Chad Daybell: Jury selection for murder trial now complete

A jury is now seated for Chad Daybell’s murder trial.

Daybell, who is from Idaho, is a former doomsday fiction author who is married to convicted murderer Lori Vallow. Besides being accused of killing his first wife, Tammy, Daybell is also accused of killing two children with Arizona ties, Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Remains of the two children were found on Daybell's property in 2020.

On Monday morning, the prosecution for the State of Idaho and Daybell's attorney each used 16 peremptory challenges, narrowing down a pool of 50 jurors to the final 18. A peremptory challenge, according to the Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute, is one of a limited number of special jury challenges given to each party before trial.

"A peremptory challenge results in the exclusion of a potential juror without the need for any reason or explanation - unless the opposing party presents a prima facie argument that this challenge was used to discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex," read a portion of the definition on LII's website.

With a jury of 18 now chosen, opening statements are scheduled for the morning of April 10 in Boise, and similar to the trial for Lori Vallow, 10 men and eight women have a chance to decide Daybell’s fate. For Daybell's trial, the same jury will also decide if Daybell spends the rest of his life in prison or be executed, should Daybell be convicted.

Continuing coverage on the Chad Daybell trial

Alternate juror in Vallow trial has advice

On April 8, we spoke with a juror from Vallow's trial.

"I feel for those guys. I know what they're about to go through," said Tom Evans.

Evans was one of six alternate jurors in Vallow’s trial. The jury in that case found Vallow guilty of killing JJ and Tylee, in addition to conspiring in Tammy’s death. 

The trial could last eight to 10 weeks, and Evans has advice for the jury

"Get your life in order and be prepared to just put everything else out of your mind, because this is gonna consume every bit of your time," said Evans

Daybell is innocent until proven guilty, as the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. Like Vallow’s trial, however, evidence will be graphic and hard to witness - authorities found JJ and Tylee buried in shallow graves on Daybell’s property, and Tammy died of asphyxiation several months prior. Prosecutors say Daybell and Vallow used dark religious beliefs to justify the murders.

"It's gonna affect them in ways they're not prepared for," said Evans. "I thought that I was prepared for that because I knew it was coming, but you can't prepare for that, even if you know. You can imagine what those pictures are going to be before you see them, but when you see them, you just can’t prepare for that."