Lori Vallow Daybell sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole

Posted at 1:17 PM, July 31, 2023 and last updated 7:56 PM, August 2, 2023

By: Karen Lehr, Christine Coates

FREMONT COUNTY, Idaho (Scripps News Boise) — The sentencing hearing for Lori Vallow Daybell began with relatives’ victim impact statements.

The court first heard from Samantha Gwilliam, the sister of Tammy Daybell. Gwilliam started by reading the statement prepared by her father, Ronald Douglas on behalf of Tammy’s parents.

WATCH: Relatives speak at Lori Vallow Daybell sentencing

Lori Vallow Daybell appears in court

Lori Vallow Daybell appears in court Monday, July 31, 2023 for her sentencing hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho. (POOL)

Douglas’ statement focused on the lost relationships caused by the actions Lori has been found guilty of, the loss of their daughter, of their now estranged grandchildren, and the acceleration of Leukemia due to the stress of losing a daughter and the trial, leading to the death of Tammy’s mother, Phyllis, this past June. The statement concluded with a reminder to Lori that she would answer to the laws of God.

RELATED: Lori Vallow Daybell sentencing: What to expect

Gwilliam continued with her own victim impact statement, first acknowledging that she had felt something was very wrong when her sister died JJ’s and continued with the list of lies that Tammy’s family had been told by Chad and Lori.

The morning continued with Tammy’s aunt, Vicki Hoban. Hoban reiterated the loss of the Douglas family due to Tammy’s death, and the toll it has taken on them.

Kay Woodcock then took the podium. Kay is the biological grandmother of JJ Vallow, directly addressing Lori, calling her a money-hungry monster.

WATCH: Kay Woodcock recalls Lori Vallow Daybell’s ‘Campaign of Terror’

Kay first talked about the loss of her brother, Charles Vallow, and the lack of respect shown by Lori to the family. The rest of her statement was focused on the life and light of JJ Vallow, and the love of JJ’s big sister Tylee.

Kay finished by saying that Lori Vallow Daybell is a danger to society, driven by greed and her need to be the center of attention, noting that Lori has shown no remorse for the murders of her children.

The State witnesses concluded with the reading of the statement submitted by Colby Ryan, the older sibling to Tylee and JJ.

Colby commented on how the children will never have the chance to grow into the people they were intended to be, and how Colby’s own children have been robbed of their aunt and uncle. “I’ve lost my entire family in life, losing the ability to share them in my life. I’ve lost my sister, brother, father and mother.” Colby’s statement concludes with prayers for healing for all involved.

Sketch of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan

Sketch of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow. (Sketch by Lisa Cheney)

Before entering their recommendation for sentencing, the State addressed the court about the lives of the victims, pointing out that within a year of Lori meeting Chad Daybell, Lori’s husband, two children, and her boyfriend’s wife were all dead. Also expressing that Lori is a threat to society, as she has been found to be responsible for three murders in the span of six weeks.

The State submitted a sentencing recommendation of life in prison without any chance of release, believing that, due to her actions and lack of remorse for her actions, rehabilitation is not possible. They also requested fines of up to $250,000 be paid as restitution to next of kin of the victims and the Dept. of Treasury for repayment of funds stolen.

Remarks by the defense opened the afternoon session in the sentencing hearing, stating that hate cannot heal the hurting of the victims and families of the victims, only love and peace can help heal. The defense says Lori’s motto is “Love is the Key”, and if everyone knew her the way the defense does, they would know she is about love.

They continued remarks referring to Lori of a good mother, a caring mother, who loved her children. Leaning on “Hope” for the rehabilitation and consideration for Lori.

The defense states that Lori’s life has already been saved by taking the death penalty off the table, asking for a maximum sentence of 20 years. And that giving a life sentence gives her no hope and no incentive for rehabilitation. By providing hope for release, it will give her incentive to become a better person. Asking what does the state have to lose by releasing a woman, who will then be in her 70s, pleading with the court to show mercy.

Lori Vallow then addressed the court, speaking from scripture.

Emotionally expressing her mourning for JJ and Tylee, and Tammy, and that no one was murdered in this case, saying that accidental deaths happen.

She recalled an out-of-body experience during the birth of Tylee, and claims that this has given her access to communicating with people in Heaven. And that she has, additionally, had communication with Jesus Christ.

She continued to state that she communicates with her children, and with her “friend Tammy Daybell.” Claiming that she, Lori, does not fear death, but looks forward to it, to get to Heaven.

Lori goes on to say that Tylee is now free of the pain of her physical life, and has visited her saying she is fine. She says the same of JJ, that he has visited her saying that he is fine and happy where he is.

Her statement also included multiple references to her eternal friend, Tammy Daybell.

Upon the conclusion of her statement, Judge Boyce asked if Lori felt she was adequately represented in her defense, to which she agreed.

Then he put forth his sentence.

After all considerations, he felt there are mental health issues present, and found that Lori has been respectful of the court proceedings. He also referenced a doctor’s observation that Lori suffers from a delusional disorder, among others, and that a drastic change in her behavior is evident.

However, she is a mother, who has been found guilty of killing her children and the mother of a family of children. He pointed out the other options that Lori had, having other people take guardianship of her children, and divorce, but instead chose the most treacherous of outcomes.

He states that he has not seen any expression of remorse for forever altering the lives of many, many people.

He acknowledges that she may not believe she is guilty of anything, based on her religious beliefs, but believes he is imposing sentence in the name of justice.

With that, Lori Vallow Daybell is sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

The court also granted the payment of fines as requested by the state with slight modifications.

The right to appeal, the right to seek relief from judgement, the right to a court appointed attorney, and the times in which she is able to exercise these rights.


This story was originally published by Scripps News Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.