DAY 20 | LIVE UPDATES: Judge allows podcast to be played in Daybell trial after attorneys battle over whether it should be admitted as evidence - East Idaho News
Daybell Case

DAY 20 | LIVE UPDATES: Judge allows podcast to be played in Daybell trial after attorneys battle over whether it should be admitted as evidence

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3:33 p.m. Court is now over for the day. I’ll break it all down tonight on “Courtroom Insider.” Join me at 7:30 p.m. on the YouTube channel and my Facebook page. You can watch previous episodes here.

3:32 p.m. Archibald as nothing further. Blake now has some re-direct. She asks if the children of Melanie Gibb, Thor or Jason Mow were found buried on Chad’s property. Todd says no. Blake has no further questions.

3:30 p.m. Archibald asks Todd if where you sit in church has an impact on your spirituality. Todd mentioned that the Daybells gradually moved from the front of the building to the back. Todd responds, “It seems like maybe they were trying to hide a little bit from the way they were before.”

3:29 p.m. Todd says Chad mentioned more than once that Tammy visited him and the kids in spirit form. Archibald asks Todd if he believes Chad. He said he wasn’t sure because it hadn’t happened to him before.

3:28 p.m. Archibald asks if what we listened to on the podcast would be considered mainstream LDS beliefs. “Probably most of it, but not all of it,” Todd says. Todd says Chad was starting to stray in his beliefs.

3:27 p.m. Archibald now back to questioning Todd Gilbert, Chad’s neighbor and the man who listened to the podcast in November 2018.

3:26 p.m. Archibald stops the recording at 39 minutes and 57 seconds. The total podcast is at least another hour, but only this portion was submitted for evidence.

3:25 p.m. “The Lord is building his army. He is calling people to do missions, and they are to go forward in faith, and this is what he tells you,” Lori says. She says every day, God sends her women who need to be taught.

3:23 p.m. Lori says the spirit told her to move to the couch in the celestial room, and Mow walked past her before sitting down on the chairs next to her. “Someone sent him to the temple that day. I’m like, ‘Hi, do you have a message for me from Moroni?'” Lori told Mow the Lord sent her to find like-minded women, so Mow sent Melanie Gibb her information. “The minute I saw her (Gibb), I knew she would be one of the women I was supposed to be involved with.”

3:22 p.m. Lori says she prays, and the Lord sends people to her – often in the temple. She says she went to the temple on a certain day, and Angel Moroni had a message for her. “Jason Mow walked into the celestial room (a place in the temple), and my friend said, ‘That’s that guy. He writes books about Moroni.'” Lori says the spirit was burning within her, and she knew she had to talk to Mow.

3:21 p.m. Lori says things will start happening in the next two years, and things will change. She says we prepare by turning ourselves completely over to Jesus Christ. She closes her comments, and Melanie Gibb then asks if people have questions.

3:19 p.m. Lori says she was a normal person raised in southern California. She went to Brigham Young University, and then things “turned really bad.” She said the Lord then showed “me myself as a warrior. A WARRIOR. I fought with Satan in the pre-existence. He showed this to me so I will quit crying in the temple. He showed me so I could be the warrior he sent me here to do.”

3:18 p.m. Jurors are back in their seats, and Archibald begins playing the podcast with Lori. Lori says, “I am a witness of Jason Mow – to everything he says about what the prophet says and what the Lord is telling us. … My job, according to Jesus Christ, is to wake up the women warriors. I too have gone to the bottom edge. … I, too, have seen the resurrected Jesus Christ, and he has told me my mission, and he has sent me to help people and lift them in their mission.”

3:16 p.m. Boyce says he has no issue with admitting the recording, so the portion with Lori will be played for the jury.

3:13 p.m. Boyce says he has listened to the recording and it does not appear to be self-serving in nature. He says there is no mention of Joseph Ryan in the portion Boyce listened to.

3:07 p.m. Boyce is back on the bench. Archibald again states that by having the next portion of the audio played with Lori’s voice we will understand more of what Todd heard when he listened to the podcast. Prosecutors are adamantly against having the recording played based on the previous reasons mentioned.

3 p.m. We are back in the courtroom. Lori just walked in smiling and is sitting with her attorneys. Waiting on Judge Boyce to enter.

2:35 p.m. Boyce back on the bench. He says he needs to review the audio before it’s admitted. We will take an afternoon break while the judge listens. Be back shortly.

2:32 p.m. Lori begins to speak on the podcast. Blake says, “Your honor, I’d like to renew our objection and ask to approach.” Attorneys are now holding sidebar meetings as white noise plays.

2:31 p.m. Mow says it’s time to wake up, and “when you feel the burning inside of you, that is the captain’s call. That is the warrior. Accept who you are and move forward with faith.”

2:28 p.m. Mow tells listeners they need to be prepared to receive revelation from God and need to teach their children how to defend themselves again Satan. “Everything in this world has been designed to distract them from preparing the earth for the Second Coming. Everything is designed to distract and destroy them. Satan has been preparing this battle space for 6,000 years.”

2:24 p.m. Mow shares a quote from Winston Churchill. He is now quoting words from Russell Nelson, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mow compares the youth in the church as modern-day “stripling warriors” (referencing a story in the Book of Mormon), and the parents need to prepare the youth for combat against Satan.

2:23 p.m. Mow says he went to God and was upset because he lost everything. “I went from being a SWAT guy to an invalid just like that.” Mow said God answered his prayers and said, “‘I allowed you to survive all of that so you could do this now.’ My job now is to help us become who we are destined to become.”

2:21 p.m. Mow says he grew up in the church but was not a good Mormon. He went on a mission. He says after he got home from the mission, he joined the Army. He then became a police officer. He was wounded and says his wife left him. “I was wounded, crippled, unemployed, broke and divorced.” Mow says he clawed his way out of his situation because he refused to give up.

2:19 p.m. We now hear from Jason Mow. He talks about the Israelites and a gigantic wall at Jericho. “Joshua gathered the warriors of Israel together and said, ‘Sanctify yourselves.'” Mow says we have been given a timeline by the prophet of God to sanctify ourselves.

2:17 p.m. Thor talks about passing a different test every day and having empathy for others. “I love coming to events like this because you’re able to take a little bit of everyone’s journey.” He wraps up his comments and says he will answer questions later on.

2:17 p.m. Thor says he can always feel when Satan is in the room because there is negative energy.

2:14 p.m. Thor is now crying while sharing his spiritual journey. “When the heavens are speaking to you, they are very clear, confident and loving,” he says.

2:12 p.m. Thor talks about his spirit going on for eternity. “I will have pure joy and no more Satan.” He talks about signing up for this exact time and this exact mission. He says he wants to be part of the Lord’s team and that Satan is here for opposition.

2:10 p.m. Thor says he learned he needed to love himself in order to give love to others.

2:08 p.m. Thor says he put a 12-gauge shotgun to his head, and Heavenly Mother entered the room. Satan ran from the room, and Heavenly Mother told Thor that she loved him. (Audio quality is not the best, so it’s hard to understand what is being said).

2:07 p.m. Thor says Satan is real, and his minions are here. Furuseth says he got to a point in his life where he didn’t care if he lived or died. He planned out how he was going to end his life. “Satan had always been around me, but on the night I decided to end my life, there he was with me saying, ‘Just do it.'” In the courtroom, Lori is intently listening to the podcast.

2:05 p.m. Thor is now speaking. He talks about experiences he has had with Heavenly Father and how Jesus Christ has changed his life. Thor says when he was 12, he grew up on an Indian reservation “where everybody smoked, and everybody drank.” He says everyone did it, and that was part of his life. “Then, as I became an alcoholic, I started falling into a lot of pitfalls.”

2:03 p.m. Melanie is reading from something she wrote about being a witness of God and choosing Jesus. “This is what came to me as I was writing, and the spirit filled my soul. I knew that I was his, and he has changed me forever.” Melanie then asks the listeners to hear her friends who have had “powerful” spiritual experiences.

2:01 p.m. Archibald begins playing the podcast. Melanie Gibb talks about having issues and being angry and frustrated. She says she spent a little less than a year praying and praying and praying. Then something happened that changed her heart forever. She felt love from the top of her head to her feet. She testifies of the power of Jesus changing hearts.

1:58 p.m. Jurors are being brought in.

1:57 p.m. Blake argues that playing the podcast will likely open the door to more evidence – specifically a prior husband of Lori Daybell.

1:54 p.m. Boyce overrules the objection and will allow for 40 minutes of the podcast to be played.

1:53 p.m. Archibald argues sufficient foundation has been laid and he’s willing to just play the first 40 minutes rather than the entire hour and 49 minutes. “I believe the state opened the door when Mr. Gilbert indicated he had listened to a podcast.”

1:51 p.m. Blake renews her objection based on relevance. She also says the defendant is attempting to introduce a self-serving statement, which is prohibited. Blake also says it’s hearsay because the three other voices on the recording are not in the courtroom.

1:50 p.m. Blake asks Todd if he knows this is the exact podcast he listened to. He says it sounded familiar, and they had more than one. “This is one of them I’ve listened to, but they had three or four.” Blake asks Todd if he’s able to tell this is a complete copy of what he listened to before. “Yeah, I would think so,” Todd responds.

1:47 p.m. We now hear Lori speaking on the podcast. “I, too, have seen Jesus Christ.” Archibald asks Todd if he recognizes the voice. “Lori,” he says. Blake now questioning Todd. She asks him if he has ever met Melanie Gibb. Todd says they have spoken on the phone once and met once. Todd says he has never met Thor Furuseth but has met Jason Mow. “Have you listened to more than one podcast?” Todd says yes. Blake asks if he knows when the podcast was made. “The later part of 2018.” Todd doesn’t know where he heard the podcast other than a website.

1:46 p.m. We now hear a man talking on the podcast. Archibald asks Todd if he recognizes the voice. “I believe it sounds like Thor (Furuseth).” We now hear another man speaking on the podcast. Archibald asks Todd if he knows who the person is. “It’s Jason Mow.”

1:45 p.m. Blake objects to having the podcast being played continually when it’s meant to set the foundation for the testimony. The prosecution clearly does not want this podcast in.

1:43 p.m. Gibb talks about sharing the love of God with others. The sound quality is not the best, and it sounds like there is a bird chirping or kids playing or dogs barking. Archibald asks Todd if he recognizes the podcast. “I can’t remember for sure, but it’s been a while.”

Screenshot 2020 05 26 at 12.05.05 PM
Melanie Gibb, left, and Lori Vallow Daybell | Courtesy photo

1:41 p.m. Archibald plays the beginning of the podcast. We hear Melanie Gibb explaining how she spent a year praying in her closet and then feeling the love of God.

1:39 p.m. Boyce says jurors will be held in another room for a moment while Archibald asks foundational questions for Todd and plays the beginning of the podcast.

1:38 p.m. This is the first major exhibit the defense has introduced into the trial. We will hear Lori, on tape, talking about her religious experiences and beliefs.

1:37 p.m. Todd is being brought back into the courtroom. Jurors will be brought back in, and Todd will authenticate that this is indeed the podcast he heard with Lori, Melanie Gibb and others. Once he authenticates it, the first 40 minutes will be played for the jury.

1:36 p.m. Boyce says the podcast is relevant because in the indictment, the prosecutions referenced Lori’s religious beliefs, and this podcast talks about her religious beliefs.

1:34 p.m. Boyce overrules the objection. He will allow Todd to hear a little of the podcast to authenticate it and then 40 minutes will be played. But if the state wants to review the podcast after it’s been authenticated, the court will stop the podcast at any point and let them review it. The first 40 minutes will be played.

1:32 p.m. Boyce says the witness himself may or may not be able to lay the foundation for this. “If Mr. Gilbert recognizes this as a podcast he has listened to and can confirm it was the podcast he listened to before, it would allow enough of a foundation for the court to potentially admit the podcast.”

1:31 p.m. The recording is not on the state’s exhibit list. Archibald said the podcast was disclosed in discovery, but they did not put it on their exhibit list because “we did not know Mr. Gilbert was going to say what he said.”

1:30 p.m. Blake says there is no relevance to admitting the podcast because Todd simply shared some religious beliefs. “We would request if the court adamits this exhibit, we take a recess to give the state a chance to review it.”

1:28 p.m. Blake says the state objects for multiple reasons. She says there is a lack of foundation, the witness testified about a podcast he heard – “there is no indication he was present to authenticate the recording was true and accurate. He has not indicated a date or time when the podcast was made. He has not indicated the date and time he heard it. He had not indicated which media where he heard it.” Blake says the podcast contains hearsay – none of the speakers on the podcast are here other than Lori. “This appears to be an attempt by the defendant to try and get statements in without taking the stand.”

1:26 p.m. Archibald says playing the podcast will provide a foundation in the case. He says the first 40 minutes are distinct in that all four of the speakers identify themselves and their history – “and then it repeats itself.” Archibald says he would be OK with playing the first 40 minutes rather than the entire podcast.

1:25 p.m. Archibald says admitting the exhibit will help educate the jury on the religious beliefs. “Mr. Gilbert testified through questions from the state that Chad Daybell told him about dreams and visions. He was teaching gospel topics and religious subjects.”

1:22 p.m. Archibald says the podcast was recorded on Nov. 4, 2018. Melanie Gibb welcomes everyone. She speaks for four minutes. Furuseth then speaks for 14 minutes about his hard life and finding God. Jason Mow then speaks for 13 minutes. He introduces himself as a retired police officer and now a motivational speaker. He talks about being down in the dumps and then finding Jesus. Lori Vallow is the next speaker. She talks for nine minutes. She introduces herself and talks about her former husband Joe Ryan abusing her children and how finding Jesus and attending the temple helped her escape her scenario. Jason, Melanie, Furuseth, Lori, even Zulema speak and asks questions. “It’s a podcast that I believe this witness listened to since he identified the names, he identified Lori Vallow, Melanie Gibb, Thor and Jason Mow,” Archibald says.

1:21 p.m. Sidenote: I have reached out and attempted to interview Jason Mow and Furuseth a few times over the years. Neither one has expressed any interest.

1:20 p.m. Defense wants the entire one-hour, 49-minute podcast admitted as evidence and played for the jury. The prosecution does not want it admitted. Jason Mow and Furuseth recorded podcasts with Lori and Melanie Gibb.

1:19 p.m. Boyce says we need to hear a motion outside the presence of the jury. Boyce asks the jurors to leave the courtroom.

1:16 p.m. Archibald asks to play a podcast featuring Jason Mow, Lori, Melanie Gibb and Furuseth. Blake asks for a sidebar. White noise is played in the courtroom.

1:13 p.m. Archibald asks Todd who Jason Mow is. “He’s a man in Arizona that was involved in the podcast. I don’t know a real lot about him,” Todd responds. Archibald asks who Melanie Gibb is. Todd says it’s Lori’s friend. Todd doesn’t remember anyone else on the podcast other than Lori. “They interviewed Chad one time, and we heard that.” Archibald asks about Thor Furuseth, and Todd is familiar with him.

1:12 p.m. Archibald asks about “Preparing a People” conferences and podcasts Todd listened to. “I know Lori was involved in a podcast with Melanie Gibb and Jason Mow.”

1:11 p.m. Archibald asks Todd who Chad’s target audience was for his books. “People who are into preparation, being prepared,” Todd says. “Being prepared to be able to survive the bad things as they go along. If you’re prepared, you’ll be able to handle them a lot better than if you’re not.”

1:10 p.m. “I feel that he thought a lot of that stuff was going to happen that way, and that’s why he wrote it that way. I think he thought it was going to be real life,” Todd says. The books were about the end of the world – bad things would happen, and then Jesus would come.

1:09 p.m. “The Times of Turmoil” was a series Chad wrote about Todd. “When you read these books with your name in it as Brother Gilbert, was that flattery or an insult?” Archibald says. “I think it was flattery. He told me beforehand he was going to have me in one of the books, so I knew it was coming,” Todd responds.

1:07 p.m. Todd says Chad would sometimes talk with him about his visions. “Did you believe he was telling you the truth or that he was full of crap?” Archibald asks. Todd says he was open to listening but wasn’t sure what to think. Archibald now asks Todd about a book Chad wrote about him, “Brother Gilbert.”

1:06 p.m. Archibald asks Todd if he was familiar with Chad Daybell before Chad moved in. Todd says he had read some of Chad’s books – “they were kind of interesting. They were based on fiction mixed with some of the visions he had seen.”

1:05 p.m. Archibald asks what church Todd attended with Chad and Tammy Daybell. He says the LDS Church Salem 3rd Ward.

1:04 p.m. We are back from lunch. It was a longer break due to technical difficulties. Boyce is on the bench and jurors are in their seats. Todd Gilbert remains on the stand for cross-examination by Jim Archibald.

11:52 a.m. Blake has no further questions. We are breaking for lunch. Defense will cross-examine in about an hour.

11:51 a.m. After Lori was arrested and brought back to Rexburg, Chad visited the Gilberts. “Without going into the details about why he was there, do you recall a conversation taking place about his prior statement about Lori having a daughter who had passed away?” Blake asks. Todd recalls his wife asking about Tylee. “He said she (Tylee) didn’t really like him too much, and she kind of stayed away.”

11:50 a.m. Todd says Chad told him that his kids felt good about Lori despite missing Tammy. Chad told Todd two or three times that Tammy visited him in spirit and was fine with everything. Her mission was complete on this earth, and she could move on. Tammy told Chad to comfort the kids, and she thought it was fine.

11:49 a.m. Chad told the Gilberts he and Lori were taking Chad’s kids to Disneyland. They never mentioned taking Lori’s kids to Disneyland. The Gilberts never saw any children belonging to Lori Vallow.

11:47 a.m. Chad and Lori never said anything about Lori having a minor son. Around Thanksgiving, Chad and Lori visited again and said they just got married. They showed the Gilberts all of their wedding photos.

11:46 a.m. Chad said he was going to move to Hawaii because he had a friend who wanted him to help write a book. Chad said he was going to marry Lori “when Christ told them to get married.” Todd recalled Lori saying she had a previous husband who died of a heart attack in December. “We asked her if she had any children, and she said she had many,” Todd recalls. Chad said Lori had a daughter who had just passed away. Chad never corrected or said anything different after Lori said that about her daughter.

11:44 a.m. Around two to three nights later, Todd says Chad and Lori both came to the Gilberts’ house. “We spoke about how they were getting along, and they seemed to be going well at that point.” Todd says the biggest thing he noticed is Chad and Lori were acting like a couple of teenagers who were first in love – holding hands, sitting close to each other, Chad was rubbing her leg. “I thought that was odd as his spouse had just passed a week and a half ago.” Todd had never seen Chad act like that with Tammy.

11:43 a.m. A few days later, the Gilberts met Chad, Lori and Melani P. in the Rexburg Temple. Chad introduced the Gilberts to his girlfriend. It was a short visit.

11:40 a.m. A few days after Chad moved out, the Gilberts called and said they wanted to bring him pizza at his new apartment to see how he was doing. Chad said he would come to their house instead. He showed up an hour later and ate some cookies. He said he had a girlfriend named Lori Vallow. Todd had heard Lori’s name before because he had listened to podcasts with her, Melanie Gibb and Jason Mow.

11:38 a.m. After Tammy’s funeral, Chad told Todd that he was moving in with a friend who had an apartment on Pioneer Road. At Tammy’s funeral, Todd says Chad didn’t seem sad. “He seemed like he could handle everything OK, and then in the funeral when he spoke, which personally I thought was odd too because most people don’t do that when their spouse dies, he did show some emotions and spoke for some time.”

11:36 a.m. Todd says he observed Tammy at church, and she never appeared to have failing health. Chad and Tammy often sat up in the front of the building. They were there as a family. As time went on, they slowly moved back and by the time of June 2019 happened, they were sitting clear in the back. “They seemed a little distant from each other, and Chad was talking less to me about stuff. He said people talking about preparations was getting old, so he was taking a break.”

11:34 a.m. The Gilberts arrived at Chad’s house around 8:15 to 8:30 a.m. Todd mentioned the vision Chad had told him earlier in the year actually happened. He says Chad turned his back to his kids and somewhat whispered to Todd, “Yes, it did.”

11:34 a.m. Todd went with his wife to Chad Daybell’s house on the morning Tammy Daybell died. Todd says Chad seemed “business-like” more than if someone had just lost their companion. “Things were already planned out and ready to go for the funeral.”

11:32 a.m. Todd says Chad started to teach him religious-related topics. “If they were standard LDS topics, I agreed with him.” If they weren’t, Todd ignored them. In February 2019, as Chad was leaving the Gilberts’ house, Chad said, “I don’t know if I should tell you this or not, but I’ve had a vision that Tammy is going to die and move on before her 50th birthday.”

11:31 a.m. Todd had read some of Chad’s book, and Chad spoke with his neighbor about his dreams and visions and characters in his book. Chad said the books were fictional and patterned after his visions.

11:30 a.m. Todd knew Chad was an author, and when the Gilberts moved into the area in March 2017, they got to know the Daybells. Todd often interacted with Chad. They saw each other once a week in the yard and once a week at church.

11:28 a.m. Todd Gilbert is now called to the stand. Todd is married to Alice.

11:27 a.m. Blake has some re-direct questions. “Did Chad appear enamored with Lori?” Response: “Absolutely.” Blake: “And Chad was more enamored with Lori than he was with Tammy?” Alice says yes. Blake has nothing further. Alice is released from the witness stand.

11:26 a.m. Archibald asks if Alice thought Lori was enamored with Chad. Alice says, “They were definitely in love.” Archibald has no further questions.

11:24 a.m. Archibald asks Alice if the Church of the Firstborn is a splinter group of the LDS Church. Blake objects and says the question is beyond the scope. Boyce sustains it. Archibald asks Alice if Chad was a “weird guy.” She says he was, but there are a lot of weird people. Archibald asks Alice if she looks to Chad for spiritual guidance. She says she did not.

11:23 a.m. Archibald asks Alice if Chad spoke about the Church of the Firstborn. She says not in the seminars, but she heard Chad talk about it in conversations with her husband. “Sometimes you just nod and listen, but again, you have no idea.”

11:21 a.m. Archibald asks if the subject matter at the conference was approved by the church. Alice says no. There were all kinds of topics discussed – fossils, The Book of Mormon, positivity, food storage, etc. “Did some of the topics focus on the end of the world?” Archibald asks. Alice responds, “I think Chad’s did.”

11:20 a.m. Archibald asks Alice if Chad’s goal in talking about his near-death experiences was to sell books. She says she thinks so. Archibald asks if the seminars were sanctioned or approved by the church. Alice doesn’t think so. She says she learned about Preparing a People after seeing a brochure in Rexburg.

11:18 a.m. Archibald asks Alice if she spoke with Chad about the conferences he went to. She says she and her husband attended Preparing a People conferences in Rexburg and Boise. She believes she went to the one in Rexburg in 2018 and the one in Boise in 2019. Chad presented at both seminars and attempted to sell his books.

11:16 a.m. Archibald asks Alice if she’s aware of what Chad did for a living. She says she knew Chad wrote books. She read Chad’s last series before they moved to Rexburg. Alice says she wasn’t sure about the books. She didn’t talk much with him about the books. Alice says she never spoke with Chad about his visions, but her husband did sometimes at church.

11:14 a.m. Archibald is cross-examining Alice Gilbert. He asks how Alice got to know Melanie Gibb. Alice says she didn’t know Melanie, but she listened to podcasts with Melanie Gibb and Lori. Archibald asks what kind of podcasts they were. “They were upbeat and positive podcasts. Encouragement. A lot of life in the podcasts.”

11:13 a.m. Alice then recalls overhearing Chad tell someone, “They think I killed my wife.” Blake has no further questions.

11:10 a.m. During his visit to the Gilberts, Alice confronted Chad about the fact that he told her Lori’s daughter had died. Chad denied telling her this. She knew the kids were missing and said to Chad, “Didn’t Tylee deserve a life? A car? A boyfriend?” Chad responded, “She didn’t like people, and she didn’t like me.” Alice was struck that Chad used the past tense.

11:06 a.m. Blake asks for a sidebar after Thomas objects to some of her questions.

11:05 a.m. After Lori was arrested in Hawaii, Chad visited the Gilberts and asked if he could live in one of their spare bedrooms. He said his house was too crowded. Alice said they had a daughter coming to live with them, and they didn’t have room. When Lori’s bond hearing was scheduled, Chad visited the Gilberts and asked if they would put their property up for bond. The Gilberts said they would think about it. Chad left. The next day Chad texted and said he had arranged for a bondswoman to come and talk with them.

11:02 a.m. Alice recalls Chad visiting her house by himself in February 2019. She was in the middle of a project, and she walked him to the door. “He stopped and said he had a vision that Tammy’s time on earth was coming to an end. It was fulfilled. He didn’t know how or when, but he didn’t see her living past the age of 50.”

11:01 a.m. After the visit, Chad and Lori came back after they got married. They returned to Idaho before the family California trip and stopped by the Gilberts to show them wedding pictures. Alice believes this was around two weeks after the initial visit. She was shocked to see wedding pictures because they got married so quickly.

10:58 a.m. Chad told the Gilberts he was going to go to Hawaii to write a book. Chad said they were going to get married, but they didn’t know when. They mentioned they were taking Chad’s kids to Disneyland around Thanksgiving. Nothing was said of Lori’s kids. “I had the impression that Lori had no other children, that she was an empty nester. I thought the daughter who had died was like an older daughter who died of cancer or illness or something.”

10:56 a.m. Alice asked Lori if she had been married. Lori said her husband died of a heart attack. Chad said Lori recently lost a daughter, and Alice expressed her sympathies for Lori. Alice says Chad was not flirtatious or affectionate with Tammy. Alice recalls asking Lori if she was used to the cold because, in October 2019, there was an extreme, hard, early frost. The potato farmers were getting their harvest done early, so Gilbert remembers how cold it was. This was the week of Oct. 26, 2019.

10:55 a.m. Chad brought Lori over to meet the Gilberts. “They came in and sat on the couch. They were quite affectionate with each other,” she recalls. “It was abnormal for us to see Chad that way. His arm was around her; he had his arm over her legs. She was giggling and laughing. For my husband and I, we were embarrassed just because we hadn’t seen Chad that way. They looked like teenagers.”

10:53 a.m. Lori was not with Chad when she visited the Gilberts. Alice says she and her husband work at the temple on Tuesday night. They were waiting in a room one Tuesday night, and Chad tapped her on the shoulder and asked Alice to come in the hallway. Alice met Lori and her niece Melani. “It was awkward,” Alice says.

10:51 a.m. Alice says she and her husband reached out to visit Chad on Oct. 26 after Tammy’s death. Chad said he would come to their house. “He came over to our place, and I made cookies. He came in and sat in the kitchen. We asked how he was doing. He said, ‘Actually, I’m going very good.’ He said he met the woman he was going to marry.” Alice and her husband were shocked. Chad went on to say how beautiful Lori was and said they met at a conference in St. George. They asked for her name, and Chad didn’t want to say but eventually he said Lori Vallow.

10:49 a.m. We are back from the break. Jurors are being brought in.

10:18 a.m. After about a week, Alice called Chad and asked if she could come and visit Chad with her husband. Chad said no but said he would come and see her. We are now going on a morning break until 10:45 a.m.

10:16 a.m. Alice says the kids were eating and didn’t question their father about him moving. On the following Friday, Alice stopped in to see Emma and Garth. Emma was crying, she missed her mom and she said Chad “didn’t want anything to do with her or her siblings.” Alice then went to Garth’s house. “He said he was hoping he wouldn’t lose his dad.” Alice says Emma got very sick and lost a lot of weight. The ward and school district went bringing in meals to the children who were living at Chad and Tammy’s house.

10:14 a.m. Alice did not go to the memorial service the next day because they were at the funeral. The Relief Society presidencies and Bishop took a meal that night to Chad’s house. Chad was there and said he was moving out because he couldn’t be there. Chad said he was moving to Rexburg to a friend who had a condo. He said his friend was hardly ever there and was letting Chad stay there. “He called the friend a ‘he.'” Alice thought it was a male friend.

10:12 a.m. Alice says the funeral was nice, and the kids all spoke. “They did a good job,” she recalls. “They did really nice talks and tributes to her.” Chad spoke last. “He gave a good talk too. Maybe more like a church talk than a spouse would speak about their spouse.”

10:11 a.m. Alice went to Tammy’s funeral in Springville. “I had to tell her goodbye,” she says as she starts to cry. She grabs a tissue and apologized for crying. “She looked good. I had to see her.”

10:09 a.m. Alice had seen Tammy the previous Wednesday, and she seemed fine. Tammy did not complain of any health issues and she never had a coughing fit. Alice asked the kids if they had breakfast and they had not. Alice said she and her husband would go get them breakfast. As she got up to leave, Chad told her the funeral was going to be Tuesday and a memorial on Wednesday. Alice said this seemed very quick, and she asked if Chad planned this – meaning if Tammy and Chad had previously planned their funerals, etc. Chad responded, “No.” Alice says it caught her off guard.

10:07 a.m. At 7 a.m. on Oct. 19, Emma called Alice sobbing and said her mom had died. Chad took the phone from Emma and told Alice not to tell anyone and wait for about an hour. Alice told Chad she needed to call the bishop. Chad told her not to call the bishop – but she still did. Alice went over to the house around 8:30 a.m. and Chad met them at the door. Chad gave her a hug and all the kids were there with their spouses except for Mark. “The children were stunned. They were all on the couch and chairs and they could hardly speak. They were stunned. Chad was not stunned.”

10:05 a.m. Alice says Tammy and Chad’s relationship was normal at first. He would help set up chairs for activities and support her. In 2019, he became more distant. Tammy never mentioned her relationship to Alice but did once mention that finances were becoming strained. Alice never noticed Tammy slow down before her death – “in fact, I think it’s increased.” Alice never saw Tammy faint or have shaking fits.

10:05 a.m. Alice says Tammy was shy, very organized and knew computers very well. Whenever they planned an activity, Tammy said, “Let’s keep it simple.” And it seemed to work – “and that’s how she lived. Simple.”

10:04 a.m. Alice was the Relief Society president, and Tammy was the first counselor. She says they met once a week for meetings and then on Sundays. They began serving together in October 2018 and were in the same presidency until Tammy died.

10:01 a.m. Blake calls Alice Gilbert to the stand. Alice says she moved into the Daybell’s neighborhood and LDS ward in 2017. Alice worked with Tammy at church.

9:58 a.m. Sidebar is over. Blake is now asking Mattingly some follow-up questions. “Are you aware whether or not Mr. Daybell does have charges pending for insurance fraud?” Mattingly says he can’t recall. “Did you learn whether or not the defendant was living off the proceeds of those insurance funds while living in Hawaii with Lori Vallow?” Blake asks. Mattingly says, “He was.” Blake has no further questions and Mattingly is released from the stand.

9:53 a.m. Blake asks for a sidebar with Boyce and the other attorneys. White noise is played in the courtroom.

9:51 a.m. Archibald asks if the life insurance companies wanted their money back from Chad Daybell because of fraud. Mattingly says it was discussed but he’s not sure if anything came of it. Archibald has no further questions.

9:49 a.m. Mattingly says the Primerica life insurance policy was established in Springville, Utah before Tammy and Chad moved to Idaho. The LifeMap policy was offered through the school district. Tammy worked part-time at the district and when she went full-time, she was eligible for a maximum amount. After working at the district a year, she was eligible to receive five times her annual salary.

9:48 a.m. Archibald asks Mattingly if he reviewed Tammy’s school personnel file. Mattingly says he did and there were no issues – she was a good employee.

9:46 a.m. Archibald asks if Mattingly if he knew what type of medicine Tammy was on. He says Tramadol and an anti-depressant. Mattingly believes the Tramadol was for pain in her wrist.

9:45 a.m. Archibald asks Mattingly if he learned Lori was in Hawaii at the time of Tammy’s death. Mattingly says he was aware of that. Archibald asks Mattingly if he knew Lori’s device was not on Chad Daybell’s property on Oct. 9 or 19. Mattingly says, “It was not.”

9:44 a.m. Mattingly clarifies there was an additional $50,000 on the LifeMap policy – so the total payout was $130,000. Blake has no further questions. Archibald will now cross-examine.

9:42 a.m. Tammy and Chad were listed on the Primerica policy. They were each the beneficiaries on the policy. The amount for Tammy was $300,000. It was paid to Chad Daybell when Tammy died. On the LifeMap policy, Tammy was insured and Chad was the beneficiary. The amount was for $80,000 and it was paid out to Chad.

9:38 a.m. Mattingly says Tammy had two life insurance policies. One was from Primerica, the other was from LifeMap. Mattingly sent search warrants to both companies. Blake asks to admit documents associated with the life insurance.

9:37 a.m. There was no slowdown in Tammy’s activity in the month leading up to her death, Mattingly testifies. He says he never found anything to support she was having health issues but he did learn Tammy was involved in clogging, Zumba and was preparing for a 5K that she completed just before school started in 2019.

9:35 a.m. We now see a screen showing the total number of steps Tammy took each month from January through October 2019. Total steps for the year was 2,787,647. Mattingly says compared to averages, Tammy’s steps were a little below average in the first part of the year but she was above average the rest of the year. “Tammy was very active up until the time of her death.”

9:31 a.m. Blake displays an image on the big courtroom screen showing Tammy’s Fitbit activity. Mattingly says the device Tammy tracked her heart rate but not record the history. It also appeared that Tammy very rarely wore the Fitbit to bed. “The reason we were looking for that is so we could narrow down her time of death.”

9:30 a.m. Detectives noticed a Fitbit on Tammy’s nightstand. Mattingly issued a search warrant to Fitbit and received information back from the company. There was no heart rate or sleep patterns recorded on the Fitbit but Tammy’s step count was recorded.

9:28 a.m. Blake asks if Mattingly saw anything in Tammy’s medical records that showed she had a history of fainting. Mattingly says he did not. She asks if Tammy had any dizziness or dizzy spells. “None.” Blake asks if Tammy had a history of seizures or low blood pressure. Mattingly says there was none and her medical history was “completely opposite” of what Chad told investigators.

9:26 a.m. The medical records will not be shown to the court and jury at this time. The defense asks to review them. Mattingly says he reviewed them and from an investigative standpoint, nothing stood out to him.

9:23 a.m. Mattingly says they obtained a search warrant for Seasons Medical, Teton Medical and Walmart pharmacy. Blake asks to admit Tammy’s medical records as evidence.

9:21 a.m. Mattingly says it became a joint investigation because the FBI, Rexburg Police, Chandler Police and Gilbert Police were all doing investigations into suspicious activities.

9:20 a.m. Mattingly says on Nov. 1, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office began investigating the disappearance of JJ and Tylee. They began investigating Tammy’s death in December.

9:19 a.m. Deputy Greenhalgh told Mattingly she learned about the event on Oct. 9 for a report of a suspicious call of a paintball gun that had been pointed at Tammy. Mattingly was not involved in the paintball gun investigation. No additional investigation was done into Tammy’s death on Oct. 19.

9:17 a.m. Mattingly received a call on Oct. 19, 2019 for a report of the unattended death of Tammy Daybell. Deputy Greenhalgh went out of the house and called Mattingly. He says she told him she did not find anything suspicious. Mattingly did not respond to the house.

9:16 a.m. Mattingly has worked for the Fremont County Sherriff’s Office for 22 years. He has been a detective for six years.

9:15 a.m. Blake will be questioning Mattingly.

9:13 a.m. Dr. Christensen leaves the courtroom. Next witness called by the state is Fremont County Sheriff’s Office Det. Bruce Mattingly. He has been on the stand before.

9:11 a.m. Blake: “Would you expect a dead person to roll out of bed?” Christensen: “Not without some sort of force.” He says he has seen dead bodies shift positions but it’s usually from decomposition and after the person has been dead for quite some time. Blake has no further questions.

9:09 a.m. Blake: “While you can’t say for sure, did those bruises appear consistent with someone who was restrained?” Christensen: “They are consistent with that.”

9:08 a.m. Christensen rules out intoxicants as a likely cause of death because of “the exhaustive nature of the testing that was done.” He says hundreds and hundreds of medicines and drugs were not found in Tammy’s system.

9:06 a.m. Blake asks Christensen to clarify why he ruled out seizures as Tammy’s cause of death. He explains that most people who have seizures have normal brains. “A normal brain in and of itself does not exclude seizures and she certainly had a normal brain.” Christensen says Tammy’s age and her lack of history of seizures helped him rule it out. He says people who are 49 don’t usually start to have seizures.

9:03 a.m. Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake has further questions. The coroner determined Tammy’s cause of death as pulmonary edema but Christensen says that’s not a cause of death. It can be associated with a death but is not a cause, he says.

9:03 a.m. Thomas asks to admit an exhibit but then says he’s going to withdraw it. He has no further questions.

9:01 a.m. Thomas asks about Tammy’s time of death. “It’s possible Tammy had been lying dead in her bed for a number of hours prior to her discovery?” Christensen: “That’s certainly possible.”

9 a.m. Thomas asks Christensen why he associated the injuries with asphyxia. The doctor responds it was based on the locations of the bruises.

8:58 a.m. Thomas now talking about Christensen’s external review of Tammy’s body. Christensen says some bruises showed more hemorrhage than others. Thomas asks if the bruises were consistent with someone falling or being hit with something — or more consistent with someone behing held down. Christensen says he cannot determine how the bruises were caused and someone could fall down and get them.

8:55 a.m. Thomas asks Christensen why he tested for heavy metals. Christensen says it’s possible to die from heavy metal poisoning. The tests were sent to a lab in Utah and it was determined Tammy did not have heavy metals in her system.

8:54 a.m. Thomas asks about the vitamins and natural medications they found in Tammy’s house. He asks Christensen if it’s possible to overdose on vitamins or natural medications. Christensen says it’s possible to overdose on anything. Thomas asks if Christensen tested for vitamin poisoning. Christensen says he did not. Thomas asks if they tested for essential oil poisoning. Christensen says he’s unaware of a test for that.

8:51 a.m. Christensen mentions that Tammy’s brain was thoroughly inspected by a doctor who specializes in brains. The brain was dissected and he looked for medical abnormalities associated with seizures. “It’s possible he could have missed something?” Thomas asks. “It’s possible,” Christensen responds. “And it’s possible she could have died from a seizure?” Thomas asks. “It’s possible,” Christensen says.

8:49 a.m. Thomas mentions that Tammy was on Fluoxetine – a generic version of Prozac. “Isn’t it true that a side effect of Fluoxetine is seizures?” Thomas asks. Christensen says perhaps – he isn’t aware of all the side effects. But Christensen stresses he does not believe Tammy had a seizure – although he can’t be 100% sure.

8:46 a.m. Thomas asks about seizures and if there is any way to check if there were abnormal electric issues in the brain after they died. “It’s kind of like a car because after the car dies, you can’t check to see if there was an engine problem because the car is dead.” Christensen responds “it’s very unlikely” Tammy suffered from a seizure given her medical history and his experience in conducting exams.

8:45 a.m. Thomas asks if Tammy’s mouth was inspected. Christensen says he doesn’t specifically recall but imagines he would have because it’s what he typically does. Christensen says there was nothing abnormal on Tammy’s x-rays.

8:43 a.m. Thomas asks if the frothy substance on Tammy Daybell’s mouth was ever collected or tested. Christensen says he’s not aware of any testing. Thomas asks if that’s normal. Christensen says testing is not done on it – “I don’t know what testing you would do.” Thomas pushes back that maybe there was poison or substances in the frothy substance that could be tested. Christensen says there probably wouldn’t be enough to test and there are better samples to use from the autopsy for testing – like tissues or blood.

8:41 a.m. Thomas asks for clarification on what pathology is and what anatomic pathology is. “It’s learning to diagnosis cancer and it’s focused on the examination of disease and tissue.”

8:40 a.m. John Thomas will be cross-examining Dr. Erik Christensen. He begins by asking about his educational background.

8:34 a.m. Judge Boyce has entered the courtroom and the jury is being brought in.

8:31 a.m. John Prior is in the courtroom today dressed in jeans and a polo shirt. He is sitting in front of me on a row reserved for the defense. John Thomas’ daughter and a friend are also here observing.

8:29 a.m. Bailiff giving instructions to the courtroom – phones must be silenced, no photos or video, no eating. Larry and Kay Woodcock are here. Defense attorneys and prosecutors are at their tables. Lori Daybell is dressed in black today and is chatting with lawyers. She walked into the courtroom carrying a manilla envelope.

8:19 a.m. Courtroom gallery is full again today. I’m sitting next to a man who drove six hours from The Dalles, Oregon to be here. He was shocked he was able to get a ticket to be in the actual courtroom. Plenty of seats remain open every day in the Ada County and Madison County overflow rooms.

8:15 a.m. It’s day 20 and Utah Medical Examiner Dr. Erik Christensen will be back on the stand for cross-examination. Yesterday he testified about bruises found on Tammy Daybell’s body during her autopsy. You can read about his testimony and other developments from Monday here.


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