Doomsday Cult Mom Trial: Day one of jury selection

No cameras were allowed in the Ada County Courthouse as jury selection got underway in Idaho v. Lori Vallow Daybell.

Only portions of the process were shared through a live video feed in a remote viewing area inside the courthouse.

Posted at 9:27 PM, April 3, 2023 and last updated 7:50 AM, April 4, 2023

By Karen Lehr

BOISE, Idaho (KIVI) — Jury selection is underway for the trial of Lori Vallow Daybell.

The eastern Idaho mom faces seven charges, accused of murdering her two children and conspiring to kill her husband’s previous wife in 2019. She also faces two charges of grand theft.

Members of the media and the public are able to watch formal jury selection proceedings through a live video feed in a remote viewing area inside the courthouse. Reservations are required.

Lori Vallow Daybell sits next to her attorney at the Ada County Courthouse during jury selection on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Pool courtroom sketch artist)

The court will finalize a total of 18 jurors: 12 for the main jury and six alternates, should an issue arise resulting in jurors being dismissed mid-trial.

Several jurors were quickly dismissed after expressing concerns the timeline could present “undue hardship” as the case is expected to take up to eight weeks.

READ MORE: ID v. Lori Vallow Daybell: Doomsday Cult Mom Trial

Lawyers questioned potential jurors, particularly those with children, if they would be able to judge fairly and impartially based on the evidence presented in court, given the extreme nature of the charges.

Jurors were advised there would be “emotionally charged” evidence presented in testimony, like autopsy photos, and additional information regarding the deaths of Lori Vallow Daybell’s children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

J.J. and Tylee (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children via AP, File)

Vallow Daybell’s attorney seemed to narrow in on potential jurors with children, at one point asking some jurors if they would rather go home than participate on the jury. Judge Steven Boyce overruled a challenge to dismiss a juror who explained, although she would like to go home, “she could make it work.” No jurors were sent home on the first day simply because they had children.

READ MORE: Lori Vallow Daybell case: Timeline of events ahead of trial

Jurors were also asked if they’d be able to convict for murder if they were not presented with a definitive cause of death. Based on instructions provided by the court, no jurors objected.

Only portions of the jury selection process are open for public viewing. Once potential jurors are questioned individually, the audio and video feeds are cut off.

The jury selection process could take several days, potentially all week.

This story was originally published on April 3, 2023, by KIVI in Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.