Madison County Attorney Rob Wood
ST. ANTHONY – Prosecutor Rob Wood denies any wrongdoing in Chad and Lori Daybell’s case following allegations made by lawyers earlier this week.
The recent conflict in the Chad and Lori Daybell case began after Lori’s attorney Mark Means and Chad’s attorney John Prior filed motions to disqualify Wood as prosecutor on the cases. Wood is serving as the Madison County attorney in Lori’s case and as the Fremont County special attorney in Chad’s case.
Defense lawyers claim they recently received an audio recording between Wood and Summer Shiflet, a material witness and Lori’s biological sister. Also on the recording was Zulema Pastenes, another material witness to the case who is a former collaborator of Chad and Lori Daybell. The recordings were made in October at a police station in Arizona.
In his filing, Means claims the recording clearly demonstrated Wood’s “attempt to force Shiflet to inappropriately influence, coach, and / or intimidate”. Regarding Pastenes, Means said the record shows Wood “discussing things that support the state’s position on the case.”
Prior submitted his request for disqualification under Means and it is almost identical to a section of Means request.
Both defense attorneys allege wrongdoing on the part of the prosecutor, which may prevent their clients from conducting a fair trial. They allege Wood broke Idaho code of conduct and claim that his actions could be construed as witness manipulation or intimidation. Means goes on to say that Wood has made himself a material witness in the case and intends to summon the prosecutor as a witness to support this and future requests.
The attorneys are calling on the court to refuse Wood to take any further action on the Chad and Lori Daybell cases.
Wood responded to the requests on Wednesday.
He claims he did not coerce, inappropriately influence, train, or intimidate witnesses. He calls the allegations unfounded and says that both were accompanied by their own legal counsel when they met Shiflet and Pastenas. According to Wood, the meetings were introductory rather than investigative. In addition, the meetings took place prior to interviews with law enforcement agencies in Arizona, which Wood claims not to have attended.
Shiflet and Pastenas’ attorney had no objection to his testimony or questions during the interaction, according to Wood, and he has not done so in the two months since it was recorded. Wood confirms that he did not take the recordings or did not consent to the recording.
Wood is requesting a hearing from the judge on the matter and refusing to extend the time limit for defending these motions.
The audio referenced in this case has not been released by anyone involved in the case.
In addition to responding to Means and Prior’s motion, Wood has requested a temporary warrant designed to prevent the parties, witnesses, potential witnesses, victims, victim / witness coordinators, law enforcement officers, and court staff from disqualifying or discussing the motions the exhibits on social media or with news media. The requested protection order requires that correspondence or communication between parties not be passed on to news media or published on social media.
The Daybells are charged with crimes related to covering up, altering and destroying the bodies of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, Lori’s two children. In June, investigators found the bodies buried on Chad’s property in Salem.
A date for the hearing has not been set.