In Idaho, a Tangled Murder Trial Begins

Lori Vallow Daybell, husband are accused of killing two of her children and her spouse's ex-wife
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2023 11:42 AM CDT
Lori Vallow Daybell's Tangled Murder Trial Starts
A boy looks at a memorial for Tylee Ryan and Joshua "JJ" Vallow in Rexburg, Idaho, on June 11, 2020.   (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, File)

Jury selection begins Monday in a high-profile murder trial in Idaho, and one key question is whether the accused—Lori Vallow Daybell—will testify on her own behalf. The case is not only high-profile, it's both tangled and grisly.

  • Victims: Vallow Daybell and husband Chad Daybell are accused of killing Vallow Daybell's two youngest children, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan in 2020. They also are accused killing Chad Daybell's former wife, Tammy. The accused couple married just two weeks after Tammy Daybell's unexpected death in 2019, notes USA Today.
  • Separate trials: Vallow Daybell and her husband have pleaded not guilty and are being tried separately, notes the AP. Chad Daybell's trial comes later. Vallow Daybell's legal team has not said whether she will be put on the stand.

  • Motives: The couple held fringe religious beliefs about a coming doomsday and frequently called the two children "zombies" who were possessed by evil spirits before their deaths. Prosecutors say all three murders were motivated by the financial death benefits the couple would collect as a result.
  • Live coverage: The East Idaho News, which led much of the reporting on the case as it unfolded, is providing live coverage on the trial.
  • Another twist: Vallow Daybell separately faces murder conspiracy charges in the shooting death of her previous husband, Charles Vallow. Vallow Daybell's brother fatally shot him in 2019 in Arizona in what he called self-defense. That case is on hold for the Idaho proceedings.
  • The details: The Idaho Statesman wraps up all of this in a primer.
(More Lori Vallow stories.)

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