Chad Daybell sentenced to death in Idaho for murder of Lori Vallow’s 2 children, first wife

Chad Daybell, husband of so-called “cult mom” Lori Vallow, was sentenced to death in Idaho on Saturday, two days after he was found guilty of murdering her two youngest children and his first wife in 2019.

On Thursday, a jury convicted Daybell on all counts, including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, insurance fraud and grand theft.

Daybell, 55, and Vallow, 50, are at the center of multiple murder cases involving not only Vallow’s children, but both her and Daybell’s deceased ex-spouses.

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Last year, a Fremont County jury found Vallow guilty on 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, with help from her husband. 

She was sentenced to life in prison without parole. 

In order for Daybell to be eligible for the death penalty, the jury that convicted him had to unanimously agree that he met at least one of the “aggravating circumstances” required by Idaho law and that the circumstances weren’t outweighed by any mitigating factors that would make him less culpable. 

Lethal injection is the standard method of execution in Idaho, but a firing squad is also allowed. 

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J.J.’s and Tylee’s bodies were later found in Daybell’s yard in eastern Idaho in 2020. 

The pair also conspired to kill Tammy Daybell, Chad Daybell’s first wife, in October 2019. They were initially scheduled to have a joint trial, but Daybell’s defense attorneys got a separate trial for the self-published author in 2022, citing “mutually antagonistic defenses” between the two cases.

Daybell didn’t show any emotion when his sentence was read following a nearly two-month-long trial, which included bizarre revelations about his apocalyptic prophecies and demonic possession beliefs that he used to justify the murders. 

The defense had tried to point the finger at Daybell’s older brother, Alex Cox, who died in 2019, during the trial. Cox was never charged with a crime. 

J.J.’s grandmother, Kay Woodcock, became emotional while she was given a witness statement before the sentencing, telling the court of the 7-year-old: “I can’t express just how much I wish for more time to create memories.” She stressed how empathetic he was to others. 

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Colby Ryan, Vallow’s oldest child, described the heartbreak of losing his whole family.

“My three kids will never know the kindness of Tylee’s heart or J.J.’s silly and goofy personality,” he told the court. “The only way I could describe the impact of their lives being lost is like a nuclear bomb dropping,” he said. “It’s not an overstatement to say that I lost everything.”

Ryan also lost his father years ago. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.