Prosecutors cite $700,000 award, say Daybell’s trial location should not be changed | Idaho

It is estimated it will cost Upper Valley ratepayers nearly $700,000 to move the Chad and Lori Vallow-Daybell murder trial to Ada County.

Prosecutors and law enforcement filed documents last week with Seventh District Court Judge Steven Boyce outlining what the cost to local ratepayers should be if the trial were to be moved from Fremont County. Last year, Boyce cited intense media coverage regarding the Daybells in the community and ordered the Daybells to be tried in Ada County.

The case brought journalists from around the world to Rexburg and spawned documentaries, a Lifetime film, and several books written about Vallow-Daybell.

In their filing, Madison County District Attorney Rob Wood and Fremont County District Attorney Lindsey Blake wrote that based on several findings, they believe the Daybells could receive a fair trial with an outside jury sitting in the court. Fremont County.

“The state has reviewed the applicable cases and to date has not found a single situation where the court’s application of the Idaho code, with jury selection in a new location but trial in the county where the crimes were committed, was quashed due to transportation of a jury,” prosecutors wrote.

Wood and Blake also said it would be costly for Upper Valley ratepayers to foot the bill for a lawsuit in Ada County.

“The economic benefits to the people of Fremont and Madison County outweigh the benefits of trying the (Daybell case) in Ada County. Indeed, the state will be unduly burdened and unfairly harmed if the Idaho code is not enforced,” the prosecutors wrote.

In the filing, Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries wrote that it would cost his county $269,430 to move those involved in the case to Ada County. Humphries also noted that if only jury selection were done in Ada County, it would cost $53,444, which would save Fremont County $215,986.

The cost of $269,430 includes all accommodation, travel, meals, overtime and jail costs. Accommodation alone would cost the county $60,000 per month for 14 workers at $147 per night for four weeks. Humphries wrote that there could be optional housing at two large facilities that would cost between $30,000 and $40,000 a month for employees.

Travel costs are expected to be $3,733 while meal costs for 10 weeks would total $51,800 for 14 people. Overtime costs could total $52,500 while Ada County jail costs for the two Daybells would total nearly $10,000.

In Madison County, Rexburg Police Department Chief of Police Shane Turman estimated it would cost Madison taxpayers $369,407 to move the trial to Ada County. The cost includes $174,930 in accommodation while meal costs would be $88,060. He also noted that transportation costs could total $49,517.60, while office rental should be around $7,500. Replacement staff costs to cover for detectives testifying in Ada County can cost $49,400.

Turman also expected 35 witnesses to testify and cost Madison County $69,699. Witnesses include everyone from law enforcement to county employees to “lay witnesses” living in the southeast Idaho region.

“Given the window needed, the uncertainty as to precisely when a witness may be called to testify, or the duration of cross-examination of witnesses, the state has scheduled an average of seven days per witness,” said he wrote. “This projection is made with the understanding that some witnesses may be required to remain and be available in the Boise area for 10 days or more.”

In the court filing, prosecutors said they believed a fair trial was possible by bringing a jury from Ada County to Fremont County.

“The case law provides no evidence that an accused’s right to a fair trial by an impartial panel of peers encompasses the right to have a case tried in a particular courthouse or courtroom,” they wrote. . “Idaho’s code clearly demonstrates the ability of the court to meet the needs of both parties and (to) consider judicial economy and the costs and other burdens on the originating county to reach such a decision. .”

The Daybells tied the knot two weeks after Tammy Daybell’s death. The Vallow-Daybell children are believed to have been murdered in September 2019. Their bodies were found in June 2021 on the Salem property of Chad Daybell.

Chad Daybell has pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. Lori Vallow-Daybell did not plead the charges but is receiving restorative care at a mental health facility in Idaho.

The Daybells’ trial is scheduled for January 2023 in Ada County and is expected to continue through March.

Richard L. Militello