KUTV — A hearing set for next month may determine if there was misconduct in the Chad and Lori Daybell case, after both their defense attorneys filed complaints.
East Idaho News reports Lori's attorney Mark Means and Chad's attorney John Prior accused special prosecutor Rob Wood of misconduct with material witnesses.
In the joint motion filed last week, the defense attorneys accused Wood of allegedly trying to “coerce, unduly influence, coach, and or intimidate” Lori Daybell's sister Summer Shiflet, a material witness, and having an inappropriate discussion about the case with Lori's sister-in-law, Zulema Pastenes, another material witness. The recordings were made at an Arizona police station in October.
Wood requested an expedited hearing to address the allegations and maintained his innocence. He said Shiflet and Pastenes' personal legal counsels were with them during the interviews and no objections were made during his questioning.
“At all times, the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office has acted in accordance with the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct and has strived to seek justice in this case while acting in accordance with its duty to protect the rights of the Defendants, Chad and Lori Daybell,” the prosecutor’s office stated in court documents, as reported by the Rexburg Standard Journal.
Wood also asked for a temporary judicial protection order to prevent anyone remotely involved with the case from discussing the motions publicly.
During a hearing closed to the public on Friday, the attorneys went before Idaho District Judge Steven Boyce to argue their cases.
They will reconvene on Jan. 6 to decide if Wood should be disqualified. A hearing to move the Daybell case out of Fremont County that was scheduled for that same day has been vacated.
Wood and Prior have requested the hearing be closed to the public, while Means wants it open to the public. Boyce has until Dec. 30 to decide.
Lori and Chad Daybell's trial is scheduled for July 12, 2021, and is anticipated to last several weeks.
The court recently released a list of witnesses to called during the Daybell's upcoming trial. According to the Rexburg Standard Journal, those included are Lori and Chad Daybell, Pastenes, Chad Daybell's children, Lori’s brother Adam Cox and his children, Lori’s friend Melanie Gibb; Shiflet and family members, David Warrick, Larry and Kay Woodcock, April Raymond, Annie Cushing, Lori’s niece Melanie Boudreaux Pawlowski and her former husband, Ian Pawlowski; Chad’s sister-in-law, Heather Daybell, and brother, Matthew Daybell; and people associated with both the “Preparing People” organization and those from the "Another Voice of Warning" website.
The Daybells are charged with felonies related to conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence after the bodies of 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan were found buried on Chad's property in Salem, Idaho.
Chad Daybell was arrested in June, the day the bodies were found. Lori Daybell has been incarcerated since February, related to her children's disappearance after they had not been seen alive since September.
Here's a condensed timeline of events:
The couple has pleaded not guilty to the charges against them.
Individuals charged in complaints are presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court.