Daybell hearing

District Judge Steven Boyce (bottom right), Special Prosecutor Rob Wood (top right), and defense attorneys Mark Means and John Prior (top left, bottom left) attend Monday’s hearing via Zoom.

District Judge Steven Boyce ruled in favor of a motion Monday to allow the special prosecutor to bring an out-of-state attorney onto the Chad Daybell case.

Missouri Attorney Rachel Smith will assist Special Prosecutor Rob Wood, so long as Wood sends a notice to the court stating he is deputizing Smith as part of his role as special prosecutor.

The ruling only applies to the criminal case against Chad Daybell. Boyce did not make a ruling on whether Smith would work on the case against Lori Vallow.

According to an objection filed by Mark Means, Vallow’s defense attorney, Wood’s motion is barred due to a previous unspecified court order.

Both Boyce and John Prior, Daybell’s defense attorney, raised the issues of whether Smith is still a practicing attorney, and whether Wood needed permission from Fremont County to hire Smith.

Smith herself testified that she has a private law practice in Missouri, providing assistance to county prosecutors and specializing in homicide cases.

Wood told the judge that Madison County, where Wood is the county prosecutor, would pay Smith, and that there was no need to get permission from Fremont County, on behalf of which Wood is prosecuting Vallow and Daybell. Wood said Fremont County had given him authority to prosecute the case as he sees fit.

Though murder charges have not been filed against Vallow and Daybell, Wood told a witness he intended to charge them with murder. A recording of the statement was revealed at a hearing in which the defense attorneys argued Wood should be removed from the case.

Daybell and Vallow were arrested after Vallow’s children, Tylee Ryan and J.J. Vallow, were found buried on Daybell’s property. The two married shortly after the death of their spouses. The case drew national attention after the couple fled to Hawaii when law enforcement began investigating the children’s disappearance.

A status conference is scheduled for both defendants at 1:30 p.m. April 7.

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