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Judge delays Lori Daybell’s October trial, ruling couple will be tried together

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An Idaho judge issued a written ruling Thursday that delays Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial until January.

Lori Vallow appears in court with defense attorney Mark Means for her second bond reduction hearing at the Madison County Magistrate Court on Friday, May 1, 2020. An Idaho judge issued a written ruling Thursday, May 26, that delays Daybell’s trial until January, meaning she will be tried together wither her husband, Chad Daybell, on murder charges.

John Roark

A judge in St. Anthony, Idaho, has ruled that the jury trial for Lori Vallow Daybell will be delayed, meaning she will be tried in conjunction with her husband, Chad Daybell, both of whom face numerous murder charges.

Fremont County Judge Steven Boyce issued a written decision Thursday to approve Lori Daybell's trial delay. Her attorneys opted to not waive her right to a speedy trial, which would force the prosecution to try her case within six months of her arraignment.

Daybell was scheduled to face a jury in October, but prosecutors filed a motion earlier this month to delay her trial, which was scheduled to last 10 weeks.

During a hearing last week, prosecutors argued that the large amount of evidence and complexity of the case warranted additional time to prepare. Lori Daybell's attorneys also noted they were still trying to get caught up in the case, as her previous attorney was removed from the case in December.

Court records filed in May indicate her attorneys have also cited her "extremely complex and fragile" mental health. Daybell was restored to competency and declared fit for trial in April, and her case has been on hold since June 2021, when a judge ruled she was not competent.

Lori and Chad Daybell face numerous felonies, including murder, after the deaths of her children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16. The children's bodies were found on Chad Daybell's property in Salem, Idaho. The two are also accused of murder in connection with the 2019 death of Chad Daybell's first wife, Tammy Daybell. Both have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Boyce's written order cites the fact that both Daybells are facing potential death sentences as just one reason for Lori Daybell's trial delay. The order also notes that a prior ruling states the two must be tried together, and the October trial would go against that.

"The discovery volume is extraordinary," Boyce wrote. "(Lori Daybell's) defense team has only recently been fully assembled and has expressed concerns with the ability to be fully prepared to defend their client in October. The trial itself has been set for duration of 10 weeks — which further confirms that scope of evidence the state intends to introduce."

With Boyce's ruling, both Daybells are set to begin a jury trial at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise on Jan. 9, 2023. As of Thursday, Lori Daybell's next hearing is scheduled for a pretrial conference in November.