Will Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow be tried together?
As the trial of Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow inches closer, some changes may take place in proceedings. This week, special prosecutor Rob Wood motioned to try Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow jointly. A hearing was scheduled to review the motion.
Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow are charged with multiple counts of concealing & destroying evidence. The evidence pertains to Vallow’s missing children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, who were 17 and 7 when they went missing. Vallow pulled JJ out of school right before his disappearance and Tylee was last seen at Yellowstone National Park.
After the remains of Tylee & JJ were discovered on Chad Daybell’s property in June, Idaho heaped a ton of charges on him & Lori Vallow for evidence tampering. Each charge they face comes with a maximum of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
According to the U.S. Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the court can ask that two cases be “tried jointly,” or together if the indictment or information is the same (standard 13-2.2 per the American Bar Association). The purpose is to expedite the trial, as the right to a speedy trial is guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution.
This way, accused criminals like Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow shouldn’t have to wait forever for their legal matter to be resolved. However, there are some flaws with a joint trial. Namely, a legal paper by Robert O. Dawson points out that joint trials can lead to jury confusion & guilt by association.
Special prosecutor Rob Wood’s request holds up with the similar indictment rule above. “Based on the fact the charges against the Defendant and the Co-defendant allege they participated in the same act or series of acts and conspired to commit the alleged acts or series of acts,” he writes as the reason for the request.
Are the charges really that similar?
Right now, Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow are both charged with Conspiracy to Commit Destruction and Alteration or Concealment of Evidence. This is for concealing the remains of Vallow’s children Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, who were 17 and 7 at the time they disappeared.
Chad Daybell has two additional charges relating to their deaths. The charges also relate to concealing, altering & destroying evidence. The charges are still similar enough to warrant a joint trial. Wood elaborated that “Chad Daybell’s further charges … are the resulting and completed crimes of their conspiracy” in his motion.
So far, neither Chad Daybell nor Lori Vallow are charged for murdering Tylee Ryan or JJ. Authorities confirmed on August 13 that the remains found on Daybell’s property belonged to Vallow’s missing children. They were found on June 11.
Evidence to charge Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow with murder?
According to the Post Register, an anthropologist was on site when police unearthed Tyle & JJ’s bodies. They identified them based on dental records. According to court documents Post Register found, the remains were dated to a week after Lori Vallow’s children’s disappearance, months before the remains were found.
So far, no hard evidence surfaced that Chad Daybell or Lori Vallow murdered JJ and Tylee, only that they concealed the bodies from authorities. Extensive pathology was ordered by the State of Idaho to discover what happened to the children, but the analysis can take several weeks, even months.
During Chad Daybell’s preliminary hearing, detective Ray Hermosillo testified on the state of Tylee & JJ’s bodies during the medical examination. Tylee’s remains appeared to have been burned. JJ was found bound & gagged with duct tape, stuffed in a black garbage bag.
Despite the lack of hard evidence, Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow remain the likeliest suspects in the murder of Tylee & JJ. The circumstances around their death, plus their mother’s behavior, were incredibly suspicious since Tylee & JJ disappeared.
Lori Vallow continuously lied to authorities about the whereabouts of her children. She even told a friend to lie for her. Meanwhile, as authorities searched for her missing children, she & Chad Daybell moved to Hawaii and told their new neighbors that they had no children.
Chad Daybell is also a doomsday prophet who has ties to militant, anti-government groups who think the apocalypse is about to begin. According to friends of Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow, Daybell believed that JJ was possessed by a demon and needed to be exorcized.
What to expect
Given how the case fits the standards for a joint trial, we expect Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow to be tried together. Wood further argues that a joint trial would relieve witnesses from the burden of having to testify twice.
If found guilty, Daybell & Vallow could serve sentences for their current charges concurrently for only five years, or consecutively, one after the other, lengthening their prison terms to over twenty to thirty years each.
Chad Daybell & Lori Vallow are also under investigation for Tammy Daybell’s disappearance. She was Chad Daybell’s first wife who apparently died in her sleep in October 2019, right before Vallow & Daybell got married.