Closed hearing held in Lori Vallow Daybell case

Lori Vallow Daybell appears in court in Lihue, Hawaii on Feb. 26, 2020. A closed hearing was held in her case on Thursday.

Lori Vallow Daybell appears in court in Lihue, Hawaii on Feb. 26, 2020. A closed hearing was held in her case on Thursday. (Dennis Fujimoto, The Garden Island via AP, Pool)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

ST. ANTHONY — A status conference in the Lori Vallow Daybell case was held behind closed doors Thursday morning.

The conference was scheduled after a motion was filed for "an expedited hearing or status conference on motion and extension of commitment." Judge Steven Boyce ordered the hearing and its associated records sealed so it's unclear what was discussed.

"Finding a likelihood exists that both the state and the defense could be prejudiced by discussion or dissemination of information already sealed, the court finds that a compelling interest is at stake in the need to preserve a fair trial," Boyce wrote in his order to seal.

Daybell has been in the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare since June. Boyce committed her after a mental health professional determined Daybell was not competent for trial and could not assist in her defense.

When asked on Oct. 8 to seal the "motion and extension of commitment," prosecutors Rob Wood and Lindsey Blake said the interest of privacy outweighed public disclosure on the matter. Boyce agreed and sealed the associated documents. The hearing, scheduled for 10:30 a.m., was not live-streamed and participants are barred from talking about what occurred because of Boyce's order to seal.

Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell are charged with multiple crimes, including conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder. The charges are in relation to the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — two of Lori's kids — and Chad's first wife, Tammy Daybell.

Chad's trial is expected to take place next year in Ada County after Boyce ruled that a change of venue was needed. The Idaho Supreme Court approved the move Wednesday.

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Eric Grossarth

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