Chad Daybell's Attorney Objects to Joining His Case With Wife Lori's Due to 'Overwhelming' Media Coverage
Chad Daybell faces four felony charges related to the disappearance and deaths of his wife's two children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
Chad Daybell's attorney has objected to an Idaho prosecutor's request to try the end-times author's case with that of his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, citing the "overwhelming" amount of media coverage the case has received.
John Prior argued in a motion filed Wednesday that combining Chad's case with Lori's "combines the coverage of both [Chad's] local media as well as national media." There has been an enormous amount of public interest in the case since Idaho police and the FBI first asked for help in finding Lori's children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, in December.
Investigators now believe that JJ and Tylee were killed shortly after they were last seen in Rexburg, Idaho in September, and buried on Chad's land. Their remains were uncovered on June 9 and Chad was taken into custody.
Chad is now set to go on trial in Fremont County in January after pleading not guilty to felony charges of willfully destroying, concealing or altering evidence and conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence of JJ and Tylee's remains. He has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Last week, Prior also filed a motion for change of venue, arguing that a "fair and impartial jury trial cannot be had in Fremont County" for Chad. The Latter-day Saint author and publisher moved to Fremont County in 2015 from Utah after writing on his website that "the Spirit" told him to.
Lori pleaded not guilty during her arraignment on felony charges of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence in Fremont County on Thursday. She is set to go on trial in April and has denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Lori's attorney, Mark Means, recently filed a document asking for more time to file a motion to transfer her trial, signaling he may also seek a change of venue for Lori.
In the motion he filed asking to join their cases, Fremont County Special Prosecutor Rob Wood wrote that "due to the nature of the conspiracy charges alleged against the Daybells, the State's evidence in both cases is nearly identical and the trial for each case will be nearly identical."
"The evidence presented at Chad Daybell's preliminary hearing, which will be expanded on at trial, established that the Daybells acted in concert to mislead law enforcement and others in regards to the location of the deceased children's bodies. Judicial economy would require that the State not be required to try essentially identical cases of a husband and wife acting as co-conspirators twice," Wood added in the memorandum, which was filed on Sept. 1.
Wood also argued that "due to the sensitive nature of this case, the family members of the deceased victims should not be required to endure multiple repetitive trials and hearings when the case can and should be consolidated."
Chad and Lori remain in jail in Idaho, where they are both being held on $1 million bond.
Separately, Chad and Lori are currently under investigation by the Idaho Attorney General's office for "conspiracy, attempted murder and/or murder" in the death of Chad's first wife, Tammy, who died weeks before the couple married last fall.
Lori also remains a person of interest in the July 2019 shooting death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, and could be charged with conspiracy to commit murder, according to the Chandler Police Department in Arizona.
Neither Prior nor Means have responded to Inside Edition Digital's requests for comment.
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding the case to contact them at 1-208-359-3000.
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