Lori Vallow Daybell sentenced to life in prison for deaths of her 2 children, husband’s former wife

A judge on Monday sentenced the woman convicted earlier this year of killing two of her children and conspiring to murder her husband’s former wife to three consecutive life sentences.

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A jury found Lori Vallow Daybell guilty of murdering her children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua Jaxon “JJ” Vallow, in 2019. She was also convicted of conspiring to murder Tammy Daybell, who was previously married to her husband, Chad Daybell.

Judge sentences Vallow Daybell to 3 consecutive life sentences

Update 2:35 p.m. EDT July 31: Judge Steven Boyce handed down three consecutive life sentences for Vallow Daybell after she was convicted of killing two of her children and conspiring to kill her husband’s former wife.

The life sentences were the maximum possible after a jury found Vallow Daybell guilty of conspiring to murder her children, Tylee and JJ, and Chad Daybell’s former wife, Tammy Daybell. Boyce said he considered having the sentences run together but decided against it.

“You need to be held accountable separately for each of the three murders,” he said.

Earlier, he noted that Vallow Daybell had no prior criminal history, a fact he said he found “unbelievable” considering her age and the seriousness of the charges she’s been convicted of.

“It’s clear that something radically changed in you that led you to where you are today,” he said, noting that a doctor determined in February that she suffers from “delusional disorder, mixed type, with bizarre content and hyper religiosity. Continued and unspecified personality disorder with histrionic and narcissistic features.”

“You moved to Rexburg, a community where you could find 1,000 random families to take your children, and you brought them here to murder them,” he said.

“You had so many other options. You could have gotten divorced. You could have found someone to take care of those kids. But as the state was able to prove at trial, you chose the most evil and destructive path possible. You killed those children, according to the state’s theory — and I believe it — to remove them as obstacles and to profit financially. You justified all of this by going down a bizarre religious rabbit hole, and clearly, you are still down there.”

‘Jesus Christ knows that no one was murdered in this case,’ Vallow Daybell says during sentencing

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT July 31: Speaking in court on Monday, Vallow Daybell said she had an out-of-body, near-death experience when she was pregnant with Tylee which gave her access to heaven and allowed her to speak with Jesus Christ.

“Jesus knows me and Jesus understands me,” she said. “I mourn with all of you who mourn my children and Tammy. Jesus Christ knows the truth of what happened here. Jesus Christ knows that no one was murdered in this case. Accidental deaths happen, suicides happen, fatal side effects from medications happen.”

She said that since their deaths, she has been visited by her children and by Tammy Daybell, who she said are all busy in the afterlife.

“I know how wonderful heaven is and I’m homesick for it every single day,” she said. “Heaven is more wonderful than you can possibly imagine. I do not fear death but I look forward to it.”

Defense attorney asks for a fixed sentence of 20 years with an indeterminate term of life

Update 2:05 p.m. EDT July 31: Vallow Daybell’s attorney, John Thomas, asked a judge to sentence his client to 20 years in prison followed by an indeterminate term of life.

“(The) court can, as the state requests, find a sentence appropriate of fixed life without parole,” Thomas said. “That certainly meets the protection of society and punishment, the first and last goals of sentencing. However, if the court so chooses, the court can also give the defendant a fixed term of years to serve in prison followed by an indeterminate term of life. And after great deliberation and thought, we would ask the court to sentence Ms. Vallow Daybell to a 20-year fixed term with an indeterminate term of life.”

He said the sentence would give hope not just to Vallow Daybell but to society at large.

“It’s not about her,” he said. “Giving her hope — it’s for us. It’s for everyone in this courtroom, it’s for everyone watching on the internet, it’s for everyone who’s going to watch this on television. It’s for everyone who lives and breathes outside the walls of prison. Her hope will benefit society.”

He added that sentencing his client to a fixed term of life would amount to having “essentially thrown her away.”

“She has no incentive to rehabilitate. There is no deterrent to her or anyone else. The punishment portion is final and all-encompassing,” he said. “However, if we give her hope we protect society by keeping her behind bars well into her 70s, where she has the incentive to be a model prisoner, she has the incentive to help those women that she interacts with in prison. ... She becomes a better person.”

Prosecutor says Vallow Daybell should face life in prison without the possibility of parole

Update 1 p.m. EDT July 31: Prosecutor Rob Wood argued Monday that Vallow Daybell should face the maximum sentence for her role in the deaths of her children and of her husband’s former wife.

“Society can only be protected from this defendant by a life sentence without the chance of parole,” Wood said Monday during Vallow Daybell’s sentencing hearing. “There is no indication that ... she feels any remorse. The amount of murders in her ledger show us she will seek to obtain money to murder again if released. And again, only a sentence of life without parole will satisfy a court’s mandate to protect society.”

Wood noted that Vallow Daybell has not shown any remorse for the deaths, echoing family members who earlier told the court that she showed contempt for the proceedings during her trial.

“The heinous nature of her crimes and the aftermath of those crimes show an utter and callous disregard for human life,” Wood said. “She committed these crimes for remuneration and financial gain, and she has shown no remorse or accountability, and she sees herself as being above the law. ...

“These crimes were heinous. They were egregious. Again, she murdered her own children. They had a right to depend on her. Tylee and JJ had a right to be protected by her. She betrayed their trust in the most awful and horrific way imaginable. She profited from those murders.”

The defense is expected to lay out its argument for Vallow Daybell’s sentencing following a brief break on Monday morning.

Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow and Tammy Daybell remembered in victim impact statements

Update 12:40 p.m. EDT July 31: Family members remembered JJ, Tylee and Tammy Daybell as beloved family members whose lives were taken too soon as they spoke in court about the impact of their deaths.

Colby Ryan, Vallow Daybell’s surviving son, shared his grief in a statement read by prosecutors. He remembered his sister as “sweet and kind, funny and bold,” and called his brother “the most fun, sweet and silly kid I’d ever known, loving and smart.”

“I’ve lost my entire family in life,” he said. “I’ve lost the opportunity to share life with the people I love the most. I’ve watched everything crumble and be shredded to pieces.”

Tammy Daybell’s aunt, Vicki Hoban, remembered her as “the most excellent person.”

“She led her life with the utmost dignity and she was beloved not only by our family but by the community at large,” she said in court. “There will be a huge void.”

Tammy Daybell worked as a librarian and a teacher, Hoban said.

“She supported her family in every way, and for you to turn her home where she lived and slept into a cemetery for two beautiful and innocent children is one of the most horrific things I can think of,” she said.

Authorities said they found the bodies of Vallow Daybell’s children, Tylee and JJ, buried on property owned by her husband, Chad Daybell, in 2020.

“Everything about you that you tried to tell others is a lie,” said Tammy Daybell’s sister, Samantha Gwilliam, while addressing Vallow Daybell in court. Later, she added, “You are not exalted beings and your behavior makes you ineligible to be one.

“You could easily have divorced your spouses and made your own perverted life together, but you need money, so you tell this story about people being dark and that they are zombies,” she said. “This is how you justify who needs to be removed. … You are a liar, an adulteress and a murderer.”

Original report: Four people are expected to speak in court ahead of the 50-year-old’s sentencing, including her only surviving child, 27-year-old Colby Ryan, KTVB reported. Also expected to speak are her sister, Summer Shiflet; JJ’s grandmother, Kay Woodcock; and Tammy Daybell’s aunt, Vicki Hoban; according to the news station.

Earlier this year, jurors heard more than four weeks of testimony from 60 witnesses before finding Vallow Daybell guilty of all six charges filed against her, KSL-TV reported.

Authorities said Tylee and JJ were found buried on property owned by Chad Daybell one year after they were last seen in 2019. Tammy Daybell died in the same year the children vanished.

Chad Daybell is expected to face a jury next year, according to Court TV. He has been charged with murder in the deaths of Tylee and JJ and conspiracy in the death of Tammy Daybell, the news station reported.

Vallow Daybell is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection with the 2019 death of her previous husband, Charles Vallow.

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