Idaho judge grants Chad Daybell, husband of 'doomsday cult' mom, request for change of venue in murder trial

Nancy Grace explores new details on Vallow, Daybell murder case news director Nate Eaton joins Fox Nation’s ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ to share possible evidence in relation to the Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell indictment.

An Idaho judge on Friday granted Chad Daybell, husband of “doomsday cult” mom Lori Vallow, a change of venue for his murder trial amid the media attention surrounding the case. 

Judge Steven Boyce suggested the trial be moved from Fremont County to Ada County, according to his court order. 

Chad Daybell enters the courtroom during his preliminary hearing in Fremont County on Monday, Aug. 3, 2020. A judge has granted a change of venue for his murder trial. 
(Post Register/ John Roark, POOL)

“The Court has always found the citizens of Fremont County to be fair, attentive and dedicated jurors when called upon to fulfill that critically important civic duty,” Boyce wrote in his ruling. “The Court has no doubt that absent the extraordinary circumstances presented here, Fremont County would have been an ideal location for this trial, and an ideal jury pool from which to select triers of fact to determine this case. However, this is no ordinary case.”

Defense attorneys argued the media attention surrounding the trial may have prejudiced potential jurors. Prosecutors wanted to keep the trial in Fremont County but have jurors sequestered and chosen from elsewhere. Boyce denied that request.

The judge said he considered multiple factors, including Fremont County’s small population, courtroom availability and facilities, security, staffing and media attendance, before making his ruling. 

“The Court concludes that Ada County would provide the best opportunity to conduct the trial in this case,” Boyce wrote. 

Lori Vallow glances at a camera during her March 6, 2020 hearing in Rexburg, Idaho. At her right is defense attorney Edwina Elcox. 

Daybell and Vallow face multiple criminal charges in connection with the deaths of her two children – Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and his teenage sister, Tylee Ryan – and his former wife, Tammy Daybell. The remains of the children were found on Daybell’s Idaho property last year. 

Vallow also faces a conspiracy to commit first-degree murder charge in Arizona in connection with the July 2019 shooting death of 62-year-old Charles Vallow, who was her husband at the time. 

A trial date for Daybell has not been set. Vallow’s case is on hold after she was determined to be mentally unfit to stand trial.

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