A juror in “cult mom” Lori Vallow Daybell’s murder trial admits that he was the reason the jury took two days to reach a guilty verdict.
Vallow Daybell was convicted on murder and conspiracy to murder charges in the deaths of two of her children, 7-year-old JJ Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, and Tammy Daybell, the first wife of her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, as CrimeOnline has reported. Daybell is also charged in the cases, but Judge Steven Boyce separated their trials earlier this year and a date for his has not been set.
According to Saul Hernandez, who spoke with ABC News, he wasn’t sure about convicting Vallow Daybell in the death of Tylee Ryan. He was the sole holdout, he said.
“I just didn’t feel like at that timeline with Tylee, we were quite there yet,” he told ABC News. “And if we were, I perhaps was missing it.”
But on the second day, after a thorough review of the evidence, Hernandez said, he agreed.
“Growing up, you talk about good and bad, god and evil. And I think for the first time in my life, I put a face to evil,” Hernandez said in the interview, which aired on Good Morning America.
Prosecutors cast Vallow Daybell as a callow mother who danced on the beach with her new husband while knowing her children were buried on his property in Idaho. Hernandez said he was “disgusted” by those images, which were shown to the jury.
“I didn’t want to look at them,” he said. “I just couldn’t believe how someone can be that happy when your kids are in the ground. And the person that was key in all of this is sitting across from you, smiling at you and dancing with you on the beach.”
Vallow Daybell’s trial was twice delayed when she was declared unfit to assist in her own defense. Through her attorneys, she refused to waive her right to a speedy trial as Daybell had done, so her trial finally began in April.
Defense attorneys laid the blame at the feet of Daybell, her fifth husband, who is the author of numerous “doomsday” religious books and reportedly, along with Vallow Daybell, an adherent of a “doomsday” ideology.
Hernandez said it seemed to him that Vallow Daybell had been curious about such an ideology before meeting Daybell but that it “solidified” once she did.
“They wanted to believe something that only applied and benefited them, only applied and benefited those people they liked, their circle that they liked and they wanted to be around,” Hernandez said.
The juror also said it became progressively “harder and harder” to even look at Vallow Daybell as the trial went on and the evidence mounted.
Vallow Daybell faces life in prison when she is sentenced. Boyce earlier granted a defense motion to take the death penalty off the table.
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[Featured image: Lori Vallow Daybell/Madison County jail]