Melanie Gibb testifies to relationship between Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell

Posted at 12:04 PM, April 13, 2023 and last updated 8:25 AM, April 14, 2023

By: Christine Coates

BOISE, Idaho (KIVI) — Prosecutors continued their case Thursday in the trial of Lori Vallow Daybell by calling Melanie Gibb to the stand.

After establishing the friendship between Melanie and Lori, the questions pivoted to the relationship, as Gibb saw it, between Chad and Lori. When and how they met, their religious beliefs, and events in their relationship while Lori was still married to Charles Vallow and Chad married to Tammy Daybell.

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

Sketch of Melanie Gibb testifying in Lori Vallow Daybell's trial

This courtroom sketch shows Melanie Gibb testifying in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial Thursday, April 13, 2023. (Lisa C. Cheney)

Gibb testified that Lori and Chad both believed that you can come back to this world many times. Lori believed she and Chad had been married in a past life and were sealed by Jesus Christ.

Gibb’s testimony continued to get into the details of Lori’s belief that Chad and Lori were in charge of a group of 144,000 people who are waiting for the end of time.

Gibb also detailed the scale of Light and Dark that they used to assess people. “Light” people were said to be in contract with the Savior, and “Dark” people, they believed, were in contract with “Satan”. The way people are tied to good and evil.

The testimony then shifted to discuss Charles. Gibb said the Chad had told Lori that Charles was taken over by an evil spirit in January of 2019, and Lori believed him.

Gibb then described “castings”. A casting began as a prayer and was used to cast evil spirits out of someone. Gibb participated in a casting with Lori in early 2019 to rid Charles of his evil spirit.

Multiple castings were performed for Charles Vallow, though Chad was only present at one of them.

Gibb testified that Lori also believed that Brandon Bordeaux and Tylee were dark, and that JJ had become possessed.

This courtroom sketch depicts Lori Vallow Daybell in court on Thursday, April 13, 2023. (Lisa C. Cheney)

In July 2019, Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, came to stay because Lori felt she needed protection from Charles. This was when an alleged argument ensued that led to Cox shooting Charles, claiming self-defense.

Gibb testified she did not witness the shooting.

WATCH: Melanie Gibb’s Testimony from Chad Daybell’s 2020 Preliminary Hearing

Gibb said Chad visited within a week or so after the death of Charles Vallow, and that Chad and Lori appeared to be very happy.

Gibb then discussed the cell phone communication between Chad and Lori, and that Lori had a phone just for Chad. She also confirmed that Lori had told her the two were intimate, even though they were both married.

After Charles’ death, Lori told Gibb that JJ was becoming very difficult to handle, and that Lori was going to ask Kay Woodcock to take custody of JJ.

Gibb testified that the last time she saw Tylee was just before they moved to Idaho. Although on one occasion Gibb visited Idaho with her boyfriend, David Warwick, she only saw JJ, not Tylee.

Gibb testified that Chad had told Lori that JJ had become dark. And although Lori told her JJ’s behavior and demeanor had changed, Gibb didn’t notice any change, and that JJ was a typical young autistic seven-year-old.

Gibb testified that Chad and Lori were affectionate during the visit, but that Chad asked Warwick not to share information about their relationship with people.

The last time Gibb saw JJ was on September 22 when brother, Alex Cox, took him upstairs in Lori’s apartment. Gibb and Warwick had left the next day.

L to R: Chad daybell, Lori Vallow Daybell

(L) Chad Daybell sits during his preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Tuesday, August 4, 2020. (John Roark/The Idaho Post-Register via AP, Pool, File)/ (R) Lori Vallow Daybell, center, sits between her attorneys for a hearing at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 16, 2022. (Tony Blakeslee/East Idaho News via AP, Pool, File)

The prosecution circled back with Gibb about conversations she had with Lori about why Lori thought Charles was trying to kill her. Lori believed Charles wanted the money from a $1 million life insurance policy on Lori’s life. Lori also told her that if Charles died, his sister Kay would receive the money from Charles’ $1 million life insurance policy.

Asking why Lori just didn’t divorce Charles, Lori told Gibb she didn’t believe in divorce due to religious views.

Gibb testified that she next spoke with Chad in November 2019. It was during this call that Chad told her the Rexburg police would be calling because they were looking for JJ and told her not to answer the phone.

Gibb testified she thought JJ was with his grandparents, but Chad told her that wasn’t the case. Lori informed Gibb that she (Lori) had told police that JJ was watching “Frozen” with Gibb and asked her to take photos of random kids at the movie theater and send them to police.

At first, Gibb avoided police phone calls, but eventually spoke with them to tell them she did not have JJ and he had not been with her.

The prosecution entered a 20-minute phone call into evidence between Gibb and Chad and Lori when Gibb confronts them about JJ. Gibb had recorded the call.

Also in the taped conversation, Lori said she will do what the Lord tells her to do, and that Kay Woodcock had threatened her. Then they talked about scriptures, and Gibb told Lori she was concerned Lori was being tricked by Satan. Lori struck back saying maybe it was Gibb that was being influenced by dark thoughts.

In the call Chad also claimed that his wife Tammy was not healthy and was getting weak, and that was why she died.

The call proceeds to get combative with accusations from both sides about who believes in what, and what is happening with JJ. The call ends abruptly.

Gibb testified that Lori told her that Tammy Daybell had been suspicious of Lori’s affair with Chad, and that Tammy had “turned dark” approximately two weeks before her death. Gibb said that Lori was very happy to marry Chad and had never shown remorse or sadness, which was similar to Lori’s reaction after Charles’ death.

Gibb discussed Lori’s belief in zombie teachings, and said that she did not believe in them. Gibb said that Cox sided with Lori and told her that he completely believed in them, and that Charles, Tylee, JJ and Tammy were all zombies.

The state ended its questioning when Gibb testified that she asked Cox what had happened to JJ and was told she didn’t want to know.

On cross-examination, the defense clarified that the last contact she had with the prosecution had been years ago, and that she can be “forgetful.” Gibb testified that she had created a 7-page document with her testimony that was completed in 2020.

Vallow Daybell’s defense attorneys had Gibb clarify the practice of “casting,” which Gibbs said was more innocent and based on prayer, and that she had interpreted it to be more in line with the works of Jesus.

While Gibb said that she does not fully believe in people being “Light” and “Dark” and believed the zombie teachings were bizarre, she testified that Chad told both her and Lori that Tylee became a zombie when she was 12-13 years old, but they only found out when she was 16. When asked what was meant by JJ being “possessed,” Gibb said she took it to mean possessed by an evil spirit.

Gibb admitted to lying to the police about JJ, saying “I had him but I don’t have him anymore,” and that Lori came to pick him up. She admitted that was untrue, and that she shared a call she recorded with Lori with the Gilbert, Arizona, police because she was concerned about JJ.

When questioned about conversations she had with Alex Cox, Gibb testified that Cox told her that she didn’t want to know where the children were, and that Cox said that Chad had given him a patriarchal blessing.

Gibb testified that she observed a pattern with Lori when someone would question her or think something suspicious, Lori would deem them “dark” or refer to them as a zombie. Gibb said that Lori referred to Tylee, JJ and Charles as zombies and said that Lori also believed that Tammy was possessed.

After Gibb left the stand, prosecutors called Chandler, Arizona, police detective Nathan Duncan, who works in the robbery and homicide unit. Duncan responded to the call the morning that Cox reported he had shot his brother-in-law, Charles Vallow, in self-defense.

Duncan testified that he was surprised about the lack of blood spatter at the scene. He described it as odd, because since Cox reported giving Vallow CPR, usually more blood is present after life-saving compressions. Duncan said detectives determined that the cause of the initial argument between the men was something on Charles’ cell phone.

Duncan was questioned about a phone call Chad Daybell placed to a mortuary in Chandler, Arizona, asking about the costs of cremation and sending remains to Louisiana. The call was placed the day after Charles was killed, and Chad gave his name with a different spelling and lied about where he was from on the call.

Prosecutors also questioned Duncan about a blessing Chad allegedly gave Alex Cox. Prosecutors played a recording of the blessing for the jury, which included Chad saying to Alex in blessing, “The lessons you had to learn in your youth have made you a strong, powerful servent of the Lord that could not have happened in a traditional LDS home. YOu had to go to great depths to achieve tremendous heights. You have already assisted us in ways that can never be repaid. You will continue to do so as you move forward in this life.”

Chad can be heard crying during the blessing, and Lori Vallow Daybell can be heard saying “Amen” on the recording. The recording was time-stamped Nov. 24, 2019.

This story was originally published April 13 by KIVI in Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.