IN FOCUS Discussion: The Chad and Lori Daybell murder cases

In Focus

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that Lori Daybell was indicted by an Arizona grand jury for conspiracy to commit murder with her brother, Alex Cox, against her former husband, Charles Vallow. This comes after an Idaho grand jury indicted Chad and Lori Daybell on several felony charges related to the deaths of JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan, and Tammy Daybell.

In just the span of five months between July and December 2019, five people involved in Chad and Lori Daybell’s lives passed away from what was ruled as natural causes or were murdered. If prosecutors can prove all of the charges against them, legal experts say it could indicate that they are serial killers. After the human remains of Lori’s children, JJ and Tylee were found on Chad’s property in June 2020, a judge ruled there was enough evidence in his preliminary hearing to advance the case to district court.

Meanwhile, Lori was deemed not psychologically fit in June for trial and is committed to receiving treatment to restore her competency, which could take up to 90 days before a judge reviews her mental evaluation again. Chad pled not guilty to all counts handed down by the grand jury and is scheduled for a jury trial in November that is expected to last five weeks.

A live panel of guests joined ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen on the CW30 News at 7 p.m. for an IN FOCUS discussion about the latest developments in this case. The panelists were Lauren Matthias, former ABC4 Southern Utah Bureau chief and host of Hidden: A True Crime Podcast; Eric Grossarth, reporter with East Idaho News; and defense attorney, Greg Skordas.

In part 1, they talked about what makes this case so unusual and appealing to the public, how religion and cults play a role in this case, why Chad and Tammy Daybell’s children haven’t spoken much publicly about the investigation, and the additional charges that Chad and Lori face such as grand theft and insurance fraud.

In part 2, the panel discussed how East Idaho News’ Nate Eaton was subpoenaed by Chad’s defense attorney, their thoughts on Lori being ruled psychologically unfit for trial, how much tougher this case is to prosecute without Alex Cox, the option of trying Chad and Lori together, and whether there’s a possibility that one of them might turn on the other.

In part 3, the guests addressed what they thought was unusual about the body camera footage following Charles’ death, the significance of Lori being charged with conspiracy to commit murder in Charles’ death, how long it could be before the State of Arizona will get a trial with Lori, whether they think more people would be alive if Alex and Lori were arrested earlier, the new probable cause statements released by Chandler PD, how this investigation has taken a toll on the victims’ loved ones, and the next step for Chad and Lori’s cases.

To watch the full IN FOCUS discussion with Matthias, Grossarth, and Skordas, click on the video at the top of the article.

Catch IN FOCUS discussions with ABC4’s Rosie Nguyen weeknights on the CW30 News at 7 p.m.

Rosie Nguyen is an award-winning journalist who joined the ABC4 News team as a reporter in January 2018. In September 2020, she embarked on a new journey as the anchor for the CW30 News at 7 p.m. Although she’s not out in the field anymore, she is continuing her passion for social justice and community issues through the nightly “In Focus” discussions.

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