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Prosecutor in Daybell case vows to file conspiracy to commit murder charges

Defense attorneys for Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow accuse Rob Wood of prosecutorial misconduct
Rob Wood Daybells.jpg
Posted at 11:15 AM, Jan 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-07 21:51:29-05

ST. ANTHONY, Idaho — Prosecutor Rob Wood has promised to file conspiracy to commit murder charges against Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow after the bodies of her two children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, were found buried in Chad Daybell's backyard last June.

“We are not shy about that," Wood said. "(Chad Daybell) did not care who died, who got hurt. He did not care at all.”

Although the charges have not yet been filed, conspiracy to commit murder carries the potential for the death penalty in Idaho.

Wood indicated that he, personally, is not hoping for the death penalty.

Wood made the statements as part of a recording that is being used as evidence in an effort to throw Wood off the case for prosecutorial misconduct.

Defense attorneys John Prior and Mark Means, the attorneys who represent Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow respectively, accuse Wood of misconduct in his conversation with Lori Vallow's sister Summer Shiflet.

In the recording played during the hearing, Wood is heard telling Shiflet that Chad Daybell is "wimpy," about to "pee his pants."

Wood also described Chad Daybell as "extremely manipulative," to which Shiflet agreed.

"I'm not going to say he's highly intelligent," Wood stated.

Wood told Shiflet that Chad Daybell was responsible for feeding Lori Vallow false religious beliefs.

As a witness at the hearing, Shiflet's attorney, Garrett Smith, said he recorded the conversation between Wood and his client because he was "bothered by it to the point where I called Mr. Means and said you need to be aware of a few things."

Prior said the recording is proof that Wood was inappropriately trying to manipulate or influence a material witness in the case by sharing with Shiflet that he is a practicing member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

“You wouldn’t do that in front of a jury." said Smith. "Doing that in front of a witness who hasn’t testified is concerning.”

Later in the recording, Wood criticizes Means to Shiflet, telling them that “he’s never done any meaningful criminal work at all. He doesn’t know what he’s doing."

Dr. James Davidson, a forensic psychologist and expert witness hired by Means, compiled a 24-page report on the case. He concluded that Wood's conversation with Shiftlet may have led to the manipulation of a witness, agreeing that Wood may have "tainted the witness' testimony."

Dr. Samuel Newton, an attorney and law professor at the University of Idaho, testified that he is particularly concerned about Rob Wood's actions related to Rule 3.3, Rule 3.4, Rule 4.2, and Rule 8.4 of the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct.

Newton stated he felt that Wood's conversation with Shiflet may have been a "back door" method to incentivize the witness to get Lori Vallow to "turn" on Chad Daybell in order to avoid the death penalty.

During the recorded conversation, Shiflet asked Wood about the status of Tylee Ryan's autopsy.

"She is at the FBI's state of the art crime lab," Wood responded. "Unfortunately there are a lot of deceased bodies there... We may never know (the cause of death) due to the destruction of that body."

FOX 13 first reported the Idaho Attorney General was investigating Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow for "conspiracy, attempted murder and or murder" related to the death of Tammy Daybell.

Tammy Daybell was the first wife of Chad Daybell. She reportedly died in her sleep at the Daybell home in Salem, Idaho on October 19, 2019.

The Daybell family "refused" to have an autopsy performed at that time.

A few months later, in December, Tammy Daybell's body was exhumed from the Springville Cemetery in Utah for further investigation.

The results of her autopsy have not yet been released.

Judge Steven Boyce will not make a decision on whether to disqualify Wood from prosecuting the case until after closing arguments, which are scheduled for Friday at 1:00 p.m.