Both are facing a potential death penalty if convicted. The pair are charged with murder, conspiracy and grand theft in connection with the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan. Chad is also charged with murder of his former wife Tammy Daybell.
Prosecutors announced their intent to seek capital punishment in Chad Daybell’s case last August, but Lori Vallow-Daybell's case was on hold at the time because she was undergoing treatment at a mental health facility.
Idaho law enforcement began investigating the Daybells in November 2019 after extended family members reported the children were missing. The children were missing for several months, during which time police said the couple lied about the children's whereabouts, before their bodies were found buried on Chad Daybell's property in rural Idaho.
Chad and Lori Daybell married just two weeks after his previous wife, Tammy Daybell, died unexpectedly. Tammy Daybell's death was initially reported as “natural causes,” but investigators had her body exhumed after growing suspicious when Chad Daybell quickly remarried.
Lori Vallow-Daybell is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona in connection with the death of her previous husband. Charles Vallow was shot and killed by Lori Daybell's brother, Alex Cox, who claimed it was self-defense. Cox later died of what police said was natural causes.
Chad Daybell has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and a judge entered a “not guilty” plea on Lori Vallow-Daybell's behalf after she stood silent when asked for a plea earlier this year.
Idaho law allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty if they can show certain “aggravating factors” for crimes like murder or conspiracy to commit murder.
Fremont County, Idaho -- Judge Steven Boyce issued a ruling Friday banning all still and video photography from the courtroom in the Lori Vallow-Daybell and Chad Daybell cases.
"The Court is very concerned that continued visual coverage of this case will impede the ability of the parties to select fair and unbiased jurors," the judge said.
He said there is no indication any orders relating to the media's conduct during hearings in either Vallow-Daybell's or Daybell's cases have been violated. He also said he witnessed no misconduct from the media in the cases.
"The presence of the media during the hearings has in no way interrupted those proceedings, and attending media have been respectful and professional," he said.
However, the judge said the concerns raised by both defense and prosecutions are well founded.
"Upon full consideration of the arguments of the State and Defense, notably concurring with each other, the Court is persuaded that further visual coverage of this case will run afoul of the Court's considerations as set for plainly in I.C.A.R. 45," he said. "The Court determines herein that continued visual coverage of this case poses a great risk to the fair administration of justice in this case, and Defendant Chad Daybell's companion case, which cases are joined for trial. Therefore, continued visual coverage will no longer be permitted."
This ban applies to all future hearings and the trial.
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