Attorneys for Lori Vallow Daybell, a doomsday-cult-connected mother of two dead children, say that prosecutors have waited too long to try their client on charges of murder and conspiracy.
“The government has violated her right to a speedy trial,” defense attorneys Jim Archibald and John Thomas wrote in a pre-trial filing submitted to the 7th Judicial District Court on Thursday.
The motion to dismiss for lack of a speedy trial is based on the speedy trial right contained in both the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as well as the Idaho state constitution.
The filing also cites a section of Gem State statutory law that defines what constitutes a “speedy trial” when such a right is invoked by a person accused of a crime, the attorneys argue.
Vallow, 49, and her husband, Chad Daybell, 54, are accused of murder in the 2019 deaths of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17. The children disappeared on different dates in September of that year. Vallow was originally arrested in Hawaii in February 2020 on charges of child desertion. She and her husband were indicted for the murder of Vallow’s children and Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, 49, in May 2021.
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Their trials have been delayed for various reasons, including Vallow being found incompetent to stand trial late last year. She has since been found competent to be tried and the trial is currently slated to begin in April.
“The first trial setting in this instant case was for October 11, 2022, since that was within six months of April 19, 2022,” the motion says. “The government then asked for more time and the Court granted the request and set trial for January 9, 2023. This violated her right to a speedy trial.”
Archibald and Thomas account for the competency issues in the Thursday court filing.
“[T]he court tolled the case from October 6, 2022, to November 15, 2022,” the motion continues – noting that the defense itself requested the competency review. “A 40-day delay caused by the competency review still doesn’t justify a trial setting three years after her arrest and almost one year after her arraignment. The government still has an obligation to bring her to a speedy trial which complies with the Constitutions and the Idaho Code.”
Vallow’s defense attorneys write that since her arrest, their client has spent 1,169 days in pre-trial detention without a trial in any of the three cases. Since her arraignment, the motion said, Vallow has spent 349 days behind bars, which they argue is “obviously more than the statutory six-month time limit.
“Her constitutional rights, including her right to be presumed innocent and her right to a speedy trial, have been ignored by the government,” the filing said. “She is prejudiced every day since she’s in jail and unable to post a bond. The court has repeatedly reminded the government that it will respect her constitutional right to a speedy trial.”
“The government cannot show ‘good cause’ to bring Lori Vallow Daybell to trial over three years from her arrest and almost one year from her arraignment,” the defense motion said. “This court should find that the government has not met its burden to uphold her constitutional rights. This case should be dismissed.”
The charges against the couple concerning Vallow’s children are part of an alleged conspiracy of cult-oriented killings.
Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, admittedly shot and killed Vallow’s previous husband, Charles Vallow, in July 2019 and claimed self-defense. Cox also allegedly tried to kill Tammy Daybell days before her ex allegedly killed her. Vallow is also charged with conspiracy in Arizona over her ex-husband’s death.
Police in Idaho allege that Vallow and her husband believed that her fourth husband needed to die to fulfill a religious prophecy. A court filing in a child custody case peripherally related to the alleged cult killings claims Vallow eventually came to believe her two children “had been possessed by a demon or another dark entity” and were subsequently turned into “zombies.”
Daybell is the author of various novels related to end-times theology. He and his wife met in 2018 after appearing on a podcast to discuss different ways the world might end in eschatological terms.
[image via screengrab/Law&Crime Network]
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