New information was revealed during the first half of the Wednesday morning hearing regarding the Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell case in Fremont County, Idaho. Vallow and Daybell chose not to appear in court.
For the first time, it was revealed the prosecution plans to pursue murder charges for Vallow and Daybell and may pursue the death penalty. Currently, the couple is only facing charges relating to the cover-up of the deaths of 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old J.J. Vallow.
The information came out when defense attorneys John Prior and Mark Means played an 18-minute recorded conversation between Prosecutor Rob Wood and Vallow’s sister Summer Shiflet. The conversation was recorded by Shiflet's attorney Garrett Smith. Smith recorded it without Wood's knowledge.
“I’m going to tell you right now we are going to be filing conspiracy to murder charges for both Chad and Lori,” Wood can be heard saying.
The two spoke at length about the case. Prior particularly objected to Wood telling Shiflet that he, like Shiflet, is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Prior expressed his belief that this was “unprofessional.”
Dr. James Davidson was called by the defense as an expert witness on forensic analysis. According to Davidson, conversations such as the one between Wood and Shiflet can alter a witness’s views of the case and potentially manipulate witness testimony.
“The recording clearly illustrates Mr. Wood’s attempt to coerce, unduly influence, coach, and or intimidate said material witness to this case,” read court documents filed by the defense.
In the recording, Shiflet makes no attempt to defend her sister or deny the allegations against her. Both agree on many aspects of the case. At the end of the conversation, Shiflet gives him a bag of bracelets in honor of Tylee and J.J.
Vallow and Daybell face felony charges relating to the alleged cover-up of the deaths of Vallow’s minor children. The remains of 7-year-old J.J. Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan were found buried in Daybell’s backyard in Salem in June. The couple faces charges for conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. Daybell is facing two additional felony charges for the destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. Each count carries a punishment of up to five years imprisonment and/or up to a $10,000 fine.
The couple also is under investigation for the October 2019 death of Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Vallow and Daybell married 17 days after Tammy, Daybell's wife of 29 years, died in her sleep under what police have called suspicious circumstances.
Daybell and Vallow’s joint jury trial is scheduled to begin July 12.
The Post Register will have the full story on the hearing coming later today.