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Judge Delays Chad Daybell's Trial Less Than A Month After Suspending Trial Against Lori Vallow

Idaho District Judge Steven W. Boyce delayed the trial to ensure Chad Daybell had "an adequate amount of time to prepare for a capital trial."

By Jill Sederstrom
Judge Issues Not Guilty Pleas For Lori Vallow

Less than a month after Lori Vallow’s murder trial was suspended due to concerns about her competency, an Idaho judge has agreed to delay the trial for her husband, Chad Daybell.

Daybell had been scheduled to go to trial in January, but District Judge Steven W. Boyce delayed the trial Friday in an effort to ensure Daybell—who is facing murder charges in connection with a plot to kill his first wife Tammy and Vallow’s two children—receive a fair trial, according to court records obtained by Oxygen.com.

Boyce made the ruling after Daybell’s defense team filed a motion to continue the trial on Sept. 27, arguing that a “substantial amount of trial investigation and preparation and a significant amount of discovery” was still outstanding in the case.

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“The motion argues that Defendant is entitled to an adequate amount of time to prepare for a capital trial. The Court agrees,” Boyce wrote.

Daybell’s attorneys laid out a variety of reasons to delay the trial, including the need for expert witnesses, the right to effective counsel, the development of evidence and the “speculative” suggestion that another attorney may join the defense team at some point and would need to be caught up on the case, Boyce said.

Chad Daybell 2

“While the Court is left questioning how and why such issues all present at the outset of this case, are only now being asserted as a basis for continuance, the arguments as a whole leave this Court with an abiding sense that the Defense had indeed demonstrated that it is not and cannot be ready for trial in January 2023,” Boyce wrote.

The judge now plans to work with prosecutors and the defense team to reschedule the trial and issued a warning to both sides in the final lines of his decision.

“The Court expects counsel for the Parties to have a full and complete understanding of what preparations remain in rescheduling the trial, so as to avoid any further unnecessary delay in the administration of this case,” he wrote.

Daybell and Vallow are both facing murder and conspiracy to commit charges in connection with the deaths of Vallow’s two youngest children Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, whose bodies were found buried on Daybell’s property in June of 2020.

The couple is also facing charges connected to the death of Daybell’s first wife, Tammy, who died in October of 2019. Vallow and Daybell got married in Hawaii just two weeks later. They've pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.

Vallow is also facing charges of conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona for the death of her fourth husband Charles Vallow. Charles died in July of 2019 after her brother Alex Cox told police he had shot him in self-defense.

Cox died in late 2019 as a result of what authorities have determined was natural causes.

Boyce ruled to suspend the trial against Vallow earlier this month until her “competency to stand trial can be determined,” according to a court order previously obtained by Oxygen.com.

Vallow’s competency has been an ongoing issue in the case. A clinical psychologist determined in May of 2021 that Vallow was incompetent to stand trial and sent her to a mental health facility to receive treatment; however, her competency had been restored in April of this year, according to previous court documents obtained by Oxygen.com. It has now been drawn into question once again.

Although Vallow and Daybell were initially going to be tried together, his attorneys have asked the judge to separate the two cases.