Lori Vallow Daybell, a mother from Idaho, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on Monday, following her conviction earlier this year for the mu*rders of two of her children and for conspiring to mu*rder her husband’s first wife.
Vallow Daybell was sentenced to life in prison for the mu*rders of each of her children, Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, as well as for the conspiracy to commit m*urder in the death of Chad Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. The judge ruled that these sentences will be served consecutively, while two additional life sentences and a 10-year sentence for grand theft will be served concurrently.
In May, a jury found her guilty of all charges, including two counts of first-degree m*urder and three counts of conspiracy in the deaths of the children and Tammy Daybell. On Monday, Vallow Daybell’s victims’ loved ones testified eloquently about the lasting impact of her crimes.
“Tylee and JJ brought so much light into this world,” said Colby Ryan, the older brother of Tylee and JJ, in a victim impact statement read by prosecutors.
“Tylee will never have an opportunity to become a mother, wife, or have the career she was destined to have. She’ll never be able to have the life she deserved,” Ryan wrote. “JJ will never be able to grow and spread his light with this world the way he did. He will never have a chance to grow up.”
In determining the defendant’s sentence, Judge Steven W. Boyce stated that he considered the defendant’s lack of a prior criminal record – the “single most mitigating factor” in the case – but also noted that she had been convicted of “the most serious charges” and had shown no remorse.
“Mu*rder is the most heinous crime, and the most unfathomable form of mur*der is a mother mu*rdering her own children,” he told Vallow Daybell. “You were involved and guilty of mu*rder conspiracy… Tammy Daybell, who had her own children. And despite the jury’s conviction based on overwhelming evidence, you continue to deny responsibility in court today.”
Vallow Daybell denied killing her children on Monday, citing religious texts and beliefs.
She stated that she had communicated with Jesus, her children, and her husband’s wife after their deaths, and that they were “happy and extremely busy” in heaven.
Jesus Christ is aware that no one was mu*rdered in this instance,” said Vallow Daybell. “Accidental deaths and suicides occur, as do fatal adverse drug reactions,”
In his ruling, the judge stated, “I do not believe any God from any religion would want this to occur.”
The last time the children were seen was in September 2019, and Tammy Daybell passed away the following month; Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell were wed weeks later. Authorities discovered the remains of Tylee and JJ in Daybell’s backyard in Fremont County in June 2020.
In April 2024, he will be tried separately on two felony counts of conspiracy to destroy, alter, or conceal evidence, as well as two felony counts of destruction, alteration, or concealment of evidence. He entered a not-guilty plea.
“I daily miss my sister. I will mourn her for the remainder of my life. Samantha Gwilliam, sister of Tammy Daybell, stated as much during her own victim impact statement at the Fremont County Courthouse. “I have chosen to forget about you. And as I exit the courtroom, I will d
“I daily miss my sister. I will mourn her for the remainder of my life. Samantha Gwilliam, sister of Tammy Daybell, stated as much during her own victim impact statement at the Fremont County Courthouse. “I have chosen to forget about you. “As I exit the courtroom today, I’ve decided not to think of you again,” Gwilliam said to Vallow Daybell.
What did Lori take away from the world?
During the trial, Vallow Daybell’s attorney Jim Archibald acknowledged his client’s interest in religion, specifically the “end of times,” but he also described her as a “kind and loving mother.” Daybell entered a not guilty plea.
Biblical prophecy is of varying importance to different people. According to East Idaho News, Archibald said in his own opening statement, “Thank God we live in a country where we have the freedom to choose.”
According to the indictment, Vallow Daybell was also found guilty of grand theft for receiving Social Security benefits in the names of her deceased children. East Idaho News reported that prosecutors said she hid the disappearance of her children so she could keep receiving benefits.
According to the court records, after hearing the verdict, Vallow Daybell’s lawyers requested a new trial. As a result of state opposition, the court ruled against the petition.
The events leading up to the Netflix documentary’s focus began in late November 2019 when JJ’s family in Rexburg, Idaho, reported him missing after not hearing from him in some time. When police couldn’t find him at home, Vallow Daybell and Daybell reportedly told them he was staying with a relative in Arizona.
Vallow and Daybell were nowhere to be found the following day when police officers returned to execute the search warrant. They were found months later in Hawaii, in January 2020, while the search for the missing children was unfolding back home.
By that time, Tylee and JJ had been dead for months, according to prosecutors. Madison County prosecutor Rob Wood said Monday that Tylee was believed to have been ki*lled between September 8 and 9, 2019, and JJ between September 22 or 23.
Kay Woodcock, JJ’s grandmother, testified that her regular phone calls with her grandson dropped off after the death of Vallow Daybell’s ex-husband, Charles Vallow, East Idaho News reported.
The last conversation she had with JJ was on August 10, 2019, Woodcock said, when she spoke to him during a short call that lasted less than a minute. She attempted over the next few months to contact her grandson, but never got any response from Vallow Daybell, she said.
During the trial, a lot of information was shared about JJ’s death, Woodcock testified Monday. “Today, I want to share how he lived,” she said, recounting how her grandchild, who was born 10 weeks prematurely, triumphed in his seven years, reading at a middle school level by the time he was 4 years old.
“I continually wonder what he would have become. What type of man would he be? What did Lori deprive the world of?”
Vallow Daybell’s ex-husband was seen in body camera footage released by Arizona police telling authorities as early as January 2019 that he could not get in touch with the children. Their marriage had rapidly deteriorated, he said, adding, “she thinks she’s a resurrected being and a god.”