ST. ANTHONY – A change of venue hearing for Chad Daybell began Tuesday morning.
The hearing came after Daybell’s attorney, John Prior, asked for his client’s murder trial to be moved from Fremont County, arguing that a fair and impartial jury cannot be found in the 7th Judicial District. The hearing is being held remotely due to COVID-19 precautions.
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.
Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood and Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake have said in court filings they would not object to a partial change of venue to limit the chance of appeals. Prosecutors have asked the trial still be held in Fremont County but want jurors to be selected from another county and sequestered.
The motion for sequestration of the jury was continued after Prior asked for additional time to prepare to argue his position.
At the start of Tuesday’s hearing, Wood asked for the entire change of venue hearing to be sealed and not held in public view. Prior objected saying his client has a right to have the hearing in the public. Boyce agreed and the hearing continued to be live-streamed.
Both prosecutors and Prior have stated extensive media coverage of the Daybell case must be considered as a factor in moving the trial.
In February, Prior and Lori’s defense attorney Mark Means hired Ironwood insights, an Arizona marketing research firm to conduct a survey in Bonneville, Freemont, Jefferson and Madison counties on the Daybell case. David Bryant, the vice-president of analytics for the company testified at the change of venue hearing on the survey that asked people their opinions about Daybell’s assumed guilt or innocence.
Bryant testified of the 177 people who took the survey, 82.4% said the couple was guilty, 3.4% said they were innocent until proven guilty and 11.4% needed more information to decide. Only one person who took the survey said Chad and Lori were not guilty. However, six out of 10 people said they felt Chad and Lori can get a fair trial in the four counties surveyed.
Eighteen of the people who took the survey were in Fremont County, according to Bryant. Fremont County census data shows there are a little over 13,000 people in the rural eastern Idaho county. Boyce ultimately ruled because of the small number of Fremont County citizens who took the survey, the poll would not be considered in the change of venue hearing.
Both Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries and Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman were listed as witnesses for the prosecution for Tuesday’s hearing.
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. Prosecutors objected to having Tuesday’s hearing because Lori was not able to participate.
EastIdahoNews.com will update this story as the hearing unfolds.
CHANGE OF VENUE HEARING PART 1
CHANGE OF VENUE HEARING PART 2
The post LIVE: Change of venue hearing continues in Chad Daybell case appeared first on East Idaho News.