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Week one of jury selection in the Chad Daybell murder trial is in the books

Senior Reporter Don Nelson reports from the Ada County courthouse
Posted at 3:22 PM, Apr 03, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — Week one of jury selection in the case of the State of Idaho vs. Chad Daybell is in the books. The final prospective jury members are scheduled to be picked on Monday.

  • Jury selection exceeds their goal of 50-plus prospective jury members, totaling 57.
  • Thoughts on the death penalty and media coverage wrapped questioning.
  • The next round of selection moving towards the final 18 starts Monday morning.

RECAP: Chad Daybell Jury Selection Day 5


(Below is a transcript from the broadcast story)

Here’s what learned on day five of jury selection in the Chad Daybell murder trial.
Judge Steven Boyce set up the next round by saying, “we have secured enough jurors for the exercise and plan on that occurring Monday morning.”

But before we got here, the final group of prospective jurors were brought in for questioning. Interesting because as I reported on Thursday, we had already reached the required 50 jurors to move on to the next round. I called former Idaho Attorney General David Leroy and asked him why was that necessary and Mr. Leroy said in his opinion Judge Boyce just wanted a little buffer or padding of juror members for the next phase of actually picking the final 18.

During the one-on-one questioning of the prospective jury members, Judge Boyce, the prosecution, and the defense focused on two things. They wanted to know their thoughts on the death penalty and how much media coverage they were exposed to prior to jury duty.

Fremont County prosecutor Lindsey Blake. “ Is there any scenario after any amount of evidence you hear in this case where you would vote to take anyone's life via the death penalty? ”

 Defense Attorney John Prior questioned members about their exposure to media coverage. “We cannot prejudge him until we hear all of the evidence. Can you all commit to me that you will not make a decision in this case until you hear all of the evidence? ”

 I will be here first thing Monday morning when both the prosecution and defense will be handed a list of the 50-plus jurors and then one by one take turns crossing off jury numbers they do not want to serve on the jury. They eventually will agree on the final 18. 12 juror members and 6 alternates. The trial can then proceed with opening statements.

Day three of jury selection in the case of the State of Idaho vs. Chad Daybell , puts us one day closer to sitting a jury and one day closer to opening statements.
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SOT: Judge Boyce

“Chad Daybell has been charged with certain counts of entering into a conspiracy with Lori Vallow and Alex Cox.”

Wednesday saw a group of 17 escorted into the courtroom , one more than the designated groups of 16 because the person who missed their slot on Tuesday was present today. Six members declared hardship and were excused leaving the remaining eleven members to answer questions as a group. Fremont County prosecutor Lindsey Blake again focused on honesty.

Sot: Fremont County prosecutor

49:47-50:00

“We want you to be brutally honest both today and if you’re selected as a juror and start deliberating with each other and we want to be sure you are brutally honest.”

Both the prosecution and defense used analogies about personal experiences with being honesty and asked whether or not anyone has been 100 percent honest in the lives. No one raised their number. Defense Attorney John Prior talked about bias.

SOT: John Prior

“We can’t judge someone just because they have unusual beliefs that we may not believe in and we can’t judge someone whether they believe in something you may not think is normal with various topics.”
 
Prior also reminded the prospective jurors, they will see graphic photos and warning them that it will break your heart. Prior then asked if the photos would sway their feelings about Daybell. They all responded that it would not.

According to Judge Boyce the selection process is on schedule and we are now halfway to the required number of 50. The Prosecution and Defense will then choose the final 18 from that group of 50. The jury will be seated and opening statements can begin.

Day three of jury selection in the case of the State of Idaho vs. Chad Daybell , puts us one day closer to sitting a jury and one day closer to opening statements.

 

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SOT: Judge Boyce

“Chad Daybell has been charged with certain counts of entering into a conspiracy with Lori Vallow and Alex Cox.”

 

Wednesday saw a group of 17 escorted into the courtroom , one more than the designated groups of 16 because the person who missed their slot on Tuesday was present today. Six members declared hardship and were excused leaving the remaining eleven members to answer questions as a group. Fremont County prosecutor Lindsey Blake again focused on honesty.

 

Sot: Fremont County prosecutor

49:47-50:00

“We want you to be brutally honest both today and if you’re selected as a juror and start deliberating with each other and we want to be sure you are brutally honest.”

 

Both the prosecution and defense used analogies about personal experiences with being honesty and asked whether or not anyone has been 100 percent honest in the lives. No one raised their number. Defense Attorney John Prior talked about bias.

 

SOT: John Prior

“We can’t judge someone just because they have unusual beliefs that we may not believe in and we can’t judge someone whether they believe in something you may not think is normal with various topics.”

 

Prior also reminded the prospective jurors, they will see graphic photos and warning them that it will break your heart. Prior then asked if the photos would sway their feelings about Daybell. They all responded that it would not.

 

According to Judge Boyce the selection process is on schedule and we are now halfway to the required number of 50. The Prosecution and Defense will then choose the final 18 from that group of 50. The jury will be seated and opening statements can begin.
 
Day three of jury selection in the case of the State of Idaho vs. Chad Daybell , puts us one day closer to sitting a jury and one day closer to opening statements.

---------------------

SOT: Judge Boyce

“Chad Daybell has been charged with certain counts of entering into a conspiracy with Lori Vallow and Alex Cox.”

Wednesday saw a group of 17 escorted into the courtroom , one more than the designated groups of 16 because the person who missed their slot on Tuesday was present today. Six members declared hardship and were excused leaving the remaining eleven members to answer questions as a group. Fremont County prosecutor Lindsey Blake again focused on honesty.

Sot: Fremont County prosecutor

49:47-50:00

“We want you to be brutally honest both today and if you’re selected as a juror and start deliberating with each other and we want to be sure you are brutally honest.” 

Both the prosecution and defense used analogies about personal experiences with being honesty and asked whether or not anyone has been 100 percent honest in the lives. No one raised their number. Defense Attorney John Prior talked about bias.

SOT: John Prior

“We can’t judge someone just because they have unusual beliefs that we may not believe in and we can’t judge someone whether they believe in something you may not think is normal with various topics.”

Prior also reminded the prospective jurors, they will see graphic photos and warning them that it will break your heart. Prior then asked if the photos would sway their feelings about Daybell. They all responded that it would not. 

According to Judge Boyce the selection process is on schedule and we are now halfway to the required number of 50. The Prosecution and Defense will then choose the final 18 from that group of 50. The jury will be seated and opening statements can begin.

Attorney John Prior was thrust into the national spotlight when he decided to take Chad Daybell's case. “All I can say is he reached out to me, and that’s how it started and at this point were ready to go forward and he wants to tell his story," said Prior.

That story will start next week with jury selection in a trial that’s expected to last anywhere from eight to ten weeks. And, if you think Prior has assembled a team to take on this high profile case, think again

“Well unfortunately Don, I’m doing this myself and that makes things a little challenging but fortunately, I’ve had three years and ten months to go through all the evidence, to sort of look at what I want to present to the jury. And I'm looking forward to my opportunity to do that," Prior added.

I asked Prior who attended Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial on a regular basis, and if he learned anything that he could use in Chad Daybell’s case.

 “Did I learn a lot of things I did learn a lot of things? Did I learn new things? Absolutely. Did I see what the prosecutor intends to do? Was it a surprise? No.”

I also was curious whether Lori Vallow, Chad's wife, could be called to the stand.

“It’s possible. It’s always possible. Anybody connected to a case can be called and I want to be clear, I’m not telling you I am or the State or anybody is, but anybody could be called if you have an involvement in this case you can potentially become a witness on this case," Prior answered.

 The trial hasn’t started yet, but John Prior is grateful for one thing.

 “I’m grateful Judge Steven Boyce decided to move the trial over to Ada County. One of the main reasons I’m grateful, I know the folks in Ada County, I’ve spent a half of my life living here."

 And for the next few months, most of that time will be spent at the Ada County Courthouse.