Chad Daybell appears in court for the first time since wife Lori Vallow sentenced to life

Chad Daybell appeared in court for the first time since his wife Lori Vallow received a life sentence for murdering her children as a judge agreed to hear arguments for cameras at his upcoming death penalty trial.

Mr Daybell remained emotionless as he appeared via video from the Fremont County Jail for a status hearing on Tuesday where Judge Steven Boyce set a date to determine whether to amend his previous camera ban that was put in place last year.

His wife Lori Vallow was sentenced two months ago to life in prison for the murders of her children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, and Daybell’s former wife, Tammy Daybell.

Mr Daybell is facing the same charges, to which he has pleaded not guilty, and could potentially face the death penalty if convicted when he stands trial in April.

Both Mr Daybell and his defence attorney John Prior want cameras in the courtroom, according to a motion filed last year by Mr Prior.

At the time, Mr Daybell and Vallow’s cases were joined and Judge Boyce denied the request. The cases were severed, and the judge is now revisiting the issue.

Earlier this year, Vallow’s gruelling six-week trial was held at the Ada County Courthouse without cameras. Only the verdict was allowed to be live-streamed through the judge’s YouTube page.

 (Judge Steven W. Boyce livestream)
(Judge Steven W. Boyce livestream)

While the defence is requesting cameras in the courtroom, prosecutors Lindsey Blake and Rob Wood maintained their position on Tuesday to not have cameras in the courtroom.

Judge Boyce scheduled an in-person hearing on the matter for 930am on 29 November at the Fremont County Courthouse.

Mr Daybell’s highly-anticipated trial is set to start on 1 April 2024 and is expected to last at least eight weeks.

It will be held at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise, Idaho after the judge granted a change of venue motion filed by Mr Daybell’s attorney.

Vallow married Mr Daybell in November 2019 less than two weeks after his wife Tammy died of what was initially labeled as natural causes. Her body was later exhumed and it was determined she died of asphyxiation.

Lori Vallow smirks in her new mug shot after being handed life without parole (Idaho Department of Corrections)
Lori Vallow smirks in her new mug shot after being handed life without parole (Idaho Department of Corrections)

The case drew nationwide attention when Vallow’s children went missing in September 2019.

While they were still unaccounted for, Vallow was on a beach in Hawaii marrying the self-proclaimed religious leader.

Nine months later, the children’s bodies were found buried in Mr Daybell’s backyard in June 2020.

JJ, who had autism, had been smothered with a plastic bag taped over his face, his little body still dressed in a pair of red pyjamas.

Tylee’s cause of death was impossible to establish as the teenager’s dismembered, charred bones and body parts were found scattered in the ground on Mr Daybell’s pet cemetery.

Prosecutors in Idaho accused Vallow, Mr Daybell and her brother Alex Cox of conspiring to kill people who were “obstacles” to Mr Daybell and Vallow’s relationship.

Both Vallow and Mr Daybell were both charged with murder and conspiracy in the death of her children and conspiracy to kill Tammy and after three years of delays and weeks of harrowing testimony, Vallow stood trial in April and May of 2023.

Chad and Tammy Daybell before her death in October 2019 (Facebook)
Chad and Tammy Daybell before her death in October 2019 (Facebook)
Tylee Ryan and Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow (Family handout)
Tylee Ryan and Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow (Family handout)

Vallow was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

She still faces a conspiracy to murder charge in Arizona for the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was shot dead by Vallow’s brother Alex Cox in Arizona in July 2019.

She could also face charges in the attempted murder of Brandon Boudreaux, who was the husband of her niece.