of Fremont County.

L to R: Chad daybell, Lori Vallow Daybell

(L) Chad Daybell sits during his preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File)/ (R) Lori Vallow Daybell, center, sits between her attorneys for a hearing at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Tony Blakeslee/East Idaho News via AP, Pool, File)

Chad Daybell is charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of his first wife, Tammy, and the two youngest children of his second wife, Lori Vallow Daybell. Lori was convicted of the same charges in May and sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.

In a motion filed on Wednesday, prosecutors have renewed their request to Judge Steven Boyce to keep the entirety of Chad’s trial in Fremont County rather than move it to Ada County.

Chad is currently housed in the Fremont County Jail, but the charges he’s facing are out of Fremont County where Tammy’s death occurred and the children’s bodies were found. While all pretrial hearings have been and will continue to be held in Fremont County, the trial is scheduled to be held in Ada County.

LISTEN TO THE TRIAL: ID v. Lori Vallow Daybell (2023)

Chad and Lori were initially charged together and had filed to change the trial’s venue before their cases were severed. Acknowledging the pretrial publicity and concerns about finding an impartial jury, Boyce ordered that the trial itself be held in Ada County.

After the couple’s cases were severed, Lori went to trial in Ada County. Chad’s trial, scheduled for April 1, 2024, is slated to be in the same courthouse.

On Oct. 8, 2021, when Boyce chose Ada County, he noted he did so after “having fully considered factors including but not limited to the population base from which to draw jurors, courthouse facilities and staffing of required personnel, courtroom availability for a multi-week high-profile case, ability to house and transport in-custody defendants, control of citizen and media attendance, and jury security and accommodations during trial.”

The prosecution has opposed moving the trial and in motions filed on Sept. 29, 2021, Feb. 17, 2022, and again this week, has asked the judge to consider instead allowing Fremont County jurors to hear the case or, in the alternative, bringing in an out-of-county jury that would be sequestered for the duration of the trial.

RELATED: Chad Daybell’s defense use Lori’s trial in fight to strike the death penalty

In his last decision addressing the motion to change venue on Apr. 28, 2022, Boyce said that making any decision regarding sequestration was premature.

In their newest motion, the state references Lori’s recent trial as the reason for not moving the trial to Ada County.

“The fact the Co-Defendant’s trial was held in Ada County now creates a more difficult process of selecting a jury in that venue in relation to the Defendant’s case. The Co-Defendant’s trial did not take place in Fremont County, and the extensive media coverage associated with the Co-Defendant’s trial is not present in Fremont County. … Allowing for a second trial in Ada County is simply not a viable option in light of the volume of recent, ongoing media attention in that specific jurisdiction.”

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

If Boyce will not relocate the trial to Fremont County, prosecutors suggested Bannock County “or another location which does not have the pervasive community saturation which is present in Ada County.”

Chad’s next hearing is scheduled for November 29, when Judge Boyce will hear arguments about whether cameras will be permitted inside the courtroom for his April 1st, 2024 trial.