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Judge suspends Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial. Here’s why

Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial was set for January 2023, but now a judge has suspended her trial. Here’s why

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Lori Vallow Daybell appears in court in Kauai, Hawaii.

Lori Vallow appears in court in Kauai, Hawaii, on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020.

Pool photo, Associated Press

On Thursday afternoon, Judge Steven Boyce suspended Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial until her competency can be established. According to East Idaho News, Boyce wrote in his decision, “As a result of a need to determine Mrs. Daybell’s competency … the court sees no other alternative at this time than to vacate the January 9, 2023 trial.”

J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan, Vallow Daybell’s children, went missing in September 2019. Their bodies were later found on June 9, 2020, in the yard of Vallow’s husband, Chad Daybell.

Vallow Daybell and Daybell were investigated for the children’s deaths, along with the deaths of their former spouses, and were charged with several crimes. Their joint trial was scheduled for January 2023 in Ada County, Idaho. 

Now it’s unclear whether they will be tried together and when they will be tried.

Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial suspended

Vallow Daybell’s current competency to stand trial is unknown, but this is not the first time that her competency has come up during the case.

After Vallow Daybell was charged with murder, she underwent psychiatric evaluation in March 2021. CBS News reported that she was deemed incompetent to stand trial. She underwent restorative treatment and later in April 2022, East Idaho News reported that she was ruled competent.

Shortly after her competency was ruled restored, a judge ruled that she and Chad Daybell were to be tried jointly and not separately. East Idaho News reported that Vallow Daybel’s defense team filed a motion to pause proceedings and postpone her trial. Vallow Daybell’s competency now has to be determined again before the trial will proceed.

J.J. Vallow’s grandmother responded to the postponement of the trial and said to East Idaho News, “She’s doing what she does best — playing games and manipulating this situation to suit HER. HER wants. HER needs. It is a stall tactic! I’m angry and disappointed beyond belief.”

Will Chad Daybell still be tried in January 2023?

While Daybell and Vallow Daybell were slated to stand trial together in January 2023, Daybell’s attorney filed a motion last month that might change that.

In this motion published by Idaho 6 News, Chad Daybell’s attorney John Prior refers to Lori Vallow as “Lori Vallow”— not “Lori Vallow Daybell.”

According to Fox 13 News, Daybell’s attorney filed a motion asking the judge to sever Daybell’s trial from Vallow Daybell’s trial and to postpone his trial as well. KTVB 7 also reported that Daybell’s attorney filed a motion to re-allow cameras and live-streaming in the courtroom. The attorney’s motion follows a judge ruling to ban live-streaming the case.

Boyce hasn’t responded to Daybell’s motions as of Friday.