A juror in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial defended his adherence to jury rules on Tuesday after the convicted Rexburg mother filed for a new trial.
On May 12, an Ada County jury found Vallow Daybell guilty of three counts of first-degree murder for two of her children — JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan — and her husband’s then-wife, Tammy Daybell.
Vallow Daybell’s attorneys, Jim Archibald and John Thomas, argued in the motion that her case meets three of the seven circumstances that allow for a retrial in Idaho.
(2) When the jury has received any evidence out of court other than that resulting from a view of the premises,
(5) When the court has misdirected the jury in a matter of law or has erred in the decision of any question of law arising during the course of the trial,
(6) When the verdict is contrary to law or evidence.
Nate Eaton of EastIdahoNews.com interviewed Saul Hernandez, juror #8, five days after the jury announced its verdict.
In the interview, Hernandez told Eaton that he wondered if the Idaho murders would have occurred had Arizona law enforcement taken more action concerning certain “red flags.”
During the trial, the state presented evidence regarding Vallow Daybell’s connection to the 2019 killing of her then-husband, Charles Vallow, and the attempted murder of her ex-nephew-in-law, Brandon Boudreaux — both of which occurred in Arizona. Vallow Daybell currently faces charges for conspiracy in those crimes.
The jury was instructed not to use the Arizona-related evidence in determining guilt.
During the East Idaho News interview, however, Eaton prompted Hernandez for a specific example regarding his statement. Hernandez then told Eaton that the jury was respectful of the rules and did not consider Arizona’s events in its deliberations, as they were only for demonstrative purposes.
Eaton then asked Hernandez if the red flags he mentioned came after Charles Vallow’s death.
“Before and after,” Hernandez said.
“Before and after, yes, you’re right, before he was shot, with the body cam,” Eaton replied.
Eaton alluded to an incident caught on police body camera footage in January 2019 when Charles Vallow contacted Gilbert, Arizona police to express his concern for the safety of his children. Vallow told officers that Lori had previously threatened him and told him a demon possessed his body. Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, killed Charles Vallow seven months later.
This incident and its accompanying video evidence were not presented at trial, a fact the defense used in its motion to conclude that Hernandez relied on information that was not submitted in court.
The attorneys also wrote that the Arizona evidence was not for demonstrative purposes and that Hernandez’s statement shows that the jury instructions were “confusing.”
The defense said that evidence was to “show some other reason other than bad character” and that the “demonstrative evidence” was the summary evidence presented by law enforcement witnesses.
Hernandez defended the jury’s process and understanding of the court’s instructions, however, in a follow-up interview with Eaton Tuesday.
“My fellow jurors and I — I feel we did a very good job,” Hernandez told Eaton. “We were fair to the process, we were honest to the process and we didn’t render our decision lightly in any of the charges.”
Hernandez disagreed that the instructions were confusing, saying that the jurors understood them clearly and they referred to them “a number of times” as they deliberated.
A motion hearing is scheduled for June 15.
Vallow Daybell’s sentencing is scheduled for July 31.