In a chilling conclusion to the high-profile “Doomsday Mom” murder case, Lori Vallow Daybell, the woman whose two children went missing in 2019 and were later found dead on her husband’s property in Idaho, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The verdict came after a lengthy trial that exposed the couple’s fringe religious beliefs and the gruesome details of the children’s deaths.
Lori Vallow Daybell, 48, was found guilty of the murders of her 16-year-old daughter, Tylee Ryan, and 7-year-old son, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, as well as the murder of her husband Chad Daybell’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell. Additionally, she was convicted of conspiracy in all three murders and grand theft related to the theft of Social Security payments for her children.
Throughout the trial, the court learned about the couple’s disturbing religious views, with Lori Vallow Daybell often talking about casting out demons and her belief that certain people had been replaced by evil spirits, which she referred to as “zombies.” Witnesses testified about the couple’s involvement in a doomsday group, highlighting the bizarre and unsettling nature of their beliefs.
During the sentencing hearing, Judge Steven Boyce condemned Lori Vallow Daybell’s actions and the choices she made. He expressed, “You had so many other options. You could have gotten divorced; you could have found someone else to take care of those kids. And as the state was able to prove at trial, you chose the most evil and destructive path possible.” The judge also criticized Vallow Daybell for clinging to her extreme religious beliefs, even in the face of overwhelming evidence against her.
Although Vallow Daybell chose not to testify during the trial, she spoke during the sentencing hearing, claiming to have communicated with the spirits of her murdered children and her husband’s deceased wife, Tammy Daybell. She expressed her belief that her children and Tammy Daybell were happy in the spirit world as a result of her communications with them and with Jesus Christ. However, her statements failed to sway the court, and she was sentenced to life without parole.
Prosecutor Rob Wood had requested a life sentence without parole, arguing that society needed to be protected from someone capable of murdering her own children. On the other hand, defense attorney John Thomas asked for a fixed term of 20 years with an indeterminate life term for all the charges. In the end, the judge sided with the prosecution, delivering the maximum sentence.
During the emotional sentencing hearing, family members of the victims presented victim impact statements. They shared their grief and spoke of the devastating impact Vallow Daybell’s actions had on their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Colby Ryan, Lori Vallow Daybell’s son, honored the memories of his siblings and father, wishing for them to be remembered for who they were, beyond the sensational headlines.
The trial not only shed light on the couple’s extreme religious beliefs and their involvement in a doomsday group but also revealed the gruesome details of the children’s deaths and burials. Though video recordings and live broadcasts of the trial were blocked, the verdict was livestreamed, attracting widespread attention from the public.
It is crucial to note that Lori Vallow Daybell still faces separate charges in the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was shot by her brother, Alex Cox, in 2019. Cox claimed self-defense and was not charged in the shooting. Additionally, Vallow Daybell has been charged in Arizona for conspiracy to commit murder in Charles Vallow’s death and for conspiracy to commit murder in the attempted shooting of Brandon Boudreaux, who was married to Vallow Daybell’s niece.
Chad Daybell, Lori Daybell’s husband, is also facing first-degree murder and conspiracy charges in Idaho for the deaths of Tammy Daybell and the two children. However, his trial has been postponed to April 1, 2024, and he has not faced the death penalty.
In conclusion, the “Doomsday Mom” case has come to a haunting close with Lori Vallow Daybell‘s life sentence without parole. Her descent into fringe religious beliefs and her refusal to take responsibility for her actions were cited during the sentencing. The impact of her crimes on the victims’ families was heartrending, with emotional victim impact statements presented in court. The trial shed light on the couple’s extreme beliefs and the horrifying details of the children’s deaths. As the legal proceedings continue, the question remains: What led Lori Vallow Daybell down this path, and will justice be fully served for all the lives lost?