Just days before Chad Daybell is set for a change of venue hearing, prosecutors have filed a motion to sequester a jury.
Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood said during a last-minute Thursday hearing that he wants to bring in jurors from another county into Fremont County for Daybell’s trial. Wood and Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake said they are not objecting to a change of venue, but want the trial held in Fremont County “for a lot of reasons,” including providing a fair trial.
District Judge Steven Boyce said since the new motion relates to a change in venue, he will allow it to be heard during next Tuesday’s hearing. However, Boyce said before he can make a decision, he will need facts on the costs of bringing a jury to Fremont County compared to holding the trial in another county.
According to the Idaho Supreme Court, a sequestered jury does not go home during the trial. At the end of the day, jurors stay in a hotel and their access to other people and the media is limited.
Daybell and his wife Lori Vallow Daybell are charged with multiple crimes including conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder. The charges are in relation to the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — two of Lori’s kids — and Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell.
Chad’s defense attorney John Prior said getting notified of the motion at 6 p.m. on Wednesday is not “adequate” time to prepare for this argument during Tuesday’s change of venue hearing.
“With all due respect judge it’s a little bit of grandstanding, it’s a little bit of game playing and I don’t appreciate it,” Prior said.
Boyce said Prior might be jumping to a conclusion about game playing and grandstanding and that is why he called Thursday’s hearing to determine what will happen during next week’s hearing.
“We’ve been moving down the path we feel will lessen appeals and which, protects both the defendants’ rights,” Wood said. “ … He (Prior) has no right to make that accusation, he doesn’t know what he’s talking about and we feel we have the right to address that. There is no reason to come into a court proceeding and act like that.”
While the change of venue hearing was initially scheduled to last Tuesday and Wednesday in person, COVID-19 restrictions have placed the hearing online. Additionally, Wood and Prior agree the hearing will now only take half a day.
Lori’s case is on hold as Boyce committed her to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare in June. A mental health professional deemed Lori was not fit for trial.