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Idaho woman accused of killing her children pleads not guilty

Posted at 12:02 PM, Apr 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 12:02:02-04

ST. ANTHONY, Idaho — Making her first appearance in court since being declared fit for trial, Lori Vallow-Daybell plead not guilty Tuesday to all charges against her during an arraignment in Idaho.

Vallow-Daybell remained silent during her appearance in which she was charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of her children JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Her attorney actually entered the not guilty plea on her behalf.

The first session at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. Anthony began with Chad Daybell's defense team arguing that his trial be moved to Ada County due to the publicity the case has already drawn.

Chad Daybell is Vallow-Daybell's now-husband. The children's remains were found on his property.

The state is requesting that a jury be sequestered in Ada County and brought to Fremont County to save costs.

When the trial begins, it is expected to last up to 10 weeks. The Daybells are expected to stand trial together.

Chad Daybell's attorney, John Prior, claimed the state was "grandstanding." Prior asked Judge Steven Boyce to dismiss the hearing, which Boyce denied, allowing several witnesses to speak on the state's behalf on the request to hold the trial in Fremont County.

Prior objected several times as the first witness, Fremont County Clerk Abbie Mace, detailed the cost savings of placing the trial in the county. Boyce overruled most of the objections. During his cross-examination of Mace, Prior argued that it would save taxpayers money if the jury didn't have to be sequestered in Ada County.

Following Mace, Lt. Travis Ruby with the Ada County Sheriff’s Office in Boise spoke in regard to courthouse security and the costs of staffing a trial in the Boise area. Ruby's testimony was cut short due to technical issues.

Rexburg (Idaho) Chief of Police Shane Turman took the stand following Ruby and said four of the department's seven detectives would need to be at the trial the entire time if it was held in Ada County.

"That's a lot of burden," said Turman.

However, Prior argued that there is no need for so many officers to be at the trial during its duration, claiming the state is overstating the costs. Judge Boyce told Prior to move on to another line of questioning with Turman after the state objected.

Turman added that the cost of moving all the state's witnesses to Ada County would cost the city and prosecution over $200 day per person.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Rachel Smith brought up JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, the children allegedly killed by the Chad and Lori Daybell, when demanding the trial stay in Fremont County.

"This is where those people died. This is where the case should be."

Judge Boyce said he will make his decision "later," but did not specify a time.

"I think that Lori has played her games to where now she can't play them anymore," said Larry Woodcock, the grandfather of JJ Vallow. "We will be (at her next hearing), and I will be sitting as close behind her as I can get, because she's going to look at me this time... My grandson is in a freezer vault, and Tylee as well. We want some closure."

Vallow-Daybell will also be charged with conspiracy to commit murder for her husband, Charles Vallow, and conspiracy to commit murder for her current husband's former wife, Tammy Daybell.

Chad Daybell is also charged in connection with the deaths of the children and his former wife. Both Daybells are set to be tried together starting in January 2023 in Ada County.

This story was first reported by KSTU in Salt Lake City, Utah.