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Heated debate during Chad Daybell hearing Tuesday

FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - Tuesday was a day of heated debate in the Chad Daybell murder case.

Daybell appeared in person before Judge Steven W. Boyce Tuesday morning for a change of venue motion. You can watch it below.

Lawyers on both sides spent hours online arguing several critical issues about bringing the case to trial.

Their fist issue, Prosecutor Rob Wood wanted at least part of Tuesday's hearing on a change of venue sealed.

Judge Steven Boyce denied that motion.

He he did grant a continuance to Defense Attorney John Prior's request to delay debate on sequestering the jury.

But a public survey done by Lori Vallow-Daybell's lawyer last year became the central issue on weather to move the trial out of Fremont County, as the defense would like. 

Both sides questioned David Bryant, who conducted the survey, on the scope of those questioned.

"So I'm a bit confused," Prior said. "82% say that he's guilty, but in spite of being guilty, he'll still get a fair trial. Is that what the polling seems to suggest from the folks in Jefferson, Fremont, Madison and Bonneville County?

Bryant said that was correct.

"Would you agree with me that 18 individuals is a very small amount of individuals to poll on an issue like this?" Wood asked.

"Well if I am looking at just that particular county, yes, but the objectives that were given to us from the research was specifications that were not to just survey just one county," Bryant said.

But both sides claimed the results were too vague.

Then lawyers questioned Fremont County Sheriff Len Humphries.

Wood focused on the cost of relocating the trial outside of the county.

"So it's your testimony that if you had multiple detectives subpoenaed outside your county for a trial, especially a lengthy trial, that that would manpower issues for fremont county detectives, or fremont county sheriff's officers?" Wood asked.

"Yes it would," Sheriff Humphries replied.

"And it is fair to say that those detectives have more cases than the vallow-daybell case?"

"Yes, that is fair," the sheriff said.

Prior questioned a possible conflict of interest.   

"I'm looking at a June 11th of 2020 posting on your Facebook account,"Prior said. "And on the Facebook account it shows you retweeting pictures of a fence, some posters of JJ and Tylee, it looks like a picture of a vigil, and…"

"Objection," Wood said. "Beyond the scope of the direct."

"Judge, it goes to weather or not there's involvement by a police officer involved in this case,"Prior said. "I have information that this officer is using his private facebook account to make posting about this and further, that Mr. Wood is giving a thumbs up on these accounts."

"Objection,"Wood said. "Relevance?" 

"I think it's relevant," Prio said.

After a private discussion between the lawyers and judge, Sheriff Humphries acknowledged the post, but testified he couldn't remember any others. 

Rexburg Police Chief Shane Turman was also called as a witness.

He said five out of his six detectives have been significantly involved with the case.

Judge Boyce ended the day-long hearing with a promise to review the testimony and hand in a written decision, but he didn't give a time of when that may happen. 

Daybell and Lori Vallow-Daybell were indicted in May on murder charges in connection with the deaths of Vallow's two children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow.

Daybell is also charged with the murder of his wife, Tammy, who died a few weeks before Daybell and Vallow married.

The children's disappearance became national news after Daybell and Vallow abruptly left Idaho following questioning by police about the disappearance of Tylee and JJ as well as Tammy Daybell's death.

Vallow's children were last seen on different days in September 2019. Law enforcement officials found their remains on Daybell's rural property in Fremont County nine months later.

Along with the murder charges, Daybell is charged with insurance fraud stemming from life insurance policies that allegedly paid him money after his wife's death.

Vallow is charged with grand theft for allegedly continuing to draw Social Security benefits for her children after their deaths.

Vallow-Daybell has been deemed not competent to continue with court proceedings and has been admitted to a mental health facility for treatment.

You can view a timeline of events and all our past stories on Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow-Daybell HERE.

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