Prosecution rests in Chad Daybell murder case, defense claims not enough evidence

BOISE, Idaho (ABC4) — The prosecution rested in Chad Daybell’s murder case, however, the transition to the defense did not go smoothly.

Following the state’s last witness on Thursday afternoon, the judge and attorneys spoke outside the jury’s presence. Chad Daybell’s attorney, John Prior, motioned for a judgment of acquittal claiming the prosecution had not presented enough evidence to support a possible guilty verdict.

BACKGROUND INFO: A complete timeline for the Daybell, Vallow murders

A judgment of acquittal would mean the charges in question would be dismissed, and if all the charges are dismissed, the defendant could be released from custody, according to Justia.

“At this point, I don’t think the state has met its burden regarding the fraud, and again I don’t think they’ve met their burden regarding the conspiracy on all of the conspiracy charges, and they have not met their burden in regards to the murder as set forth previously,” Prior argued.

Judge Boyce later dismissed the motion on all counts but one, but not for the reason Prior argued. Boyce claimed there was an error in the indictment which stated JJ’s death took place between Sept. 8 and 9, which the state’s witnesses contradicted.

The amended indictment incorrectly placed his death to be at the same time as Tylee’s, rather than a few weeks afterward.

The state claimed it was a “clerical error” as it was initially correct for several years but was recently changed in an amendment filed before the trial. Prior, however, emphasized that an amendment to the indictment is not allowed once the prosecution rests.

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“Any change at this point after the state has rested is going to create a substantial due process argument for Mr. Daybell, in addition, it’s going to affect the substantial rights for Mr. Daybell as well,” Prior argued.

The judge concluded that it did appear to be a clerical error as the February amendment was intended to amend other counts and the count in question was changed without the court’s authorization.

“Looking at that history, the court does believe it was a clerical error that led to the change of those dates,” Boyce said.

Judge Boyce then dismissed the motion concluding that the defense would begin Monday, May 20.

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