The defense for Lori Daybell, 47, and her new husband Chad Guy Daybell, 51, are scheduled for a court appearance Monday in Fremont County, Idaho. The prosecution wants to prohibit video broadcast and live-streaming for preliminary hearings in their cases. The proceedings are scheduled to begin 4:30 p.m. ET / 2:30 p.m. MT.
Rob H. Wood, serving as Special Prosecuting Attorney for Fremont County, is asking the court to keep video cameras out. He is framing this as something that’s actually good for the defense and will protect the defendants’ right to a fair trial. Broadcasts and live-streams will make it more difficult to find an unbiased local jury, he argued in a motion filed in Chad Daybell’s case. It is already going to be hard, and will take time because of the media coverage that already exists, he said.
“If the preliminary hearings are broadcast/live-streamed, voir dire will become even more difficult,” he wrote. “Every potential juror who viewed the preliminary hearing will require extra voir dire, and those questions may elicit answers which prejudice other potential jurors. Potential jurors who viewed the preliminary hearing will more likely be struck for cause.”
Wood asserted he is not asking for sealed proceedings. Journalists can still report on the events, still photography will be allowed, and there will be an audio recording and transcript.
“The appropriate question for the Court to ask and answer is ‘will providing fair trial be made more difficult by broadcasting/live-streaming the preliminary hearing?'” he wrote. “Even the possibility that broadcasting/live-streaming will create further difficulty in providing fair trial is sufficient under I.C.A.R 45 for this Court to disallow video cameras during the preliminary hearing.”
Chad Daybell faces two counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence, and two counts of conspiracy. Investigators said that on June 10, they found the bodies of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and Tylee Ryan–who were 7 and 17 went last seen in September 2019–on property belonging to Daybell. These were the children of the defendant’s new wife Lori Daybell. It is unclear if the children lived long enough to technically become his stepkids: the new couple married on November 5 in Hawaii, police said.
Cops say Lori Daybell bolted out of Rexburg, Idaho in late November instead of helping them find the missing kids. She was initially arrested in a desertion case. Now authorities say that the Daybells, and Lori’s brother Alex Cox engaged in a conspiracy to hide the children’s deaths.
Chad Daybell’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 3 and 4. Lori Daybell’s is set to take place August 10 and 11.
Cathy Russon contributed to this report.
[Lori Daybell mugshot via Madison County Sheriff’s Office; Chad Daybell mugshot via Rexburg Police Department]
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