(BOISE, Idaho) — Lori Vallow Daybell is set to be sentenced on Monday for the killing of two of her children in what prosecutors argued was a doomsday plot.
Vallow Daybell, 50, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder for the 2019 deaths of her children, Joshua “J.J.” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, whose remains were found on an Idaho property belonging to her husband, Chad Daybell, following a monthslong search.
She was also found guilty of conspiring to kill her children and her husband’s first wife, Tamara Daybell, who died on Oct. 19, 2019, less than a month before Lori and Chad married in Hawaii.
She faces up to life in prison without parole. The judge had previously granted the defense’s motion to dismiss the death penalty in the case.
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:
Jul 31, 11:03 AM EDT
Who the court is allowing to speak at the sentencing
Multiple people sought to give victim impact statements at Monday’s sentencing hearing on behalf of Tylee Ryan, J.J. Vallow and Tamara Daybell, according to a June court filing.
Those granted permission to address the court include Colby Ryan, the half-brother to Tylee and adoptive brother to J.J.; Summer Shiflet, the sister of Lori Vallow Daybell; and Kay Woodcock, a representative of Charles Vallow, who was J.J.’s adoptive father and Lori Vallow Daybell’s late husband. Vicki Hoban, the aunt of Tamara Daybell, was also later granted permission to speak as a designated representative of Tamara Daybell’s late mother.
Idaho law allows the “immediate family members” of homicide victims to address the court.
It was unclear ahead of the hearing who was scheduled to address the court.
Jul 31, 10:59 AM EDT
Defense request for a new trial was denied
Ahead of Lori Vallow Daybell’s sentencing, defense attorneys unsuccessfully sought a new trial.
On May 25, the defense filed a motion for a new trial, arguing that the jury instructions were “confusing” and “prejudicial,” among other claims.
Judge Steven Boyce denied the request for a new trial on June 15.
The jury handed down its verdict in mid-May, after deliberating for approximately six hours across two days. The verdict was read before a packed Boise courtroom and also livestreamed by the court.
The verdict followed a six-week trial during which prosecutors argued that Lori Vallow Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell thought the children were zombies and murdered them. Prosecutors called roughly 60 witnesses, while the defense called none.
Prosecutors said at the time they were “very pleased” with the jury’s verdict but declined to comment further given the pending case against Chad Daybell. His case is scheduled to go to trial in April 2024.
Jul 31, 10:56 AM EDT
Sentencing comes nearly four years after children disappeared
Joshua “J.J.” Vallow and Tylee Ryan were last seen alive in September 2019 and were reported missing by their extended family members to police in November 2019.
Their remains were found on Chad Daybell’s property in Fremont County, Idaho, in June 2020. Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell were indicted on murder charges nearly a year later.
Among the revelations during Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial, a DNA expert testified for the state that a strand of hair attached to duct tape found among the remains matched the mother’s DNA profile.
The jury also heard text messages that prosecutors said were sent between Lori Vallow Daybell and her husband in the weeks prior to her children’s disappearance.
The messages discussed demons inhabiting the children’s bodies and that they were “weary” taking care of demons. Lori Vallow Daybell reportedly texted her husband to “please ask the Lord to take them” and, days later, if he thinks there is a “perfectly orchestrated plan to take the children,” to which he reportedly responded, “There is a plan being orchestrated for the children.”
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