Idaho to Seek Death Penalty for Lori Vallow If Found Guilty of Killing 2 Children

Idaho to Seek Death Penalty for Lori Vallow If Found Guilty of Killing 2 Children
Lori Vallow Daybell glances at the camera during her hearing in Rexburg, Idaho, on March 6, 2020. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP)

Lori Vallow could face the death penalty if she’s found guilty of killing her two youngest children, Tylee Ryan and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, according to new court documents.

Fremont and Madison County prosecuting attorneys indicated in a notice filed in the case on Monday that they plan to seek capital punishment against Vallow if she is convicted at her trial later this year because the slayings were exceptionally depraved and were done for financial gain.

The prosecutors said Vallow showed “utter disregard for human life” and “has exhibited a propensity to commit murder which will probably constitute a continuing threat to society.”

Vallow, 48, and her husband, Chad Daybell, have both been charged with multiple counts of first-degree murder as well as conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception in connection to the deaths of 7-year-old JJ, 17-year-old Ryan, and Daybell’s first wife Tammy Daybell.

Joshua "JJ" Vallow (L) and Tylee Ryan
Joshua “JJ” Vallow (L) and Tylee Ryan. (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via AP)
Investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell's residence
Investigators search for human remains at Chad Daybell’s residence in the 200 block of 1900 East, in Salem, Idaho, on June 9, 2020. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP)

The children were found buried in Daybell’s backyard in Fremont County, Idaho, in June 2020. The children were missing for several months, during which police say the couple lied about their whereabouts.

Tammy died in October 2019 and her obituary said the death was from natural causes. Vallow and Daybell married two weeks after she died and investigators had her body exhumed after growing suspicious when Daybell married Vallow so quickly after his wife’s death.

The results of the autopsy were never released as it is “evidence in an open and ongoing investigation,” officials said last year, though Tammy’s son has told news outlets he was told his mother died of asphyxiation. Her death was reclassified as suspicious following the autopsy.

Idaho prosecutors already announced last August that Daybell—who is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tammy—is also facing capital punishment. He is scheduled for trial in January 2023 while Vallow is scheduled to stand trial in October.

Chad Daybell
Chad Daybell during a court hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 4, 2020. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP)

Vallow is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona in connection with the death of her previous husband. Charles Vallow was shot and killed by Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, who claimed it was self-defense. Cox later died of what police said were natural causes.

Daybell has pleaded not guilty to all the charges, and a judge entered a “not guilty” plea on Vallow’s behalf after she stood silent when asked for a plea earlier this year.

Idaho law allows prosecutors to seek the death penalty if they can show certain “aggravating factors” for crimes like murder or conspiracy to commit murder.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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