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Murder charge against Chad Daybell will stand despite wrong date of child’s death, judge says

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - Tense moments in the Chad Daybell murder trial after the prosecution rested its case on Thursday.

Judge Steven Boyce pointed out an error in the indictment relating to the murder of JJ Vallow.  An error that could put a roadblock in the state’s case.

The error was made when the indictment was amended in February 2024 from the original charging indictment.

Under Count 4, First Degree Murder of JJ Vallow, included the wrong dates. The amended indictment says JJ was killed “on or between September 8th or 9th of 2019.” Tylee Ryan was killed at that time.  

The first indictment from 2021 stated JJ was killed between September 22nd and 23rd of 2019.  

The prosecution offered three options to fix the error.   They said they judge could correct the indictment, since they never intended to change this county, the judge could accept a variance and give the jury new instructions about it, or reopen the case.

Idaho criminal rules state an indictment can only be amended before the prosecution rests.

“Obviously a clerical mistake was made here,” said special prosecutor, Ingrid Batey. “It's inconsistent with the initial indictment. It was not a proper legal amendment. We're really talking about a clerical issue here. And I think that when courts look at reopening cases, that's something the court can do for situations such as this,” she said.

“But they don't get to correct it now,” said John Prior, Chad Daybell’s attorney. “They don't have any authority to say that. The cases they cite, talk about other issues and have nothing to do with having the ability to change an indictment, as I am preparing to present my case to the jury, in this case, on a capital murder case.

Judge Boyce ultimately decided the dates was a clerical error.

Between sessions, JJ’s grandpa, Larry Woodcock, said he was confused, surprised, and disheartened about the issue.

“Right now it's very confusing, I'm very disappointed. I'm very hurt. And I don't I don't know what the rulings going to be. Nobody does. But I just hope, that what I've said all along, I just want a fair just, and an honorable and righteous ruling by the court.” Woodcock said. “It's very disheartening to me, but I will... I will be strong. I will be confident that this issue will be worked out, and I will hope that the murder of JJ will be kept into evidence.”

Judge Boyce said he needs time to consider how to remedy the error. He will issue a follow-up order.

Court will continue Monday with the defense starting its case.

We will livestream the event beginning at 8:30 a.m.


Watch Thursday's session below:

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

Article Topic Follows: Vallow-Daybell Coverage

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Linda Larsen

Linda is an anchor and reporter for Local News 8.


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