Judge Steven Boyce denied Lori Vallow Daybell’s motion for retrial Thursday.

Vallow Daybell, convicted in May of the murder of her children and her husband’s then-wife, motioned for a retrial on the grounds that the jury was misdirected and confused by the indictment and jury instructions.

East Idaho News reported Thursday that Vallow Daybell’s attorneys, Jim Archibald and John Thomas, argued in the motion hearing that last-minute amendments to the indictment were confusing for the jury.

The original indictment named Vallow Daybell as one of five co-conspirators which included her husband, Chad Daybell, and her deceased brother, Alex Cox. The other two remained unnamed. At the end of her trial, the state successfully requested that the indictment change include only Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell. 

Boyce ruled against the defense because he said it didn’t change the outcome of the trial. 

“The question is whether or not the defendant had notice about the charge of conspiracy,” Boyce said. “The overt acts did not change. There wasn’t an amendment to the indictment that allowed for any overt acts.”

They also argued that jury instructions were confusing because “and” was replaced by “and/or” in regard to conspiracy charges. Archibald and Thomas also wrote in their filing that Juror No. 8’s interpretation of the evidence from events in Arizona as “demonstrative evidence” showed that he was confused by the instructions.

The juror, Saul Hernandez, was interviewed in May by East Idaho News reporter Nate Eaton. Vallow Daybell’s attorneys filed the motion for a new trial after this interview. 

Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake said that the juror’s own words in a follow-up interview with Eaton dispel the argument that the instructions were unclear.

“I thought the judge gave us instructions throughout the trial – throughout the process – multiple times and those instructions never changed in my opinion – even up to the very last date – up to the moment before we were released to go deliberate,” Hernandez said. “The instructions were clear…”

Archibald and Thomas also contended that Hernandez’s statements during his initial news interview showed outside influence as he referred to things he could not have heard at the trial. Hernandez, in his follow-up interview, responded that the things he referred to were from news he watched after the trial.

Boyce said there was no evidence Hernandez received outside information during the trial and that the “confusing” jury instructions were not grounds for a new trial.

Boyce will sentence Vallow Daybell on July 31.