On Thursday, Judge Steven Boyce denied attorney John Prior's motion to withdraw from Chad Daybell's death penalty case.
In a motion filed last week, Prior listed multiple reasonsfor wanting to withdraw from the case. One reason stated Chad Daybell had been unable to pay Prior for his legal services, which would leave Prior uncompensated for work.
The trial was scheduled to begin on April 1. Prior also argued he was unable to argue a death penalty case, Scripps News Salt Lake City reported. Judge Steven Boyce heard arguments from Prior, who claimed that because he was working alone, he hadn't had time to effectively prepare for the case.
State prosecutors argued that Prior was changing the reasoning for the motion and that it was a "veiled motion to continue" and delay the case, according to court documents reported on by Scripps News Salt Lake City.
Prior said he had attempted to hire an additional attorney to assist with the case, but had been unable to secure services. Before denying the motion, Boyce expressed his concerns over allowing Prior to leave the case, saying the trial could possibly experience a year or more of delays if new attorneys were forced to prepare for the trial.
While the judge said Prior's argument about not being paid was valid, it was not enough to rule in favor of his motion to leave the case.
The state added that Prior had been aware of Daybell's financial situation after it was discussed during proceedings in January 2023, Scripps News Boise reported.
Daybell faces the death penalty and three first-degree murder charges for the deaths of JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan, and Tammy Daybell. His wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, was convicted for her involvement in the crimes in 2023 and is currently serving three life sentences while awaiting trial for additional charges in Arizona.
This story was originally published by Cory Kwan and Kelsie Rose at Scripps News Boise with additional reporting from Jeff Tavss at Scripps News Salt Lake City and additions from Scripps News.
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