NewsLocal NewsThe Trial of Chad Daybell


Judge Boyce denies defense motion to acquit Daybell of JJ Vallow's murder

Defense Attorney John Prior filed a motion for what's known as a directed verdict
Posted at 5:05 PM, May 16, 2024

BOISE, Idaho — Defense Attorney John Prior surprised the court around noon with a defense motion to argue for a directed verdict, asking the judge to acquit Chad Daybell on the seven counts against him mainly focusing on an error in the date range presented in the charge for the murder of JJ Vallow.

RECAP: The Trial of Chad Daybell Day 25

  • The directed verdict motion from John Prior surprised many in the courtroom.
  • Judge Boyce denied the motions on all counts after considering arguments from the defense and prosecution.
  • Defense Attorney John Prior will start to present his case Monday morning.

 (The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story.) 

Judge Boyce denied the motion on six of the 7 counts. During the discussion, Judge Boyce said he has an issue with part of the indictment. Count four. The prosecution asked the court for a correction on a clerical error on the dates surrounding JJ Vallow’s death. Prior says they should not be allowed to change it. At stake is whether or not Chad Daybell can be acquitted in JJ’s murder.

“I do find it an inadvertent mistake I’ve seen case law state by the state. The actual date of time is not necessarily a required element of the murder charge so while these jurors have already heard the information contained in the amended indictment the courts believe the jury can be instructed to correct what they’ve heard."

 JJ’s grandfather Larry Woodcock was visibly upset when we spoke to him around noon, he gave me a thumbs up and said he was happy about the judge’s decision.

Earlier in the day Former F.B.I. Agent Doug Hart shared a series of revealing text messages between Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow talking about death percentages for JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan, and Tammy Daybell. Chad was known to give death percentages to indicate whether someone was light or dark.

“His death percentage for Tylee was at 0.13 and for JJ at 99.99 which follows with a reference of Raphael or Chad Daybell had visited JJ and and told JJ to follow Amy into the light which is a common reference for death.”

Agent Hart did not indicate who Amy was.

The defense can now start their case first thing Monday morning by calling any witnesses they have.