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Motions filed in Vallow Daybell case, new developments and alibi

Major developments in the case against Lori Vallow include a notice of alibi and a motion to declare Vallow ineligible for the death penalty.

BOISE, Idaho — The newest developments in the case against Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell have yielded some interesting changes for the upcoming trial, after several motions were filed from each defendant.

A major development in Vallow’s defense is a notice of an alibi, which states that Vallow was not present for either JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan, or Tammy Daybell’s murders; Vallow claims she was in her apartment in Rexburg with three others, while the murders of her children were taking place at her brother Alex Cox’s apartment nearby.

During the timeframe of Tammy Daybell’s death in Salem, Idaho, Vallow states she was in Hawaii with two of her friends.

Notice of alibi:

Lori Vallow’s attorneys also filed a motion to declare her ineligible for the death penalty, stating she “does not have the requisite culpability to be charged with the death penalty.”

Lori Vallow, along with her husband Chad Daybell, is facing charges related to the deaths of her children, Tylee and JJ; she has been held in custody, separately from Chad, since early 2020. The couple is also facing additional charges in connection to the deaths of both of their late spouses, but have continued to plead not guilty to any of the charges against them.

In the motion, attorneys site the case of Enmund v Florida, as the result of that case determined that someone who does not participate in a murder or attempt to kill someone, cannot be given the death penalty.

  • “A person who neither kills nor intends to kill and has not the requisite intention of participating in or facilitating a murder, cannot be put to death.”

In the case of Enmund v Florida, a man who was a getaway driver for a robbery gone wrong had been charged with the murder of two victims and had been sentenced to death. The Supreme Court took up the case and determined the getaway driver could not be given the death penalty, given that he did not participate in the murders and his punishment should reflect his involvement.

  • “For purposes of imposing the death penalty, Enmund’s criminal culpability must be limited to his participation in the robbery, and his punishment must be tailored to his personal responsibility and moral guilt.”

Motion to declare defendant not death eligible:

Vallow’s attorneys argue that while the charges may differ (felony murder versus conspiracy to commit murder), the concept should remain the same regarding whether the defendant was charged as a principal or accessory in the crime. They further claim that Lori Vallow was not a participant in either carrying out the murder or conspiring to kill, and did not have the “foreknowledge that her children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, or Tammy Daybell would end up dead.”

One day before sending the notice of alibi, on Jan. 4, Vallow’s defense sent another notice that the mental health defense would not be used during the trial. Her attorneys stated in the motion that her mental health has been thoroughly vetted and she also received 10 months of care from mental health experts employed by the state. According to her attorneys, Vallow has also reportedly stated she does not want to proceed with that defense and has not authorized them to take that step.

However, the motion says that if she is convicted by a jury, then they plan to call witnesses and experts to testify at her sentencing hearing to discuss her mental health in order to possibly lessen the severity of her punishment.

Notice of intent not to raise mental health defense:

One of the last motions filed by Vallow’s defense includes a request to have “confidential joint settlement and strategy sessions” with Chad Daybell and his defense, in order to discuss their options.

“With settlement proposals, mediation, options and trial fast approaching, Lori and Chad would like to be able to talk together in person and on the phone about their options,” the motion reads. “The attorneys for the parties will attend any in person meetings and phone conversations, but will not record the conversations and will not use the conversations as evidence.”

Motion for joint settlement and strategy sessions:

Although the motion was filed by Vallow's defense and there has been no confirmation that this is a mutual request.

There has also been some activity regarding Chad Daybell's defense. Recently a request was made by Daybell's attorneys to extend the window to submit a questionnaire for the jury pool selection.

Prior to the request, an extension on the questionnaire deadline had already been granted by Judge Steven Boyce, from Oct. 13 to Jan.9. Citing that extension, Judge Boyce denied Daybell's motion stating that the defense had had ample time to prepare and any delay at this point would cause unnecessary burden.

The defense still has an option to submit a questionnaire by the listed deadline, however, if they fail to produce one then the court will submit a questionnaire in its place.

Order on defendant's objection to the Court's scheduling order:

The trial, which will take place with an Ada County jury, was scheduled to begin Jan. 9 after numerous other postponements, however, that date was vacated in October and the trial was postponed until officials could make a determination about Vallow's mental competency. 

Judge Boyce lifted the stay on Vallow's case in mid-November and ordered the trial to be rescheduled after Vallow was found to again be mentally fit to proceed to trial, and a new trial date has been scheduled for April 3, 2023.

Watch more on the trial of Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell:

See all of the latest coverage in our YouTube playlist:

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