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Could Lori Vallow Daybell be working on a plea deal?

Posted at 10:14 PM, Aug 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 00:14:34-04

SALT LAKE CITY — In a surprise, super fast court hearing Thursday, Lori Vallow Daybell chirped with quick answers to questions by Judge Faren Eddins.

She agreed to sign away her right to a preliminary hearing, for the charges of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence in the deaths of her children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

These charges are separate from what she could be facing in Arizona, in the death of her late husband Charles Vallow.

"You understand that there will be no preliminary hearing that is currently scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, that will be be vacated. Do you understand that?" Judge Eddins asked.

"Correct," Vallow Daybell answered.

The move comes two days after her husband Chad Daybell's two-day preliminary hearing for the same charges.

In his hearing, law enforcement, FBI and the couple's former close friend Melanie Gibb testified. Prosecutor Rob Wood showed body cam video of Lori talking to police, and played phone calls between Lori and Melanie, and Lori and Chad.

Legal experts say it's possible that's why Lori and her lawyer waived her preliminary hearing.

"One reason may be that they've seen the government's case, because Chad Daybell had his [preliminary hearing]," explained retired FBI special agent Greg Rogers. "So they know what the evidence is."

Rogers is also a private investigator with an attorney's license. He explained that he's helped the FBI prosecute cases.

He indicated that a waiver of a preliminary hearing can also mean a plea deal is in the works.

"I would be very surprised if that wasn't something they were attempting," Rogers said. "It's very, very common in these types of cases."

Rogers described how in criminal cases where a couple is involved, one person can enter a plea deal for a lesser charge, and in exchange they testify against the other person.

"You normally go in it, when you're offering a plea agreement, you're going to go to the one who you think was manipulated," Rogers said. "In this case, it's probably her."

Whatever the reason behind Thursday's waiver, Rogers said it's strategic and calculated.

Lori is next expected to attend a yet-to-be scheduled arraignment hearing.