BOISE, Idaho — Lori Vallow, the woman charged with murdering her two children and her husband's ex-wife, appeared in Ada County Court Wednesday where her defense argued to exclude most family members from watching portions of her trial on April 3.
Judge Steven Boyce issued an order to exclude witnesses from sitting in on others' testimony in order to prevent issues down the road of potential testimony changes.
Victims are allowed to be present during a trial, but victims who are also testifying witnesses can complicate exclusionary orders. Victims who are witnesses can submit a petition to the court to be excluded from the order, but Boyce said they haven't sent the petitions out yet.
Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell are both charged with murder and conspiracy in the killings of Vallow's two children, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, along with Daybell's ex-wife, Tammy Daybell, in Fremont County. Lori Vallow's trial was later moved to Ada County.
Larry and Kay Woodcock, the grandparents of JJ Vallow, are expected to sit in on the trial -- but, because Kay Woodcock could be called to testify, the defense wants her excluded for portions of the trial.
The defense also said because the judge dropped the death penalty, they likely won't be calling many witnesses.
Jim Archibald, Lori Vallow's attorney, told the judge Kay Woodcock isn't a victim in this case because she "isn't a grandma." The defense said Colby Ryan, Lori Vallow's other child, is the only one who meets the legal definition of a victim.
Idaho Code does say immediate family members are considered victims of homicides, but the defense doesn't believe the Woodcocks exactly fall into that definition.
"Colby Ryan is the only one who qualifies under the statute to remain in the courtroom as a victim, but we do not believe the Woodcocks meet that definition. If they're intending to be called as witnesses, we ask they be excluded," Archibald said. "(Grandma) is a name she gave herself. Her son terminated parental rights, she's not a grandma."
State prosecutors fought back in defense of JJ's grandparents.
"To tell a grandparent they're not allowed to watch the trial of the murder of their grandson... I think we are running outside of what's intended by this statute and the Constitution," the state said. “Larry and Kay woodcock meet the definition of what a victim is."
Boyce will issue a ruling at a later date, he said. All briefings submitted by the state or defense must be sent in no later than Friday at 5 p.m.
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