Idaho man Chad Daybell to be tried for 3 deaths

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Chad Daybell sits during a court hearing, on Aug 4, 2020, in St. Anthony, Idaho. (AP)

BOISE, Idaho, April 1, (AP): The trial of a man charged with the deaths of his wife and his girlfriend’s two youngest children is set to begin in Idaho this week, serving as a second act in a bizarre case that has drawn worldwide attention and already resulted in a life sentence for the mother of the children.
Chad Daybell’s trial is expected to last up to 10 weeks, with jury selection scheduled to get underway in Boise on Monday. The 55-year-old self-published author is charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Tammy Daybell, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and JJ’s big sister, Tylee Ryan, who was last seen a few days before her 17th birthday.
The younger children’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell – who married Chad Daybell shortly after the deaths – was found guilty last year and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
The couple claimed they could tell if people had been possessed by dark spirits that could turn them into “zombies,” former friend Melanie Gibb testified in court. They believed the only way to get rid of a zombie was to destroy the possessed person’s body by killing them.
The children’s bodies were found buried in Chad Daybell’s eastern Idaho yard in the summer of 2020.
Chad Daybell also is charged with insurance fraud in connection with Tammy Daybell’s death and two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception in the children’s deaths.
If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Daybell has pleaded not guilty. Last week, his attorney John Prior told KIVI-TV in Boise that Daybell is ready to go forward with the case and “wants to tell his story.”
Two days later, 7th District Judge Steven Boyce issued a gag order barring any of the attorneys or parties in the case from talking about it until after jury selection and opening statements.
Chad and Lori Daybell originally were scheduled to stand trial together, but in 2022 Prior asked the court to split the cases, saying the co-defendants will have ” mutually antagonistic defenses.” The legal term generally means a jury would have to disbelieve one defendant in order to believe the other.
“Our version of the facts of this case will differ greatly from what Ms. Vallow and her legal counsel are going to be presenting,” Prior told the judge, who later agreed to split the cases.
The grim case began in the fall of 2019, after extended family members noticed Lori Vallow’s two youngest kids seemingly had disappeared and prodded law enforcement to launch a search. The subsequent months-long investigation spanned several states and took several grim and unexpected turns.

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