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Chad Daybell Sentenced to Death for Gruesome Murders of Wife and Stepchildren

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Idaho jury delivers death penalty to Chad Daybell for the horrific murders of his wife and stepchildren, concluding a high-profile case entangled with apocalyptic beliefs.

Chad Daybell Sentenced to Death for Gruesome Murders

An Idaho jury has unanimously agreed that convicted murderer Chad Daybell deserves the death penalty for the horrific murders of his wife and his girlfriend's two young children. This ends a disturbing case that began in 2019 with the search for the two missing children.

Daybell, 55, who appeared emotionless during the hearing, was found guilty of the murders of Tammy Daybell, 49; Tylee Ryan, 16; and Joshua 'JJ' Vallow, 7. Daybell had married Lori Vallow Daybell, the mother of the murdered children, shortly after Tammy's death. Lori Vallow Daybell was convicted last year of all three murders and now faces trial in Arizona for the murder of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was JJ’s father.

The case began in 2019 when a family member reported the children missing. A lengthy investigation across several states ensued. Almost a year later, the remains of the minors were found buried on Chad Daybell's property. Prosecutors revealed that Tylee's DNA was found on a pick and shovel in a shed on Daybell’s property, and JJ's body was wrapped in trash bags and duct tape.

During the nearly two-month-long trial, prosecutors alleged that Daybell, an author of end-of-the-world fiction, promoted bizarre spiritual beliefs involving apocalyptic prophecies to justify the murders. Fremont County Attorney Lindsey Blake stated, 'This has been a difficult case because of its complexity.'

The families of the victims expressed relief at the jury's decision. Colby Ryan, Vallow Daybell's oldest son, said, 'This is the best form of justice we could get. It brings closure to everyone who has been hurt.' Larry Woodcock, JJ's grandfather, echoed this sentiment, thanking the judge and law enforcement.

Defense attorney John Prior argued that there was insufficient evidence to link Daybell to the murders, suggesting instead that Vallow Daybell's older brother, Alex Cox, was responsible. Cox died in late 2019 and was never charged. However, Daybell refused to present any mitigating evidence during the sentencing hearing, which could have swayed jurors toward a life sentence rather than capital punishment.

The jury determined that Daybell exhibited total disregard for human life, and that the murders were especially cruel. Idaho law permits execution by lethal injection or firing squad, although the latter method has never been used in the state.

  • Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow met in October 2018 at a religious ceremony. Lori, who had already been married four times, was deeply engrossed in Chad's writings and their relationship quickly grew amidst apocalyptic delusions.
  • Text messages between the couple revealed their belief that Tylee and JJ were 'zombies' possessed by demons, and that they were obstructing Lori's divine mission as the 'angel of resurrection.' Lori continued to receive child benefits even after the children disappeared, and Chad received a $430,000 life insurance payout following Tammy's death.
  • Defense lawyer John Prior attempted to shun blame onto Lori Vallow, portraying her as a manipulative individual who derailed Daybell's life. However, this argument failed to sway the jury, which found the aggravating circumstances justified the death sentence.
  • The case has garnered widespread public and media attention, spawning a TV movie, a Netflix series, and an award-winning book that delves into the disturbing events leading up to the murders.
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Refs: | Le Parisien | TELEMUNDO |

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