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Prosecutors Seeking Death Penalty Against Lori Vallow for Alleged Murders of Children, Conspiracy to Kill Husband’s Previous Wife

Lori Vallow Daybell is seen in an April 2022 mugshot.

Lori Vallow Daybell is seen in an April 2022 mugshot.

Prosecutors finally set the stakes in the murder case against controversial Idaho woman Lori Norene Vallow, 48, aka Lori Norene Daybell. They are seeking the death penalty for her allegedly murdering her son Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and daughter Tylee Ryan, 16, as well as conspiring to murder her husband’s previous wife Tammy Daybell, 49.

The state filed its intentions on Monday. They say the murders were done for “remuneration,” and were “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel.” Lori Vallow displayed “utter disregard for human life,” they argued. Authorities have said that Vallow collected social security benefits on behalf of her slain children, and her co-defendant Chad Daybell, 53, collected insurance benefits from Tammy’s death.

On top of that, prosecutors maintain she will likely remain a threat to the public.

“The defendant, by her conduct, whether such conduct was before, during or after the commission or the murder(s) at hand, has exhibited a propensity to commit murder which will probably constitute a continuing threat to society,” prosecutors wrote.

The trial is set for Oct. 11, after her defense refused to waive her right to a speedy trial, sandbagging the state’s efforts to try her together with husband Daybell. Chad, who is allegedly the one who killed wife Tammy, is set for trial to start in Jan. 9, 2023. The cases against Lori Vallow ended up out of sync with her husband after the court determined she was incompetent for trial. The judge determined on April 11 that she was restored, able to participate in her defense.

Prosecutors said in another motion Monday that splitting the trials would be “an improper severance.” They maintain the cases are for all practical purposes inextricable because they deal with the same set of facts. Authorities have suggested that the couple, who married mere days after Tammy’s death and amid the children’s disappearances, worked together with Lori’s now-deceased brother Alex Cox, who passed away in December 2019 of what authorities called a blood clot.

In a case filled with supernatural themes, Chad allegedly graded Lori’s family on whether they had light of dark spirits. Her previous husband Charles Vallow reached out to police in Gilbert, Arizona, for help in January 2019, months before Cox shot and killed him.

“She’s lost her mind,” he said. “I don’t know how else to say it. We’re LDS [Latter-day Saints]. She thinks she’s a resurrected being and a god, and member of the 144,000.” She asserted that Jesus was “coming next year,” according to his account.

Lori, sometimes referred to as “cult mom,” is charged in Arizona with conspiring to murder him.

In light of the upcoming October trial date to take place in Ada County, Idaho, the state suggests that it would actually be to Lori’s benefit if they pushed back the case to January. From their motion:

There has been no assertion by the Defendant Vallow Daybell of any impairment to her defense in relation to a delay of trial. In fact, there are multiple outstanding pre-trial motions that have not been addressed, co-counsel has been recently appointed, and discovery is yet to be completed. Certainly, the parties and the Court could make extraordinary efforts to address all pre-trial litigation, review extensive discovery and prepare for the logistics of conducting trial in another county in October. However, such efforts are likely to be at the cost of preparing an adequate defense, not to mention any other cases or defendants that may suffer delay as a result of limited attorney and judicial resources. Without an allegation from the defense that there would be impairment to Defendant Vallow Daybell’s defense from the limited delay suggested here, this factor must weigh against the Defendant’s asserted speedy trial right.

[Booking photo via Madison County Sheriff’s Office]

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