Judge Faren Eddins of Fremont County decided on the matter of the state of Idaho vs. Chad Guy Daybell that probable cause has been determined.
He stated that there is sufficient evidence for Chad Daybell to need to appear before District Court Judge Steven Boyce. The arraignment will be held on Aug. 21 at 9 a.m. for Chad Daybell’s charges.
Chad Daybell is charged with two counts of Evidence-Destruction, Alteration or Concealment and two counts of Evidence-(Conspiracy) Destruction, Alteration or Concealment.
John Prior, Chad Daybell’s defense attorney, started the second day of the preliminary hearing by cross-examining Melanie Gibbs. Gibbs was Rob Wood’s last witness on the stand at the end of the hearing Aug. 3. Wood represents the state of Idaho in the case.
Prior’s cross-examination focused on Gibbs’s interaction with the Gilbert police and any other law enforcement or FBI interaction she might have had. He questioned if Wood had made any deal with Gibbs in regard to the testimony she gave at the hearing.
Gibbs said there was no deal made and that Wood did not coach her at all in terms of what to say or how to say it at the hearing.
Prior also questioned the nature of the events at which she met Chad and Lori Daybell. After confirming they were religious, Gibbs established that much of her interaction with Chad and Lori Daybell was at their religious meetings.
In Wood’s period of redirect, Gibbs stated that some of the things Lori Daybell believed and Gibbs did not believe were concepts taught by Chad Daybell.
Wood’s next witness was David Warwick, Gibbs’s boyfriend. Warwick claimed that during one of his interactions with Lori Daybell, she said that JJ was acting like a zombie as he climbed up on the fridge and knocked down a picture of Jesus Christ.
Warwick said that Lori Daybell told him JJ’s behavior was so out of control, Alex Cox, Lori Daybell’s brother had to “come get him.”
Both Gibbs and Warwick established that the night of Sept. 22, 2019, Cox carried JJ, who was asleep, into Lori’s bedroom. That was the last they saw him.
Following Warwick’s testimony, Spencer Rammell, representing the state of Idaho with Wood, called Lt. Jared Willmore from Madison County Sheriff’s Office to the stand.
Willmore is responsible for the Telmate system at Madison county jail, the system used by inmates to communicate with outside friends and family.
Rammell presented a recording of a phone call between Chad and Lori Daybell from June 9, the day the search warrant of Chad Daybell’s house occurred.
Eddins said that due to the unclear nature of the recording, he was going to listen to it again before making the ruling.
Wood’s next witness was special agent Steve Daniels. He was the senior agent on the day of the June 9 warrant. Daniels shared that before they got to the property, he and his team set aside three main areas of interest on Chad Daybell’s property: the fire pit area, the pet cemetery and the location of the Cox’s phone pings found on the east side of the property’s pond. Daniels explained to the court the process of digging up and excavating these areas of interest. When digging up one of the “clandestine” graves, Daniels’s team identified by the difference in vegetation around the area. They took it apart layer by layer.
As they excavated the area near the pet cemetery, they found remains later identified as human bones.
During Prior’s cross-examination, he brought up the possibility of a raccoon buried on Chad Daybell’s property near the same location.
The next four witnesses, Lt. Joe Powell with Fremont County Sheriff’s Department, Detective Bruce Mattingly with Fremont County Sheriff’s Department, Gary Lyu with the FBI, and Benjamin Dean with the FBI, were all inquired to prove the evidence for the case was properly transported and nothing was changed.
In Dean’s testimony, he talked about his investigation of Tammy Daybell, Chad Daybell’s deceased wife, and her phone. He mentioned the communication Chad and Tammy Daybell had via text message, including texts from Chad Daybell on Sept. 9, 2019, letting Tammy Daybell know that he had burned stuff on their property, then shot and buried a raccoon.
This communication caught Dean’s attention because previously he had been searching for tips from individuals visiting Yellowstone on Sept. 8, 2019, the last day Tylee Ryan was seen alive.
At the conclusion of the state’s witnesses, both Wood and Prior were given the opportunity to give closing statements.
Prior asked that the court dismiss the charges on the premise that marriage does not imply conspiracy. Wood highlighted that in all four counts Chad Daybell is charged with, there is sufficient evidence to require him to be judged by the district court.
“This court as the finder of fact is entitled to a reasonable inference based on the state of the bodies of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan that they were victims of a homicide,” Wood said to the court.
Lori Daybell’s preliminary hearing for her two felony counts of Evidence-(Conspiracy) Destruction, Alteration or Concealment will take place in Fremont county on Aug. 10 at 9 a.m.