By LAUREN SILVER and COURT TV STAFF
BOISE, Idaho (Court TV) – After nearly seven hours of deliberation over two days, the jury found Lori Vallow Daybell guilty on seven charges for the murders of her two youngest children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan, conspiring to kill her fifth husband’s wife, Tammy Daybell, and as stealing the Social Security benefits intended for her children.
Inside the courtroom, JJ Vallow’s biological grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock, were in tears as the verdict was read.
Under Idaho law, a pre-sentence report is required before sentencing can be held. Judge Steven Boyce said it would likely be three months before the hearing would be scheduled.
The trial spanned five weeks as 59 witnesses were called to the stand. Prosecutors presented the jury with a narrative that portrayed Lori as a woman greedy for money, power and sex and determined to do whatever she needed to get what she wanted. Prosecutors allege that after meeting her fifth husband, Chad Daybell, at a conference in 2018, Lori plotted with him to kill his wife Tammy and her two youngest children.
On the stand, FBI analysts testified to text messages sent between Lori and Chad that referred to the children and Tammy as “obstacles,” long with a story written by Chad about “James and Elena” that seemed to mirror their own love story.
Prosecutors said that Lori collected Social Security benefits on behalf of her dead children and never reported them missing or tried to look for them when others called attention to their disappearance. Testimony during the trial indicated that Chad rushed to collect Tammy’s life insurance policy within days after her death.
Lori’s defense attorney described his client in closing arguments as a loving mother and suggested she had fallen prey to a suggestive Chad Daybell who was truly the mastermind of the murders.
In a statement following the verdict, the Madison and Freemont County prosecuting attorneys said, “We’re very pleased with the jury’s verdict, and we want to thank them, as well as the alternates, for their service over the last six weeks during this trial. Given the pending case against the co-defendant, we are unable to conduct any additional interviews or discuss further details of this matter. We want to assure each of you that we remain committed to pursuing justice for Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow and Tammy Daybell.”
The Tammy Daybell Foundation shared a statement with Court TV following the verdict, saying:
“We are relieved and grateful that justice has been served with the guilty verdict of the co-conspirator in Tammy’s tragic murder. While this cannot bring Tammy, JJ and Tylee Back, we are glad that the justice system has done its job in holding the responsbile person accountable for her actions. We hope this verdict brings some measure of closure for all of us. We will continue to honor Tammy’s memory by furthering her legacy of getting books into the hands of kids. We love you, Tammy. You will never be forgotten.”
Outside the courthouse, there were cheers for prosecutors as they left the building. At a news conference outside the Ada County Courthouse, Larry Woodcock, JJ Vallow’s grandfather, thanked the jury and said he wanted to hug each juror.
“This isn’t the end. Ninety days from today, we will be in Fremont County,” Larry said, referencing Lori’s sentencing. “And I will say, ‘Why, Lori? Why?'”
Chad was originally charged with Lori, but his trial was severed. He faces the death penalty when his case goes to trial, tentatively scheduled for June 2024.
Lori was remanded to the custody of the Ada County Sheriff and will be transferred to the Fremont County Sheriff for sentencing.