Money, power, sex: Opening statements, testimony begin in Vallow Daybell trial

Doomsday Cult Mom Murder Trial: Biggest Moments From Day 1

Posted at 1:54 PM, April 10, 2023 and last updated 7:52 AM, April 11, 2023

By: Christine Coates

BOISE, Idaho (KIVI) — The trial of Lori Vallow Daybell started today with opening statements from both the prosecution and the defense.

The defendant was looking at the judge while the charges were being read and quickly glanced over at the jurors before looking down.

After Judge Steven Boyce read some procedural instructions and thanked the jurors for their service, Fremont County prosecutor Lindsey Blake, along with Madison County prosecutors Rob Wood and Rachel Smith, began.

courtroom sketch, from left, depicts Madison County prosecutor Rob Wood, Lori Vallow Daybell and defense attorney Jim Archibald

This courtroom sketch, from left, depicts Madison County prosecutor Rob Wood, Lori Vallow Daybell and defense attorney Jim Archibald during opening statements of Vallow Daybell’s murder trial in Boise, Idaho, Monday, April 10, 2023. Prosecutors have charged Vallow Daybell and her husband, Chad Daybell, with multiple counts of conspiracy, murder and grand theft in connection with the deaths of Vallow Daybell’s two children: Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Both are also charged in connection with the death of Chad Daybell’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell. (Lisa C. Cheney)

Lindsay Blake began opening statements on behalf of the state.

Stating this case is all about money, power and sex, the three things Lori Vallow Daybell used to get what she wanted, regardless of who was in the way. Blake stated how each of the victims had something that Vallow Daybell wanted, and all are now deceased.

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

Prosecution continued with examples of evidence they plan to introduce, and showed photos of autopsies and remains found and the condition they were in.

They brought up the religious beliefs that were practiced by Vallow Daybell, discussed the timeline of when she met Chad Daybell, the relationship between Vallow Daybell and her brother Alex Cox, and the deaths of Tammy Daybell and Alex Cox.

Then Jim Archibald, attorney for the defense, began his opening remarks. He first introduced his co-council, John Thomas, and their investigator Brandon Hobbs.

WATCH: Doomsday Cult Mom Murder Trial: Prosecution and Defense Deliver Openings

He then introduced Lori Vallow Daybell, who she is, where she was born and grew up, how many children she had, and relayed how so many people are drawn to her because of her personality and bright smile.

Archibald described Vallow Daybell as a responsible mother who had an interest in religion, especially the end of times.

He then focused on the aspects of the case against Vallow Daybell. That there are differing opinions on how and when JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan died and reminded the jurors that the burden of proof lies with the prosecution. And that Vallow Daybell never has to prove her innocence, but the state must prove the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

He offered the alibi of Vallow Daybell, that JJ died in the apartment of Alex Cox with Melanie Gibb and David Warwick, while she was in her Rexburg apartment. Furthering that she was in Hawaii at the time of Tammy Daybell’s death.

Archibald cautioned the jurors to remain focused on what Lori did, not what Chad or Alex did, and it will be up to them to determine if there was a conspiracy.

This story was originally published on April 10 by KIVI in Boise, an E.W. Scripps Company.