REXBURG, Idaho — A judge has reversed course, ordering that the upcoming court hearings for Lori Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell be held in person.
Previous recent hearings for both defendants have been held over teleconferencing due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
In his order, Judge Faren Eddins wrote that because witnesses are set to testify at the couple's preliminary hearings in August, both Vallow and Daybell need to be physically present in the room with their lawyers in order to preserve their rights "to confront and cross examine witnesses in person."
Eddins noted that the courtroom is large enough to allow those present to socially distance, and that protective plexiglass has been installed along the bench and the witness stand.
The court is also limiting the amount of people who will be allowed into the courtroom. Unlike Vallow's first hearing, when dozens of members of the media and Rexburg residents packed into the gallery, the preliminary hearing will be limited to the defendants, attorneys, witnesses and court personnel, along with immediate family members of the victims and defendants.
A few members of the media will be allowed into the courtroom to shoot video and still photos, which will be shared with other outlets.
Everyone inside the courtroom is required to wear a face mask, and must stay at least six feet away from anyone who is not a member of their household.
Vallow, who is set to appear in court Aug. 10 and 11, faces two felony charges of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence, as well as misdemeanors for contempt, resisting and obstructing, and criminal solicitation to commit a crime. Daybell, her husband, will have his preliminary hearing Aug. 3 and 4 and is charged with two counts of destruction or concealment of evidence, and two counts of conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence.
The charges came after the remains of Vallow's children, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, were discovered buried in a pet cemetery on Daybell's property. The children had been missing since September.
Investigators have not yet released how either JJ or Tylee died. Daybell and Vallow are not charged with causing their deaths.
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