A jury in Idaho found Lori Vallow Daybell guilty Friday of murdering her two children and conspiring to murder her husband’s ex-wife, drawing widespread attention to what prosecutors described as “doomsday” religious beliefs. .
The date of sentencing has not been set. Before the trial began, Judge Steven Boyce of the Seventh Judicial District urged lawyers for Ms. Vallo Daybell to take the death penalty off the table.
After years of delay, the trial began on April 3 in Boise, Idaho. Ms Valo Daybell was initially declared not competent to stand trial and had to undergo psychiatric treatment.
In opening statements, prosecutors described her as a careless mother who believed she was on a “religious mission” that she considered more important than taking care of her children.
Prosecutors said they believed their children were “corpses” possessed by evil spirits.
In the weeks leading up to the trial, as of Wednesday, prosecutors had called about 60 witnesses, according to Fox 10, a local news station. Final arguments were made on Thursday.
Boise State Public Radio reported that Ms. Valo Daybell did not testify in her own defense, and her attorneys rested their case without calling a single witness. His attorneys told the judge they do not believe the state has proved its case.
Judge Boyce had banned cameras from the courtroom throughout the trial at the request of Ms Valo Daybell’s lawyers. But he allowed the judgment to be streamed online on Friday.
Ms. Vallo Daybell, 49, and her husband, Chad Daybell, 54, were indicted by a grand jury, and pleaded not guilty in connection with the deaths of Ms. Vallo Daybell, two children, Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua did. Valo, 7, better known as JJ
In addition to pleading guilty to first-degree murder in the children’s deaths, and grand larceny, Ms. Vallo Daybell was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of Tammy Daybell, Mr. Daybell’s ex-wife. , Mr Daybell has been charged with first-degree murder in that death.
After the verdict was read, JJ’s grandfather, Larry Woodcock, told reporters outside the courthouse that he was heartbroken.
“Right from the beginning, two kids started going missing, and I stood up and said: ‘Where are the kids? Where are the kids? Where are the kids?'” Mr Woodcock said. Planned so that he could ask Ms. Vallow Daybell directly: “Why, Lori? Why, Lori? Why?”
Tilley and JJ were reported missing in November 2019 by JJ’s grandparents. Officers from the Rexburg Police Department in Idaho attempted a welfare check and later executed a search warrant at the apartment complex of Ms. Vallo Daybell and her husband, but officers said the couple seemed unconcerned with the children’s whereabouts.
In February 2020, Ms. Valo Daybell was arrested in Hawaii on a warrant issued by authorities in Idaho who, they said, had not cooperated with the effort to find the missing children. In June 2020, investigators found buried human remains on Mr. Daybell’s property in Idaho, which were later identified as those of his wife’s missing children.
At Ms. Valo Daybell’s trial, Detective Ray Hermosillo of the Rexburg Police Department described photographs of the children’s remains. A DNA analyst testified that hair sticking out of the duct tape wrapping JJ’s body matched that of his mother, according to The Associated Press.
Former friends of Ms Valo Daybell spoke at the trial about the couple’s alleged religious beliefs. One, Melanie Gibb, said Ms. Valo Daybell believed that evil spirits could turn people into “zombies” by taking over their bodies, and she called JJ and Tilley “zombies”, the AP reported.
Detective Hermosillo said at trial that Tilley’s remains had been burned and packed in a bucket that had been buried elsewhere on Mr. Daybell’s property.
Mr. Daybell was arrested and charged with concealing evidence, and both he and Ms. Vallo Daybell have been in custody since being arrested. Both were facing separate cases.
Tammy Daybell was found dead in her Idaho home in October 2019. Authorities initially said she appeared to have died of natural causes, but it was only after her body was exhumed in December that authorities began to question the circumstances of her death and its possible connection. The disappearance of Ms. Vallo Daybell’s children.
At the start of the trial, prosecutors revealed in court that an autopsy later determined that Tammy Daybell had died of asphyxiation. Mr Daybell increased the amount of coverage in a life insurance policy for her, a month before she died in September 2019. Ms. Vallo Daybell and Mr. Daybell married shortly after the death of their spouses.
Daybell still faces the death penalty, although the state of Idaho has not executed any inmates since 2012, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.
The murders were the subject of a Lifetime movie, “Doomsday Mom: The Lori Vallow Story,” and a Netflix documentary series, “Sins of Our Mother.”