Vallow-Daybell asks judge to drop death penalty
FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - The trial for Lori Vallow-Daybell is set to start in less then a month in Ada County, and as her defense gets ready, they are asking the judge to drop the death penalty against her.
In a motion filed on March 5, Vallow-Daybell's attorneys say Judge Steven W. Boyce should dismiss the death penalty for the following reasons:
- Media saturation of this case is still persistent.
- There have been multiple discovery violations by the government in this case.
- The government wanting to kill a mentally ill person is a troubling thought.
- The State of Idaho doesn't have chemicals to kill people on death row.
"This is a capital murder case, and heightened scrutiny applies to the government’s actions when it seeks to kill a defendant. For these reasons, and for the reasons previously stated in motions previously heard but not ruled upon yet by this Court, the Court should dismiss the death penalty in this case," the motion said.
A motion hearing has been scheduled for March 15.
You can view the full motion below.
Judge Boyce also issued orders for conduct at the Madison County viewing location and the Ada County viewing location. You can view those below.
Vallow-Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell have pleaded not guilty to murder, conspiracy and grand theft charges in connection with the deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and Tylee Ryan, who was last seen a few days before her 17th birthday in September 2019. They are also charged in connection with the October 2019 death of Chad Daybell's late wife, Tammy Daybell. They could face the death penalty if convicted.
In the alibi notice, Vallow-Daybell's attorneys said she was in her own apartment in Rexburg when Tylee and JJ died at a nearby apartment where her brother, Alex Cox lived. The attorneys said she was with a couple of friends, “and/or Chad Daybell.” Her attorneys have also argued that she was in Hawaii with other friends when Chad Daybell's previous wife died the next month.
Attorneys for Chad Daybell haven't offered details about his planned defense, other than saying in court last November that Daybell and Vallow-Daybell will have “mutually antagonistic defenses” — a legal term that generally means a jury would have to disbelieve one defendant in order to believe the other.
Idaho law enforcement officers started investigating the couple in November 2019 after extended family members reported that the children were missing. During that period, police said the couple lied about the children’s whereabouts. Their bodies were found buried later on Chad Daybell’s property in rural Idaho.
Chad and Lori Daybell married just two weeks after his previous wife, Tammy Daybell, died unexpectedly. Tammy Daybell’s death was initially reported as due to natural causes, but investigators had her body exhumed after growing suspicious when Chad Daybell quickly remarried.
Vallow-Daybell is also separately charged with conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona in connection with the July 2019 death of her previous husband, Charles Vallow. He was shot and killed by Vallow-Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, who claimed it was self-defense.
The Arizona legal proceedings are on hold while the Idaho case is underway.
Court documents suggest things began to unravel for the family in early 2019, when Lori was still married to Charles Vallow. The couple were estranged, and Vallow had filed for divorce, saying he feared she would kill him and that she had developed cult-like beliefs. He said she claimed to be “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020.”
The family was living in a Phoenix suburb in July 2019 when Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed Vallow. He asserted that the shooting was in self-defense after Vallow came at him with a baseball bat. Police investigated, but the case didn’t go far before Cox died of a blood clot in his lung later that year.
Lori Vallow-Daybell moved to Idaho with the kids after her late husband's death, getting an apartment in the small town of Rexburg and spending time with Chad Daybell. The couple had known each other for a while, sometimes participating in podcasts about preparing for the biblical end times for an online organization aimed at members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Alex Cox also moved to Rexburg for a while that fall before returning to Arizona, where he died.
Meanwhile, JJ’s grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock of Louisiana, were growing increasingly worried about the kids, whom they weren’t able to reach on the phone. They said Lori Daybell wouldn’t tell them why the boy was always unavailable, and they asked police to check on the family.
Friends of the couple later told law enforcement investigators that the pair believed people could be taken over by dark spirits, and that Vallow-Daybell referred to her children as “zombies,” a term they used to describe those who were possessed.
Prosecutors say the couple promoted the unusual beliefs to further their alleged plot to kill family members and steal their money, including the kids' social security benefits.
Vallow-Daybell was arrested in Hawaii in February 2020, and Daybell was arrested in June of that year. Since that time, the pair have spoken by phone only once, Vallow-Daybell's attorneys Jim Archibald and John Thomas wrote.
You can view a timeline of events and all our past stories on Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow-Daybell HERE.