Juror speaks out after ‘cult mom’ convicted of murder
A juror called to deliberate in Lori Vallow’s murder trial last month says the so-called "cult mom" had "no idea" she was destroying "so much around her" in jailhouse calls with family played aloud in an Idaho courtroom.
Lori Vallow was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole on five separate counts for murdering two of her children and conspiring to murder her husband’s first wife in 2019.
An Idaho jury in May found Vallow, 50, guilty of multiple counts, including two counts of first-degree murder, for the 2019 disappearances and deaths of 7-year-old J.J. Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, allegedly with help from her husband, Chad Daybell. Vallow also conspired to kill Tammy Daybell, Chad’s first wife, in October 2019.
“You removed your children from their home in Arizona, alienated them from friends and family … and you brought them here to murder them. You had so many other options. … You chose the most evil and destructive path possible,” Judge Steven Boyce said Monday. “I don’t think to this day you have any remorse for the effort and heartache you caused.”
He added that her crimes are “heinous and egregious.”
LORI VALLOW TRIAL: ‘CULT MOM’ TO BE SENTENCED MONDAY IN MURDER OF HER 2 CHILDREN, HUSBAND’S FIRST WIFE
Lori Vallow was found guilty of killing her children, J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan. (Ada County Sheriff)
Vallow has already spent more than 1,200 days in local jail prior to her sentencing without any issues with other inmates, Boyce said.
“You do have mental health issues,” he added. Her current diagnosis from February states that Vallow suffers from a “delusional disorder” mixed with “hyper-religiosity” and a “continuous and unspecified personality disorder” with narcissistic features.
J.J. and Tylee were found in shallow graves on Chad Daybell’s Rexburg, Idaho, property in June 2020, months after they disappeared from their home in September 2019. The 16-year-old’s remains were burned while the 7-year-old was bound in duct tape.
Lori and Chad Daybell were accused of killing 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old J.J. Vallow in 2019. (Rexburg Police Department)
“J.J. and Tylee could have been [with] us, living happy lives. Instead, she took all that away, all because she is a money-hungry, power-mongering monster,” Kay Woodcock, J.J.’s grandmother, said in a Monday statement read aloud in court.
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Prosecutors Rob Wood and Lindsey Blake said in May that they were “very pleased” by the verdict in Lori Vallow’s trial.
Lori Vallow was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole on five separate counts for murdering two of her children and conspiring to murder her husband’s first wife in 2019. (Tony Blakeslee / East Idaho News)
“We told you this was about money, power and sex. We talked about religion, but this was not about religion. This was about money, power and sex,” Wood said in his closing statements.
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Vallow and Daybell met in 2018 at the Preparing a People conference, where they bonded over their apocalyptic religious beliefs and shared the idea that they had been married in a past life, as FOX 10 Phoenix first reported.
An Idaho jury in May found Lori Vallow guilty of multiple counts, including two counts of first-degree murder, for the 2019 disappearances and deaths of two of her children.
They referred to each other as Biblical figures named James and Elena and discussed their beliefs that people can have light or dark spirits – some so dark that they could be considered zombies who needed to be removed from Earth, prosecutors said, according to FOX 10.
“You are not exalted beings, and your behavior makes you ineligible to be one,” Tammy Daybell’s sister, Samantha Gwilliam, said in a Monday statement read aloud in court. She added that Chad was an “average guy” who made Vallow feel “special and singled out.”
“You tell yourself that you were high spiritual beings who would live together through time. You felt powerful. This, too, is a lie,” she continued, speaking directly to Vallow. “… You are a liar, an adulteress and a murderer. Because of the choices you made, my family lost a beloved mother, sister, aunt and daughter. She is irreplaceable. She is one thousand times the woman you will ever dream of being.”
Lori Vallow is shown in a new mug shot taken after her murder conviction. (Madison County Sheriff)
Meanwhile, Vallow’s defense team attempted to push blame on Daybell in their closing statements, saying that Vallow “spent her whole life protecting her children.”
“Lori wants to tell you how much she loves Jesus. … But is she a leader or follower? She’s not leading anyone. She’s a follower of Chad,” defense attorney Jim Archibald said in closing statements. “She thinks Chad is a follower of Jesus. But he’s not. He’s a follower of the storm.”
While J.J. and Tylee were missing in 2019, and directly after Tammy’s death, Vallow and Daybell married in Hawaii in November of that year.
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Months later, in June 2020, Idaho authorities located J.J. and Tylee’s remains buried on Daybell’s rural Rexburg property.
Vallow and Daybell allegedly collected J.J.’s and Tylee’s Social Security benefits between Oct. 1, 2019, and Jan. 22, 2020, after their murders. (John Roark / Idaho Post-Register / File)
The Ada County coroner testified that J.J. died of asphyxiation by a plastic bag and Tylee died of homicide by unknown means due to the fact that her remains were dismembered and badly burned before they were buried.
“Tylee, J.J. and Tammy can’t tell us what happened. But their bodies do,” Wood said in his closing arguments.
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Vallow was also found guilty of grand theft after she collected J.J.’s and Tylee’s Social Security benefits – allegedly with help from Daybell – between Oct. 1, 2019, and Jan. 22, 2020, after their murders.
An Idaho jury convicted Lori Vallow of murder in the deaths of her two youngest children and a romantic rival, a verdict that marks the end of a three-year investigation that included bizarre claims of zombie children, apocalyptic prophesies and illicit affairs. (AP Photo / Kyle Green / File)
Authorities arrested Vallow in February 2020 and Daybell in June 2020. Vallow and Daybell were initially scheduled to have a joint trial, but Vallow refused to waive her right to a speedy trial while Daybell did not.
Daybell has yet to face trial for his charges in connection with the murders of Tylee, J.J. and Tammy Daybell.
Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell were accused of killing Vallow’s two kids and Daybell’s first wife. (Facebook and Tony Blakeslee / East Idaho News / File)
He and Lori Vallow were indicted in late May 2021 on multiple counts each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception, and first-degree murder related to the deaths of Tylee, J.J. and Tammy Daybell, officials announced at the time.
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Arizona officials in June 2021 also indicted Vallow in the July 2019 murder of her ex-husband, Charles Vallow. Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, allegedly shot Charles Vallow to death in Arizona, claiming self-defense. His death was ruled a homicide in 2021.
Vallow has two pending conspiracy-to-commit-murder cases out of Arizona.
Audrey Conklin is a digital reporter for Fox News Digital and FOX Business. Email tips to [email protected] or on Twitter at @audpants.