FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - Chad Daybell entered not guilty pleas on all counts in the indictment Wednesday before Judge Steven W. Boyce. He pleaded not guilty to the murder and conspiracy charges he faces in connection with the deaths of his ex-wife and the two children of his current wife, Lori Vallow-Daybell.
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The judge said a scheduling conference would take place June 23 at 9:30 a.m. via Zoom to determine a date for the start of Daybell's trial. He could face a death sentence, the judge said.
Vallow-Daybell has been found not competent to continue with court proceedings, according to court documents. She has been committed to a mental health facility for treatment. Her hearing has not been scheduled.
A grand jury last month indicted Daybell and Vallow-Daybell on murder charges in connection with the deaths of Vallow's two children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow. Daybell also is charged with murder in the case of his former wife, Tammy, who died a few weeks before Daybell got remarried.
The children's disappearance became national news after Daybell and Vallow-Daybell abruptly left the area following questioning by police about the whereabouts of Tylee and JJ and about the recent death of Tammy Daybell.
The children were last seen on different days in September 2019. In June 2020, law enforcement officials found the remains of Tylee, 17, and JJ, 7, on Daybell's property in Fremont County.
Tammy Daybell died in October 2019.
Daybell and Vallow-Daybell are both charged with first-degree murder of the children and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder against all three victims, according to court documents.
Daybell and Vallow-Daybell already were facing charges related to the destruction or hiding of evidence relating to the disappearance of the children. Arrest warrants were issued for them to be held without bail.
The new indictments do not provide details on how authorities think Tammy Daybell, Tylee or JJ were killed.
The indictments cite the couple's "religious beliefs" as a factor in the murders.
The grand jury cites evidence that Daybell and Vallow-Daybell spoke in text messages of Tammy Vallow "being possessed by a spirit," and say Chad Daybell changed the life insurance coverage on Tammy Daybell just over a month before she died, increasing the death benefit to the maximum allowed.
Daybell also is charged with insurance fraud, while Vallow-Daybell is charged with grand theft for allegedly continuing to draw Social Security benefits for her children after their deaths.
Daybell and Vallow-Daybell were first charged in connection with the disappearance of the children in June 2020.
Prosecutors said the murder charges would have been presented to the grand jury sooner, but the case was delayed due to the pandemic.