“Doomsday Mom” Lori Vallow Daybell Gets Life in Prison Without Parole

Lori Vallow Daybell was given the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole on Monday for the murders of her children, ages 7 and 16, whose reported disappearance in 2019 sparked a nationwide search that ended with their bodies being discovered buried on her husband’s Idaho property. Tylee Ryan was 16 and Joshua “JJ” Vallow was 7.

She was found guilty of grand theft in connection with the children’s stolen Social Security benefits and conspiracy in their killings and the murder of her husband Chad’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, after a trial that lasted for weeks from early April to mid-May.

Life without the possibility of parole was given to her on accusations of murdering JJ and Tylee, as well as conspiracy to murder them and her ex-husband’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Three of the terms of imprisonment must be served simultaneously. For the big theft, she got 10 years in prison and had to pay almost $60,000 in restitution, fines, and other fees.

“You had so many other options. You could have gotten divorced; you could have found someone else to take care of those kids. And as the state was able to prove at trial, you chose the most evil and destructive path possible,” said Judge Steven Boyce, before he imposed the sentence.

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“You justified all of this by going down a bizarre religious rabbit hole, and clearly you are still down there,” he said. Several witnesses stated that Vallow Daybell and her husband Chad Daybell held unusual religious views, including Vallow Daybell’s conviction that demonic spirits had taken over human bodies and turned them into “zombies.”

On Monday, Vallow Daybell chose to make a statement rather than testify in her own defense. “Jesus Christ knows the truth of what happened here. Jesus Christ knows that no one was murdered in this case,” she said. Her “eternal friend” Tammy Daybell and the souls of her murdered children, she said, had spoken to her.

Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of the World, and our Heavenly Parents have spoken to me on numerous occasions. Many angels have visited me, manifested to me, and communicated with me. These interactions have given her confidence that her children are well and occupied in the afterlife. My buddy Tammy Daybell is equally happy and busy, as I know this from our many conversations.

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Rob Wood, the prosecutor, said that Vallow Daybell, 50, should be given a life sentence without the possibility of parole because she murdered her own children and society needs to be protected from her. John Thomas, Daybell’s defense counsel, requested the court for a sentence of 20 years for each of the five counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder.

Colby Ryan, Daybell’s son, submitted a victim impact statement to be read into the record, as did Samantha Gwilliam, Tammy Daybell’s sister, Vicki Hoban, Tammy Daybell’s aunt, and JJ Vallow’s grandmother, Kay Woodcock, thanks to Judge Steven Boyce’s ruling that immediate family members of the victims could offer victim impact statements at the sentencing hearing.

Before testifying herself, Gwilliam read a statement written by her father, Ronald Douglas, on behalf of himself, her mother, Phyllis, who passed away earlier this year, and herself. You plotted her murder just like you planned the killings of your own children and your previous husband.

“She had been murdered by individuals who saw her as a hindrance to a plan. Why? Her voice cracking with emotion”, she asked, “Why plan something so heinous?”

Doomsday Mom Lori Vallow Daybell Gets Life in Prison Without Parole

“Because of the choices you made, my family lost a beloved mother, sister, aunt and daughter. She is irreplaceable; she is 1,000 times the woman you will ever dream of being … because of you and your desire to get what you want at any cost, my family has been ripped apart,” she said.

Hoban, who spoke in depth about her niece, said that Vallow “turned her home, where she lived and slept, into a cemetery for two innocent and beautiful children is one of the most horrific things I could think of. Tammy would have been horrified to know what you’ve done.”

During her speech, Kay Woodcock, Charles Vallow’s sister and JJ Vallow’s biological grandmother, could be heard sniffling and choking up. She referred to Vallow Daybell as a “money-hungry, power-mongering monster.” Woodcock claimed that if she had allowed Tylee and JJ to live, she would have paid Vallow Daybell the $1 million from Vallow’s life insurance.

Instead, according to Woodcock, she choose not to ask. According to Woodcock, greed and a desire to be the center of attention were what kept Vallow Daybell going. “Lori is undeniably a monster. A monster that has not taken any responsibility or shown an ounce of remorse for her vile actions. She deserves to never again breathe oxygen as a member of a free society,” she said.

During the trial, Ryan testified against Vallow Daybell and the jury heard an emotional phone call in which he confronted her about the killings of his children while he was in jail. He claimed, “my siblings and father deserved so much more than this,” in a statement given to the court. I hope that people will remember them for who they were and not as a novelty or news item.

Tylee was a wonderful person who should be remembered for her generosity, humor, and courage. JJ was the kindest, most intelligent, and most entertaining child I’ve ever met. He has earned that respect. There were no witnesses for the defense. A not guilty plea was entered by Vallow Daybell.

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Some witnesses discussed the couple’s eschatological religious views, such as their belief in “zombies” and the exorcism of “evil spirits,” while others described the gory details of the children’s deaths and funerals. Despite Boyce’s efforts to prevent live streaming and filming of the trial, the verdict was aired online.

Alex Cox, Vallow Daybell’s brother, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with the death of their sister-in-law, Charles Vallow, in July 2019. Cox was cleared of all charges after claiming he shot Vallow in self-defense. After the children went missing in December 2019, but before their bodies were discovered on Chad Daybell’s property, he passed away.

In Arizona, Vallow Daybell is being held on a murder conspiracy charge related to his death. In addition, she faces conspiracy charges in Arizona for an attempted shooting in 2019 involving Brandon Boudreaux, the nephew-in-law of Vallow Daybell. The Idaho trial included testimony from Boudreaux.

After her sentencing in Idaho, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office said in May that extradition proceedings will begin. Chad Daybell, who is accused of first-degree murder and conspiracy in Idaho for the murders of Tammy Daybell’s and Vallow Daybell’s children, has forfeited his right to a speedy trial and is now set to stand trial on April 1, 2024. He, unlike his wife, is on death row. They couldn’t talk to each other or plan their defense strategy in advance.

The California Examiner is your best bet for up-to-the-minute coverage of criminal justice news in the Golden State and beyond.

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