FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho — In a recent court filing, the defense for Lori Vallow Daybell indicates she does not object to standing trial with her husband, Chad Daybell, in January 2023 rather than October of this year, even though she is asserting her right to a speedy trial, a right Chad Daybell has waived.
The couple is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the deaths of Lori's children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan, who disappeared in September 2019 when the family was living in the Rexburg area. The children's remains were found in June 2020 on Chad's property.
While Lori's and Chad's cases are set to be tried together -- as one case -- their trial dates currently differ. Chad's trial is currently set to begin January 9, 2023, while Lori's is on the calendar for October 11, 2022, in Ada County under a change-of-venue order.
Chad has waived his right to a speedy trial, while Lori has not. She was arraigned in district court on April 19, 2022, where a not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf.. Under Idaho law, a trial must begin within six months of district court arraignment unless the defendant waives their constitutional right to a speedy trial. The court may make an exception to the six-month time frame if "good cause to the contrary is shown." Prosecutors on May 2 filed a motion asking the court to find good cause to continue Lori's trial and move it to the January date.
In a response filed Thursday, Lori's defense said "she has instructed her attorneys not to file a request for a separate trial." The response later states "she understands her right to a speedy trial, and does not want to waive that right. If the Court moves her trial from October 11, 2022, to January 9, 2023, she understands that will give her defense team more time to get ready."
The response also states that Lori "understands that her defense team is in the process of identifying and interviewing witnesses for the trial and for the potential sentencing if there is a conviction."
A hearing on the motion to move Lori's trial date is set for Thursday, May 19, in Fremont County.
Lori was arrested on February 20, 2020, on charges related to the disappearance of her children, which were dropped after a grand jury in May 2021 returned an indictment charging her and her husband with the murders of the children and Chad's late wife, Tammy Daybell. The prosecution of Lori's case was put on hold after she was found mentally unfit for trial and transferred to a state mental health facility for treatment. The court in April 2022 determined Lori was mentally fit for trial, and had her transferred back to jail in eastern Idaho just ahead of her district court arraignment.
In Thursday's response to the state's motion to continue, Lori's defense states that she will undergo further mental health testing and meet in June with a neuropsychologist approved for the defense team, as Lori's mental health is "extremely complex and fragile," and "has the potential to be hospitalized again in the near future."
If convicted, Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell both face a possible death sentence.
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