Labrador Letter – Daybell Trial

Dear Friends,

As I’m sure many of you have seen on the news, Chad Daybell was convicted last week on all counts, including the murders of Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow, and Tammy Daybell. On Saturday morning, the jury found death to be the appropriate sentence. The prosecutors from Fremont County, Lindsey Blake and Rocky Wixom, and the prosecutor from Madison County, Rob Wood, did a tremendous job, as well as their teams of local investigators.  I’d also like to thank the judge and the jury for their hard work as well. Fairly managing a trial of this magnitude is no small feat for any judge.  As a juror, hearing every disturbing detail of horrific crimes and coming to decisions based on the boundaries of the law is also a difficult yet necessary task. 

When I became Attorney General eighteen months ago, I initiated a new policy that allowed our Criminal Division to assist local prosecutors across the state in complex litigation without demanding that we control the case itself.  We could offer experience and resources to prosecutors and investigators.  The work we do together is far too important to argue over who gets credit.  The Daybell trial is an example of that partnership where we aided local prosecutors and investigators in a monumentally complicated capital murder case. 

Our office had a long and unique relationship with the case, and I want to take this opportunity to recognize the hard work of individuals in our Criminal Law Division that helped make this prosecution and conviction successful:

First and foremost, Ingrid Batey, the Lead Deputy in our Special Prosecutions Unit, worked tirelessly over the last several months to get up to speed on an extraordinarily complicated case and played a critical role as part of the prosecution team at trial. All trials take a lot of time and effort, but a nine-week death penalty trial is on an entirely different level.  Ingrid made a great many personal sacrifices to lend her incredible talent to the prosecution team. The local prosecutors are grateful, and the victims’ families have expressed their thanks as well. 

For all the work that is shown on camera during the trial, it would have been far less compelling without the behind-the-scenes work of Julie Behm.  Julie works diligently as a Paralegal in our Special Prosecutions Unit.  All her hard work doing the scheduling of witness preparation sessions, compiling documents and keeping everything organized allowed the prosecution to achieve successful results.  This was a team effort from start to finish and we are always grateful for the critical help our support staff provides.

Investigators Nick Edwards and Asmir Kararic assisted law enforcement in the lengthy investigation and testified at the trial, displaying professionalism and competence at every turn.  Nick also played the role of a cleanup witness to help the jury understand the case at a high level. Communicating clearly and connecting with a jury as a witness is critical for a successful prosecution and our investigators delivered.

LaMont Anderson and Ken Jorgenson, our lead attorneys in the Capital Litigation and Appellate Units, were the prosecution team’s “phone-a-friend” throughout the trial.  They are both always willing to speak with and try to assist any prosecutor, but having Ingrid serve as the link between the prosecution team and our appellate experts served everyone well.  Their advice not only gave the prosecution team the information they needed for their arguments and trial strategy, it also gave the prosecutors confidence, which feels just as important in the heat of the moment – and that confidence is palpable by the jury who ultimately makes the decisions.

Lastly, I’d like to thank Jeff Nye, our Division Chief in our Criminal Law Division.  His leadership over the last 18 months has been phenomenal. He has increased the performance and morale of the division and added flexibility that allows our office to play a critical role supporting complex prosecutions.  This lets us help our local partners and give them whatever expertise and bandwidth we can offer.

Ultimately, every citizen in Idaho benefits from the teamwork and dedication that was on full display during this arduous trial.  Justice is the cornerstone of our Republic, and everyone should take comfort and confidence in knowing that Idaho is doing it right. These hardworking individuals have my professional respect and my personal gratitude as a citizen of Idaho who wants to see justice done and victims protected. I know this won’t be the end of the Daybell/Vallow story.  Capital cases always come with appeals.  But I’m very proud of our team and the results they have delivered for the victims of these terrible crimes and for the citizens who trust that justice will be pursued with diligence, fairness and competence.  Thank you for letting me share this success with you.

Best regards,

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