Death Penalty Sought for ‘Cult Mom’ Lori Vallow, Who Will Stand Trial for Murdering 2 Children

Court filings from Monday show that Idaho prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Lori Vallow-Daybell, who will stand trial for murdering her two children and her husband’s first wife.

According to East Idaho News, Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsay Blake and Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood both stated that they will seek capital punishment if Vallow-Daybell was convicted of any of the counts of first-degree murder or conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. Vallow-Daybell is accused of killing her son and daughter, Joshua Vallow, 7,  and Tylee Ryan, 16, and Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell;

The children’s remains were found on her husband’s property in June 2020, nine months after their disappearance. The husband, Chad Daybell, is facing the same charges in connection with the three slayings.

According to East Idaho News, prosecutors said the couple is eligible for the death penalty as their actions were influenced by financial gain, the murders were “especially heinous, atrocious, cruel, or manifesting exceptional depravity,” their actions exhibited “an utter disregard for human life,” and the defendants showed a propensity to commit murder.

Vallow-Daybell — who is believed to have been involved in a so-called doomsday cult  — allegedly told a friend that her children had become zombies and the only way to exorcise their bodies of evil spirits was to kill them.

Vallow-Daybell is also charged in Arizona with conspiracy to commit murder in connection with her first husband, Charles Vallow, who was fatally shot by Vallow-Daybell’s brother in 2019.

Vallow-Daybell was found incompetent to stand trial in June 2021, leading to her case being put on hold as her competency was restored. NBC reported that there is no insanity defense in Idaho, though state law requires a defendant to understand the charges against them. Her mental competency was restored last month.

Vallow-Daybell and Chad Daybell’s joint trial is scheduled to begin in January 2023. During the April 19 hearing, prosecutors argued that holding the trial in Fremont County is cheaper than moving the trial to Ada County.

East Idaho News reported that though Vallow-Daybell and Chad Daybell are expected to stand trial together, Vallow-Daybell did not waive her right to a speedy trial, leading the judge to schedule her trial three months before her husband’s. They have pleaded not guilty to all charges.

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[Featured image: Lori Vallow-Daybell/Madison County jail]