Idaho - Chad Daybell

Defense attorney John Prior questions David Warwick during Chad Daybell’s preliminary hearing in Fremont County on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. Daybell is being charged with destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence and conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence, both felony charges. The remains of Lori Vallow Daybell’s two children were found on Chad Daybell’s property.

Defense attorney John Prior, on behalf of his client Chad Daybell, has requested Daybell’s case be dismissed. The motion argues that a “lack of sufficient evidence” was presented at his preliminary hearing.

After a lengthy two-day hearing Aug. 3 and Aug. 4, Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins ruled there is “probable or sufficient cause to believe the defendant Chad Daybell committed the offenses.” The case was then bound over to district court where he will face a jury trial.

Prior wrote that Daybell’s charges are “not supported by evidence,” “duplicative,” and that the prosecution has not produced evidence proving “when the alleged acts is supposedly to have taken place.”

“The prosecution made assertions in his Complaint and Information that are vague and overly broad. Those assertions violate Defendant’s U.S. and Idaho Constitutional rights to be fairly notified and appraised of when, how, and what he is accused of doing,” Prior wrote.

Samuel Newton, assistant professor at the University of Idaho College of Law, said the reason Prior is able to make this request is because the case moved from a lower court to a higher court after the preliminary hearing. He likened the request to making an appeal.

“You’re asking the higher court to make a decision about probable cause. And the higher court can disagree with the lower court,” Newton said.

Newton said in his 15 years as a defense court, he only saw this type of strategy succeed once or twice.

“It’s extremely rare to see a case dismissed after a preliminary hearing for probable cause issues, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Why not have a second bite to see if someone will do it?” Newton said.

Daybell and his second wife Lori Vallow are facing felony charges relating to the cover-up of the deaths of Vallow’s children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old J.J. Vallow.

Daybell is charged with two counts for the destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence and two counts for the conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. Each count carry a punishment of “up to five years imprisonment and/or up to a $10,000 fine.” He faces up to 20 years in prison and $40,000 in fines if convicted on all charges.

The couple is also under investigation for the October 2019 death of Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Vallow and Daybell married 17 days after his wife of 29 years died in her sleep under what police have called suspicious circumstances.

Daybell currently remains at the Fremont County Jail on a $1 million bail bond. His three-week trial is set for Jan. 11 through Jan. 29.

Vallow’s arraignment will take place at 10 a.m. Sept. 10 at the Fremont County courthouse.

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