'Cult mom' Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell accuse prosecutor of secretly ‘coaching’ sister, dead brother’s wife

The defense for Vallow and Daybell have asked a judge to remove Madison County Special Prosecutor Rob Wood from the case. Vallow's Vallow's two children were found dead in Daybell’s backyard in Salem earlier this year

                            'Cult mom' Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell accuse prosecutor of secretly ‘coaching’ sister, dead brother’s wife
Lori Vallow (L), Chad Daybell (Rexburg Police Department)

Lawyers for 'cult mom' Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell have accused the lead prosecutor in their cases of inappropriate conduct and have requested a judge for his dismissal. Mark Means and John Prior, attorneys for Vallow and Daybell respectively, have both asked a judge to remove Madison County Special Prosecutor Rob Wood from the case. Vallow's children Tylee Ryan, 16, and JJ Vallow, 7, were found dead on Daybell’s property in Salem, Idaho, earlier this year. While neither defendant is charged with murder, they have been charged with felony conspiracy to conceal evidence, and Daybell has been charged with two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence, according to CrimeOnline.

The defense team alleged in a closed hearing on Friday that Wood had attempted to “coerce, unduly influence, coach, and or intimidate” Vallow’s sister, Summer Shiflet, and Vallow’s sister-in-law, Zulema Pastenes, who tied the knot with Vallow’s brother Alex Cox shortly before his sudden death in December 2019. Authorities later determined Cox's death was the result of natural causes, East Idaho News reported.

The defense attorneys reportedly came into possession of audio recordings made at an Arizona police station in October. However, it is yet to be established if the recordings are from the same day as the meeting. Meanwhile, the specifics of how Wood allegedly coached the witnesses are yet to be revealed.

However, Wood has strongly denied the accusations and asked for an expedited hearing on the matter. “At all times, the Madison County Prosecutor’s Office has acted in accordance with the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct and has strived to seek justice in this case while acting in accordance with its duty to protect the rights of the Defendants, Chad and Lori Daybell,” the prosecutor’s office said, per court documents obtained by the Rexburg Standard Journal.

The prosecutor's office also noted that Pastenes' attorney had recorded the police station conversations without informing Wood. “The State has reason to believe that Mr. Smith recorded these conversations, due to the fact that part of the recording with Ms. Pastenes appears to have taken place outside Pastenes’ presence. The State is unaware if Mrs. Shiflett and Ms. Pastenes consented to the recordings or to any disclosure to any third parties,” Wood's office reportedly stated.

Earlier this year, MEAWW reported how Vallow had played the victim when officers had showed up at the family's home to inquire about her children. "I look like a suspect, but I’m a good person," she said. "It's a lot of stuff. It’s very weird. I had to move around a lot. One of my brothers was trying to kill me. I feel like I’m being tracked all the time. I know people are looking for me. I just don’t want to be found." 
Officers had visited Lori's home on November 26 last year when she had tried to prove her innocence. At the time, she also claimed one of her brothers had been trying to kill her, her former sister-in-law had wanted to take her son away, and the family was always on the move to stay safe. 

That said, defense attorneys and the special prosecutor are scheduled to meet for a hearing on January 6 before Idaho District Judge Steven Boyce, who will decide before December 30 whether the hearing will be public.

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