Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell will both appear in court in Idaho on Tuesday in preparation for a trial in the “Doomsday cult mom” case.
The pair were charged in May 2021 for conspiracy, murder and grand theft in connection with the deaths of her two youngest children, seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, following their disappearance in September 2019 .
Their bodies were found in June 2020 on Mr Daybell’s property, leading to an investigation into the pair, who were allegedly involved in a “Doomsday cult” centered around extreme religious beliefs.
Mr Daybell is also facing charges in the death of his first wife, Tammy Daybell, which took place just two weeks before he married Ms Vallow in November 2019. Ms Vallow is similarly facing charges for the death of her former husband, Charles Vallow, who was fatally shot by her brother in July 2019.
The pair have previously pleaded not guilty and Ms Vallow was recently ruled fit to stand trial after being committed to a mental health facility in Idaho.
Recap: Couple facing death penalty
If convicted on the charges of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell could face life in prison or the death penalty in Idaho.
Under Idaho law, prosecutors have 60 days following the entry of a plea to decide whether they will seek the death penalty in a case.
The state has carried out 29 executions since 1864, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. The last was in 2012.
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 14:10
Prosecutors previously admitted to ‘slow’ progress
Fremont County prosecutor Lindsey Blake said last year that his investigation into Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell took thousands of hours and acknowledged that some people in Idaho were frustrated at the slow process.
“We know that many members of the community may feel that progress on this case has been slow,” he said following the announcement of charges of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder on multiple counts.
“We were just recently given permission to present information to the grand jury for their review. We want to assure everyone that despite the delays, we have been working diligently to pursue justice for the victims in this case.”
As well as Covid-19, the mental health of Ms Vallow also delayed the case and trial, which will take place early next year.
The couple are due to appear separately in court on Tuesday for arraignment.
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 13:50
Chad Daybell pleaded not guilty in June 2021
While Ms Vallow has not had an opportunity to enter a plea in court because of her mental health treatment last year, Mr Daybell entered a not guilty plea through his lawyer in June 2021.
That plea came a month after he and Ms Vallow, whose relationship allegedly dates back to 2018, were charged with conspiracy for the deaths of her children, as well as his ex-wife Tammy Daybell.
His bail was set at $1 million at the time, and on Tuesday the pair are expected to appear separately in court.
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 13:30
Vallow ‘fit to proceed’, said judge last week
An Idaho judge last week that Ms Vallow was now mentally competent to stand trial on some charges in connection to a complex case involving allegations of beliefs in “zombies” and doomsday predictions.
Prosecutors have said that Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell espoused the religious beliefs in an effort to encourage or justify the murders, which include those of her two youngest children and the pair’s former partners.
Judge Steven Boyce previously committed Ms Vallow to a mental facility so she could undergo treatment last year.
He said the so called “Doomsday cult mom” was “restored to competency and is fit to proceed” in the case in Idaho, with the charges in connection with her ex-husbands death in Arizona.
Additional reporting by The Associated Press.
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 13:10
Friends explained Vallow’s beliefs in ‘zombies’
Ms Vallow allegedly remarked that her children had become “zombies” and that dark spirits had taken over their bodies, a friend previously told police.
She and Mr Daybell also allegedly believed a person with a “dark spirit” needed to be killed, with the spirit of that person being stuck in “limbo”, it was alleged.
The same idea was cited by the couple in text exchanges following the death of Tammy Daybell in October 2019, prosecutors said, The Associated Reported.
The ideas appear similar to those touted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with friends of the pair telling investigators the pair’s religious beliefs became “extreme”.
Ms Vallow also thought she was a “Goddess” who had been sent to bring the second coming of Christ and the biblical end of times, with the belief cited by her late husband Charles Vallow during divorce proceedings.
The allegations lead to her being nicknamed the “Doomsday cult mom.”
Mr Daybell has previously pleaded not guilty to charges, while Ms Vallow has not yet had an opportunity to do so because of her time receiving mental health treatment.
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 12:50
What time will the pair appear in court?
Today’s arraignment hearings will begin at 9am when Chad Daybell is due in the courthouse in St Anthony, Fremont County, Idaho.
He will be closely followed by Ms Valllow who will appear at 1pm, according to Komo News.
The arraignments will mean the court has formally charged the pair with the previously announced allegations, and sets up a future trial.
It may not be at the same courthouse however, with a change of location expected to be discussed on Tuesday.
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 12:30
How was Charles Vallow killed?
Ms Vallow’s estranged husband, Charles Vallow, was shot in suburban Phoenix, Arizona, in 2019. He was her fourth husband and had been seeing a divorce because of her increasing religious or cult beliefs.
Her brother, Alex Cox, was accused of shooting Mr Vallow and pleaded self defence. He was never charged and also later died of an apparent blood clot on his lung, as Associated Press reported.
Ms Vallow was however later charged with conspiracy to commit her husband’s murder. She moved to Idaho from Arizona with her two youngest children before their deaths.
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 12:10
How was Tammy Daybell killed?
Two weeks before her death in October 2019, Tammy Daybell told the Fremont County sheriff’s office that someone dressed in black and wearing a ski mask shot at her with what she thought was a paintball gun.
Ace Associated Press reported however, she wasn’t hit, and without any evidence local law enforcement attributed the incident to a prankster. She was later found dead, aged 49.
Her body was exhumed by police after their investigation into Ms Vallow’s children’s deaths gathered pace. While Ms Daybell’s death was initially ruled as “natural causes”, the result of the autopsy has not been made public.
An earlier indictment against Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell said the pair believed Ms Daybell had been possessed by a spirit named “Viola”. Such claims were not dissimilar to the so-called “Doomsday cult” beliefs of the pair.
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 11:50
Recap: What are the pair charged with?
Ms Vallow and Mr Daybell were charged with the murders of Tylee and JJ in May 2021, almost one year after their bodies were discovered on the Daybell property in June 2020.
The children had not been seen since September 2019, just one month after Ms Vallow moved with them from Arizona to Idaho to be with Mr Daybell. Family members then raised the alarm in November.
After refusing to present the children to authorities, Ms Vallow was arrested in Hawaii in January 2020 on charges of desertion and Mr Daybell was also arrested following the discovery of remains.
Meanwhile, Tammy Daybell was found dead on 19 October 2019.
The couple are each charged in Idaho with conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of the two children, and separately in the death of Tammy, as Rachel Sharp and Justin Vallejo report.
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 11:26
Everything we know about the case
The latest chapter of the ‘Doomsday cult mom’ saga is about to begin on Tuesday morning as Lori Vallow is scheduled to appear in court for her arraignment for the murder of her two children.
It comes after her case was put on hold last year after she was ruled mentally unfit to stand trial.
She was however back behind bars last week, paving the way for prosecutors to move forward with the case and try the couple together. Chad Daybell is also due in court in St Anthony, Idaho’s, Fremont County courthouse.
The Independent’s Rachel Sharp and Justin Vallejo explain everything we know about the case so far, below:
Gino Spocchia19 April 2022 11:05