Chad Daybell verdict: Jury finds doomsday author guilty of murdering ‘cult mom’ Lori Vallow’s kids

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An Idaho jury on Friday found Chad Daybell, husband of so-called “cult mom” Lori Vallow, guilty of murdering two of her children and his first wife in 2019.

The jury convicted Daybell on all nine counts, including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, insurance fraud and grand theft.

Daybell, 55, and Vallow, 50, are at the center of multiple murder cases involving not only Vallow’s two children but both her and Daybell’s deceased ex-spouses. Last year, a Fremont County jury found Vallow guilty on multiple counts, including two counts of first-degree murder, for the 2019 disappearances and deaths of 7-year-old J.J. Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, with help from her husband. 

The pair also conspired to kill Tammy Daybell, Chad Daybell’s first wife, in October 2019. They were initially scheduled to have a joint trial, but Daybell’s defense attorneys got a separate trial for the self-published author in 2022, citing “mutually antagonistic defenses” between the two cases.

CHAD DAYBELL TRIAL: LORI VALLOW’S HUSBAND SEEKS DIFFERENT OUTCOME FROM ‘CULT MOM’ OVER KIDS’ KILLINGS

But prosecutors have argued in both Vallow’s and Daybell’s cases that the desire for “money, power and sex” is what drove the duo to kill Vallow’s two children and Daybell’s first wife. Vallow and Daybell also stole J.J. and Tylee’s Social Security benefits between Oct. 1, 2019, when they disappeared, and Jan. 22, 2020, after they were murdered.

The two children were found dead in shallow graves on Chad Daybell’s Rexburg, Idaho, property in June 2020, months after they disappeared from their home in September 2019. The 16-year-old’s remains were burned while the 7-year-old was bound in duct tape.

LORI VALLOW TRIAL: ‘CULT MOM’ SENTENCED IN MURDERS OF 2 OF HER CHILDREN, HUSBAND’S FIRST WIFE

Lori Vallow Daybell in court

The Ada County coroner testified that J.J. died of asphyxiation by a plastic bag and Tylee died of homicide by unknown means due to the fact that her remains were dismembered and badly burned before they were buried.

After their children disappeared, Vallow and Daybell ran off to Hawaii to get married. Authorities arrested Vallow in February 2020 and Daybell in June 2020.

LORI VALLOW TRIAL: HEAR ‘CULT MOM’ AND HER SISTER SPEAK AFTER VALLOW’S CHILDREN FOUND DEAD

Joshua Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17, are being sought by police in Rexberg, Idaho. Investigators are saying their mother, Lori Daybell, knows what happened to them but refuses to cooperate.

Despite prosecutors’ emphasis on money, power and sex, there is a cult-like, religious undertone to the couple’s criminal behavior. They met in 2018 at a religious conference where they bonded over their apocalyptic beliefs and the idea that they had been married in a past life, as FOX 10 Phoenix first reported.

They referred to each other as biblical figures named James and Elena and discussed their beliefs that people can have light or dark spirits – some so dark that they could be considered zombies who needed to be removed from Earth, prosecutors said, according to FOX 10.

LORI VALLOW TRIAL: IDAHO CORONER REVEALS JJ VALLOW AND TYLEE RYAN’S CAUSE OF DEATH

Chad Daybell, Tammy Daybell and Lori Vallow

Daybell has written several apocalyptic novels based loosely on Mormon theology. Both were involved in a group that promotes preparedness for the biblical end times.

Vallow was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on five separate counts in July.

HAWAII POLICE SERVE SUBPOENA TO BIKINI-CLAD LORI VALLOW RELAXING POOLSIDE: VIDEO

During her sentencing in August 2023, Vallow told the courtroom that her deceased children were “happy” and “busy.”

WATCH:

“I have had many communications with Jesus Christ, savior of this world, and our heavenly parents. I have had many angelic visitors have come and communicated with me and even manifested themselves to me because of these communications,” Vallow said at the time. “I know for a fact that my children are happy and busy in the spirit world. Because of my communications with my friend, Tammy Daybell, I know that she is also very happy and extremely busy.”

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She added that she has “always mourned the loss” of her “loved ones” and has “lost many in this mortal world” with whom she believes she is still in communication in the spirit world.

Lori Vallow sitting poolside in a blue bikini next to Chad Daybell

Judge Steven Boyce later told Vallow that she has “mental health issues.” Her current diagnosis from February states that Vallow suffers from a “delusional disorder” mixed with “hyper-religiosity” and a “continuous and unspecified personality disorder” with narcissistic features.

“You removed your children from their home in Arizona, alienated them from friends and family… and you brought them here to murder them. You had so many other options.… You chose the most evil and destructive path possible,” Judge Steven Boyce said during Vallow’s sentencing hearing. “I don’t think to this day you have any remorse for the effort and heartache you caused.”

Officials extradited Vallow to Arizona, where she faces one first-degree murder charge and one premeditated first-degree murder charge in Maricopa County, in November 2023.

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