Lori Vallow Daybell, an Idaho mother, has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murders of her two youngest children and conspiracy to murder a romantic rival. The sentencing took place at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. Anthony, Idaho.
Vallow Daybell, 50, was found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy charges in May. The jury agreed with prosecutors who argued that she wanted to eliminate her youngest children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua Jaxon “JJ” Vallow, as part of a plan to start a new life with her husband, Chad Daybell. She was also convicted of conspiring to murder Tammy Daybell, Chad's ex-wife.
The case centered around Vallow Daybell's belief in bizarre doomsday prophecies. She claimed to have had an out-of-body, near-death experience while giving birth to Tylee, which she said allowed her to communicate with people in Heaven, including her deceased relatives and Jesus Christ. She insisted that her children were “happy and busy in the spirit world” and that Tammy Daybell was also “very happy and extremely busy.”
During the trial, Vallow Daybell's defense attorney argued that there was no evidence directly linking her to the killings. He portrayed her as a loving and protective mother whose life took a dark turn when she became involved with Chad Daybell and his apocalyptic religious beliefs. The defense suggested that Chad Daybell and Vallow Daybell's brother, Alex Cox, were responsible for the deaths.
In addition to the murder charges, Vallow Daybell is also facing charges in Arizona. She is charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the attempted shooting of her niece's former husband, Brandon Boudreaux, and conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow.
The sentencing hearing was emotional, with family members of the victims delivering impact statements. Tylee and JJ's older brother, Ryan, expressed his grief and the loss of his siblings' bright futures. He said that his children would never know their uncle, aunt, or grandfather, and that Tylee would never have the opportunity to become a mother or pursue her chosen career. He described the light that his siblings brought into the world and the impact their loss has had on their family.
Judge Steven Boyce, in delivering the sentence, condemned Vallow Daybell's actions as the most evil and destructive path possible. He criticized her for choosing murder as a solution and justifying it with her bizarre religious beliefs. He stated that she had many other options available to her, such as divorce or finding someone to care for her children. Boyce ultimately sentenced Vallow Daybell to life in prison without parole.
Vallow Daybell's defense attorney requested a different sentence, asking for a fixed term of 20 years followed by an indeterminate term of life. He argued that this would meet the goals of punishment and societal protection while allowing for hope.
The case of Lori Vallow Daybell has captivated the nation with its bizarre and tragic details. The sentencing brings some closure to the victims' families, but the impact of these crimes will be felt for years to come.
0. “‘Jesus Understands Me': Lori Vallow Addresses Court Before Life Sentence” Newsweek, 1 Aug. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/jesus-understands-me-lori-vallow-addresses-court-before-life-sentence-1816528
1. “Lori Vallow Daybell is sentenced in ‘zombie' murders of her 2 children in Idaho” NPR, 31 Jul. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/07/31/1191058640/vallow-lori-daybell-sentence-murder-doomsday
2. “Lori Vallow Daybell sentenced to life in prison for deaths of her 2 children, husband’s former wife” WSOC Charlotte, 31 Jul. 2023, https://www.wsoctv.com/news/trending/lori-vallow-daybell-be-sentenced-deaths-her-2-children-husbands-former-wife/LS3JAMKXWRAQTBMWM4UXKWMYGQ/
3. “Lori Vallow Daybell Claims Slain Son Visited Her After Murder and Said: ‘You Didn't Do Anything Wrong, Mom'” PEOPLE, 31 Jul. 2023, https://people.com/lori-vallow-daybell-claims-son-visited-her-after-murder-7567903
4. “LIVE UPDATES: Lori Vallow Daybell speaks before being sentenced to life in prison” East Idaho News, 31 Jul. 2023, https://www.eastidahonews.com/2023/07/watch-live-lori-vallow-daybell-sentencing-hearing
5. “US mother sentenced to life for killing her two kids in ‘doomsday’ plot” Al Jazeera English, 1 Aug. 2023, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/8/1/us-mother-sentenced-to-life-for-killing-her-two-kids-in-doomsday-plot
6. “Idaho woman convicted of killing her two children sentenced to life in prison” The Guardian US, 31 Jul. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/jul/31/idaho-mother-murder-children-life-sentence-prison-lori-vallow-daybell
7. “Lori Vallow Daybell sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole” Idaho News 6 Boise Twin Falls, 31 Jul. 2023, https://www.kivitv.com/vallow-daybell-trial/victim-impact-statements-begin-the-sentencing-hearing-of-lori-vallow-daybell
8. “Lori Vallow Daybell, whose children were murdered in ‘evil' plot, sentenced to life” USA TODAY, 31 Jul. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2023/07/31/lori-vallow-idaho-doomsday-mom-sentenced/70490089007/