LIVE UPDATES FROM THE LORI VALLOW DAYBELL TRIAL
7 p.m. Jurors have left for the day. They will be back tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. to continue deliberations. I’ll be back too with more updates.
3:51 p.m. Lori’s defense attorneys remain in the courtroom but the prosecution team left shortly after the jury did. Larry and Kay Woodcock are here in their seats. Just spoke with Larry – he thanks everyone for their concern and is feeling much better. He’s watching videos on his iPad as he waits. Kay is chatting with Tammy Daybell’s aunt.
3:49 p.m. Jurors have left every day at 3:30 p.m. during the trial. Not today. They are still deliberating.
2:48 p.m. Here are the sketches from this morning:
2:33 p.m. Here is video of Larry Woodcock walking into court this morning.
2:28 p.m. Jim Archibald is leaving the courtroom but Larry Woodcock grabbed his hand and is shaking it like they are old friends. Larry has told me in the past he knows the attorneys are doing their job and respects them. Around 50-75 people are mingling in the courtroom.
2:13 p.m. Boyce asks attorneys on both sides for their contact information in case something comes up. “With that, we will be adjourned until we hear back from the jury.”
2:12 p.m. Jurors walk out of the courtroom. Lori is whispering to her attorneys.
2:11 p.m. Two bailiffs are being sworn in to watch over the jury, keep communication from getting to them and make sure they will be secure. Boyce tells the jury the case is now in their hands.
2:10 p.m. Seven men and five women remain on the jury.
2:09 p.m. The following jurors will go home: 18, 1, 2, 17, 3, 7. All the jurors leave the courtroom and now the remaining jurors will come back in to be sworn in for deliberations.
2:03 p.m. Boyce tells them they still cannot discuss the case until it’s over. They can’t talk to the media or anyone else until they’ve been notified that a verdict has been reached. Boyce sincerely thanks them and now the clerk will draw six random numbers assigned to the juror seat numbers.
2:01 p.m. Wood’s arguments are over. Boyce addresses the jury and says only 12 of them will deliberate. The clerk will draw six numbers of who the alternates are. These people will go home and be dismissed but need to be reachable should they need to be recalled.
2 p.m. Wood: “When Lori would tell her friend (Zulema) that nothing she did in this life counted for her, that she could do whatever she wanted, she made a little motion. (he taps the podium and raises his hand and says, ‘Doesn’t count for me’). Well make it count for Lori Vallow that Tylee Ryan will never go to college. That her remains were buried and put in a bucket. Make it count for Lori Vallow that JJ Vallow, a boy with special needs, had a plastic bag over his head and fought for his life. And make it count for Lori that Tammy Daybell had to die so Lori could get to that money. Ladies and gentlemen, reason and common sense. Reason and common sense. You must convict her.”
1:57 p.m. Photos of Tammy, Tylee and JJ are on the screen. Wood: “If she didn’t intend for their children to die, what mother doesn’t go report that they are missing or dead? It makes no sense to say she is a good mom when she’s not reporting the deaths of her children or that her children are missing. She intended the deaths. You have the evidence. You must convict her.”
1:56 p.m. Wood: “When Chad says the kids are 2 or 3 percent, she’s upset it’s not zero. The defense says there’s no text about killing the kids. (Wood now quotes) ‘Do you think there’s a perfectly orchestrated plan to take the children?'”
1:55 p.m. Wood: “When Chad Daybell is texting her about going into the light, we all know what that means. And what does she say? ‘Let’s not kill kids’ – no, she says, ‘That is sweet.’ Lori’s own words hold her words against her. Think about the times she says she has no more patience.” Wood shows slides of texts between the two about death percentages and romantic texts.
1:53 p.m. Wood mentions the storm text. “What does Chad say? ‘Grab me by the storm and I will follow you to the end of the universe!’ Not, ‘Follow me, Lori.’ Don’t let Lori pin this all on one other person.”
1:52 p.m. Wood pushes back on the defense that Lori’s hair could have been on the sock, pajamas or in the bag. He says the hair was not in those places – it was on duct tape surrounding the plastic bag. “Lori knew exactly what was going on.
1:51 p.m. A slide is on the screen that says “show you the evidence.” Wood tells jurors to listen to the jail phone call from Chad to Lori: “You will hear the guilt and the fear in her voice because she and Chad both know what the police are going to find.” He tell them to watch the body camera footage when she and Chad are chilling by the pool.
1:50 p.m. Wood: “The innocent don’t need to lie. The guilty lie.”
1:49 p.m. Wood: “Remember the last thing Summer testified to you? Her own sister? When she was asked if Lori had been honest with her about the kids? Her response was Lori had lied. Lori lied to cover her crimes. Repeatedly. Does a good mom jet off to Hawaii when the rest of the world is looking for her kids?”
1:48 p.m. A graphic is shown on the screen that says “Lies Lori told – tell is what REALLY happened.” There are 14 circles with statements in each circle – from Tylee Ryan attending BYU-Idaho to Charles Vallow dying of a heart attack to telling Melanie Gibb that JJ was with Kay.
1:47 p.m. Wood: “Lori was tired of the obstacles. She was tired of JJ. She didn’t want to deal with him so she found someone else who could and they buried him in the ground.”
1:46 p.m. Wood: “She knew her children were dead because she helped plan it. She knew her children were dead because she encouraged it.”
1:44 p.m. Wood: “When Lori wants something, she finds a way to make it happen. She learned her lesson with Charles when she didn’t get the money so she waited until after the money hit her back before she killed Tylee. You heard evidence multiple times – she called Tylee dark. She learned her lesson and with JJ, she waited until after the money hit her bank to kill Tylee. When the whole word is out looking for your kids, does a good mom dance on the beach in Hawaii? No. Does a good mom bury her children in her ground and go bury a recent widower? No.”
1:42 p.m. Wood: “Ladies and gentlemen, the state has met its burden beyond a reasonable doubt. Reason and common sense. The evidence in this case is clear. The evidence in this case points to one common thread and that thread is Lori Vallow. The defense says she’s not a killer. She is a killer. Lori is the connection to the deaths. What connection does Chad Daybell have to Charles Vallow? Lori. Why did we talk about Charles Vallow? The motive. The defense says the math doesn’t add up. The defense didn’t give you all the numbers.”
1:41 p.m. Boyce is on the bench. Jurors are being brought in.
1:38 p.m. The prosecutors are at their table. Rob Wood will give a rebuttal in just a moment.
1:36 p.m. Jim Archibald has joined Lori and John at the table. It appears they are trying to cheer her up.
1:34 p.m. We are back in the courtroom. Lori has her back to the crowd and appears to be wiping tears from her face. John Thomas is close to her and has his arm on the back of her chair. She does not appear to be happy.
12:45 p.m. Wood will have a rebuttal after lunch. Back in 45 minutes.
12:44 p.m. Archibald: “If there is anything we’ve learned about a storm, you hide from a storm. You seek shelter from a storm. Lori spent her whole life protecting her children. Thank you again.” Archibald is done.
12:42 p.m. Archibald: “No one here thinks Lori actually killed anyone. That’s why she’s being charged with conspiracy. So they want you to be convinced that she’s part of this plan – that there’s a specific plan to kill. If you find her guilty, will that bring the kids back? Nope. If you find her not guilty, will that bring the kids back? Nope. You can’t be concerned about that. You need to be concerned with following the law and the lack of evidence.”
12:39 p.m. Archibald: “People who follow Jesus do good things. They are respectful, kind, serve others…’If someone wants you to walk a mile, walk two miles with them (Archibald gets choked up). Treat people like you want to be treated. Judge people like you want to be judged. Since you’re a sinner, be kind and forgiving of sinners. That’s the Jesus we know. That’s the Jesus that Lori knew. That’s the Jesus Lori taught her children about. That’s the Jesus Lori knew until she met Chad Daybell.”
12:36 p.m. Archibald: “Why can’t people escape religious leaders? Why can’t Lori escape and get back to her good mom life? Lori is not a leader in Chad’s new church – the Church of the Fireborn. Lori so wants to testify of Jesus. She wants to tell the world how much she loves Jesus. She wants to tell you she personally met him on more than one occasion. But is Lori a leader or a follower of Chad? She so wants to be a leader but she’s not leading anyone. She’s following Chad. She thinks Chad is following Jesus but he’s not. He’s unfortunately being led by the storm – not the first guy to be led by the storm.”
12:35 p.m. Archibald: “Was it proven who killed JJ? No but Chad got in a scratch fight with JJ the day before. Maybe those were the scratches on JJ’s neck. Alex was only at the gravesite for JJ for 17 minutes. That’s not enough time to find a board, find rocks and line them up. I’m guessing Alex had help from Chad. Of the 15,000 texts you have in evidence, show me one where Lori is part of that conspiracy. ‘When are you killing JJ by the way? There is no such text.'”
12:33 p.m. Archibald: “What’s going on in Chad’s brain? You and I wound’t believe it – but some people do. Some people follow religious leaders when others don’t. Was it proven who killed Tylee? No – but Alex and Chad were in the backyard. Chad had said, ‘Tylee doesn’t like me.’ I’m guessing Chad and Alex on Tylee. Did they prove that Lori conspired? Of the 15,000 texts they have in evidence, show me one from Lori that says, ‘So when are you killing Tylee?'”
12:31 p.m. Archibald says Lori kept asking Chad what was happening “because Chad’s been to heaven and he knows.” He brings up the fact that Chad would change percentage ratings for people because “he’s making it up as he goes. He can’t remember if it’s zero percent when people die or 100 percent when people die.”
12:29 p.m. Archibald brings up Audrey’s testimony and says he thought she was “making up stuff.” What did we learn about her? “That she was married to Jesus, that kind of cool. That I’ll follow you to five different states even though I didn’t really follow you.” Archibald apologizes to the jury for getting a little “excited” with Audrey because he didn’t believe her. “You have to sort through that and decide what is credible and not credible with these witnesses. What is real and what is imaginary?”
12:27 p.m. Archibald talks about the prophecy Chad told the neighbors about – that Tammy would die before she was 50. “Wouldn’t Tammy also know about this prophecy? Couldn’t that be why she increased her life insurance? Tammy was still with Chad even though he was so nutty. She stood by him even as they went bankrupt as he was trying to sell his stupid books. So her prophetic husband who said, ‘Dear wife, you’re going to die next year’ – could that cause her to increase her life insurance? Prove to me that that’s false.”
12:24 p.m. Archibald brings up Tammy’s death. “That death is up in the air. Was she even murdered? Was it a natural death? To believe she was murdered, Chad is so smooth that he convinced a county coroner, a deputy coroner, and a police officer that it was all natural causes and convinced his kids. Remember the kids showed up, ‘Oh my. What happened to Mom.’ Chad convinced them all – Sorry kids, mom died in her sleep. Ok dad. You’re being asked to convict Lori on killing Tammy when Lori’s in Hawaii. Yuo’re being asked to convict Lori on killing Tammy when it isn’t even a homicide.”
12:22 p.m. Archibald talks about the photos that “I’m sure are burned into your brain” — the autopsy photos — before transitioning to the hair found on the duct tape wrapped around JJ’s body. “Is that a smoking gun? No, not at all. Why not? Because decomposition fluid was also in that bag, the pajamas were also in that bag, kids socks were also in that bag, a kid’s blanket was also in that bag. To say Lori is a killer because they found a piece of her hair on duct tape, that’s not true. I would hope all of you who are mothers – I hope your hair is somewhere on your kid’s pajamas, socks or blanket.”
12:21 p.m. Archibald quotes Summer’s testimony of Lori being a good mom, getting along with Tylee and Lori never agreeing to kill her kids.
12:20 p.m. Archibald references Summer Shiflet’s testimony and the phone call. “I have supported you your whole life. Chad has lied to you. Chad has deceived you,” Archibald quotes. Then he says Alex was a 16-year-old stuck in an adult body because of a car accident.
12:19 p.m. “They say she’s cunningly coming up with a plan to knock off all these people. Why not go get insurance policies on the kids? She didn’t go get an insurance policy on the kids. Does that tell you she wasn’t planning to kill her kids or she would have gotten policies,” Archibald says.
12:18 p.m. Archibald says Lori lied to protect Chad – her lover, her eternal in how many worlds companion. “How can someone have that much control over you? We’ve heard how reason and common sense go out the windows sometimes when religious principles are involved,” Archibald says.
12:16 p.m. Archibald says on Lori’s rental application for her Rexburg home, she listed JJ and Tylee as her kids. “Why tell everyone you had two kids? Why enroll them in school? Why hire a babysitter? The only thing that makes sense to me if she didn’t have a plan. She wanted to be with Chad. They were obviously having an affair. Chad told her all the time about life and dark things but there was no plan by Lori to kill her kids.”
12:14 p.m. Archibald talking about April Ryan’s testimony of Lori trying to recruit her to join the 144,000. April declined to join in. Archibald talks about Lori hiring a babysitter to watch JJ. “If Lori has all these plans to kill her kid, why hire a babysitter and bring her over and introduce her and why check JJ into school? You’re going to kill your kid next week. Why do that? Because Lori didn’t have a plan. The state wants you to think that this was Lori’s plan to kill her kids.”
12:13 p.m. Archibald references Colby’s testimony where he said Lori was a good mom. He mentions the phone call from Colby to Lori and says “it was so painful.” Archibald gets choked up. “It’s just so painful.”
12:11 p.m. Archibald: “Look for the lack of evidence of who’s doing what.” He brings up Chad’s blessing to Alex. “To me it’s craziness. Opening the portals of time, third creation, fourth creation, great warriors, exaltation but came back in the fifth creation. What in the heck is Chad talking about? He’s the leader of his new church. He calls himself a patriarch. Just goofy stuff.”
12:09 p.m. Archibald goes on to describe the “weird religious babble that really does not make sense.” “In America, you can believe how you want but you can’t go killing people so what are they talking about? What is all this religious talk?” Archibald tells the jurors to listen to the call from Melanie Gibb where Lori says the kids are safe and happy. “Does she know Chad and Alex were out in the backyard together? remember all the GPS data? Lot’s not there. Lori’s not in the backyard when Chad and Alex are. She’s not coming and going from Chad’s property on those days. She’s not there. They are calling and texting her. Are they texting about today’s the day we are going to kill some people? We don’t know that. Maybe they were texting about running an errand – ‘Do you want a real Coke or a Diet Coke?”
12:08 p.m. Archibald says on the jail phone call from Chad, Lori did not know the kids were in the backyard. “Chad knew but does she know that Chad and Alex stuffed her kids in Chad’s backyard? Go listen to it again and you make your determination.”
12:06 p.m. Archibald recalls Officer Ray Heromosillo’s testimony. He testified that Chad Daybell, when the police showed up, called his lawyer. “And what’s Chad doing? He’s outside looking over his shoulder then he sped away and got arrested. So when Chad was looking over his shoulder, what’s that inference? That Chad knew what was in his backyard. He knew that time was short for him.”
12:04 p.m. Archibald says the first witness was Kay Woodcock. She described Charles and Lori as the all-American family. She trusted her brother and she trusted Lori. They each had two kids and then adopted one together. Kay said something changed in late 2018/early 2019. Brandon B. then testified and said Charles and Lori were great. “I loved that family like my own.” But then “all of the end of the world talk ramped up and things got weird.”
12:03 p.m. Archibald says there’s no doubt the children are dead but did Lori do it? “You’ve heard 60 witnesses and seen hundreds of exhibits. County police, local police, state police, federal police – a lot of resources. I want to review some of these with you.”
12:01 p.m. Archibald now talking about sex. “People have sex outside of marriage every day.” He compared the physical attractiveness between Chad and Charles. Archibald says it wasn’t about sex. “She’s reading his books during a hard time in her life and this guy is telling her she’s a goddess…and by the way, we’ve already been married in previous life so it’s not really cheating. And we were best friends with Jesus and Jesus approves so everything is ok. That’s quite the pickup line by Chad to Lori and it worked. Pretty scary that the pickup line from Chad to Lori worked.”
12:00 p.m. Now Archibald talks about power. “In the year Chad convinced her she was a goddess, how many converts did Lori have? Zero. A big fat zero. How many converts did Chad have? I count six. Melanie, Audrey, etc.” Archibald says, “This great cause of saving the world and gathering up the 144,000, Chad got six and Lori got zero. Doing some simple math, Chad has 143,994 people left to gather before Jesus comes. At the rate of six people a year, that will take Chad 24,000 years to get this army assembled. The math is ridiculous.”
11:56 a.m. Archibald says he respects the state’s argument that this is about money, sex and power. But he says Charles Vallow was making $400,000-500,000. He says that Lori was receiving far less in Social Security money after Charles’ death. So what is the point of the death? Then she moves on to Chad “who can’t sell enough stupid books about the end of the world” so Tammy has to support him. “So Lori wanted to ditch Charles who makes $400-500,000 a year and go to Chad who makes $30,000 a year and she wanted to do that for money?”
11:55 a.m. Archibald: “You’ve been able to see my client. You’ve been able to see the evil glares she gets from the audience. You’ve been able to see the witnesses and the evidence. You’ve been able to hear my client six times during this trial.” He then lists the pieces of evidence (the phone calls, body camera footage, the podcast).
11:54 a.m. Archibald: “Pretty soon six of you are going to have to get bumped. And that’s too bad. The judge is going to pick numbers out of a hat to see who stays and who goes. I think the thought was during a long trial, someone was going to get sick or have issues at home or a death in the family – something is going to happen that some of you are not going to show up. All of you showed up. To you alternates, thanks again for your service and I’m sorry you won’t get to deliberate with your fellow jurors.”
11:52 a.m. Archibald: “I talked to you weeks ago about paying attention to who does what. Pay attention to burden of proof. We don’t have to provide any witnesses or evidence and my client doesn’t have to testify. You can’t hold that against us.”
11:50 a.m. “Who is Chad Daybell?” Archibald asks. Lori read some of his books and Archibald explains all about the religious teachings, the 144,000, evil spirits, light and dark ratings, zombies, Jesus being in the temple – “quite a remarkable change in Lori from people who knew her. What the heck is going on? How can this be?” Archibald goes on to say, “One year after meeting Chad, four people are dead.” Archibald reminds jurors they shouldn’t consider Charles’ death in this case as Lori is not facing charges here in Idaho for the death.
11:49 a.m. Archibald explains about Lori marrying and divorcing Joseph Ryan. “The kids needed protecting from Joseph Ryan.” Now he talks about Charles Vallow and their marriage. “You heard JJ had medical issues when he was born and Charles and Lori were a good fit for him. They loved him and they cared for him. Then the story about Lori Vallow changes dramatically in October 2018.”
11:47 a.m. Archibald:” Who is Lori Vallow? What happened? Where did it happen? When did it happen? Why did it happen? That’s what you’ve been asked to figure out. That’s what you need to be convinced of beyond a reasonable doubt.” Lori was born in California, turns 50 next month, got married right out of high school. Got divorced, went to beauty school, got married and divorced again. “She worked hard as a single mother.”
11:45 a.m. Archibald: “Thank you for your service. you have a tough job. We talked about this almost seven weeks ago when we met. We talked about the case being difficult. You were asked if you could be fair and impartial and reserve judgment until the end. We’re getting close to the end. You were asked to be patient and attentive while putting your life on hold. Again – thank you.” Archibald thanks the prosecutors and says, “We’re small-town lawyers. We’re not from Boise. We’re called opposing counsel but we do respect each other. We respect the jobs we have to do.” Archibald says he does not have a Powerpoint.
11:44 a.m. Boyce is back on the bench. Archibald will now present his closing argument. He also is standing directly in front of the jury, like Wood, rather than at the lectern.
11:40 a.m. Bailiff just came to get the attorneys and said Boyce wants to meet with them in chambers. They all leave as Lori turns her back to the crowd.
11:37 a.m. Lori is with her attorneys and the prosecutors are at their table. We are waiting for Judge Boyce.
11:35 a.m. John Prior, Chad’s attorney, just walked in and is sitting on the row in front of us.
11:14 a.m. We are now taking a recess before Archibald gives closing arguments.
11:13 a.m. Wood: “What does justice for these victims require? It requires a conviction on every count.” Photos of JJ and Tylee and Tammy are on the screen. “You must convict her.” Wood is done.
11:10 a.m. Wood: “Ladies and gentlemen, you have your instructions. You are going to go back and deliberate. Read them carefully. Consider all the evidence. Look at all the facts. Look at the timeline. Charles Vallow, Tylee Ryan, JJ, Tammy. All within a short time frame. How are they tied together? Who could have killed those people? We have Lori Vallow, Chad Daybell, Alex Cox. Who had motive to kill those people? Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell. Who benefits from these murders? Lori Vallow gets Tylee’s money, she gets JJ’s money. Chad and Lori get Tammy’s money. What does your reason and common sense tell you? You’ve seen what happened to her children, what happened to Tammy. She never reported the children missing. She lied and she lied and she lied about where they were and while she lied, she kept collecting the money.”
11:08 a.m. Wood references the message Chad sent that said their spouses were “obstacles.” Chad sent a message to Lori on Oct. 5 asking for Lori to “seek a confirmation.” Wood now shows a slide documenting that Lori was in Missouri at the time of the attempted shooting. He shows a text from Lori to Melani B. telling her she can’t go out of town and Melani responds, “Ok Captain.” Wood says: “Lori was in charge. She was in command.”
11:07 a.m. Wood: “Lori never says, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t kill our relatives.’ There’s never a hesitation.” He references the Wifi password Alex set up “2manykids.” Lori responds, “Funny.” Wood: “It would be funny if her kids were still alive and maybe a little rambunctious. But her kids are dead.
11:05 a.m. Wood references Lori’s text to Chad in Aug. 2019. “I feel lost. Like I should be doing something to help,” referring to the deaths of the kids. Wood: “Not, ‘I’m worried about the kids’ but ‘I should do something to help’ get them closer to their deaths.” Lori uses sex to get Chad to do what she wants him to, Wood says.
11:03 a.m. The conversation goes into sexual text messages right after Chad and Lori were texting about the deaths of their spouses and the kids. Lori asks Chad if JJ is at zero yet. “She can’t wait (for JJ to die),” Wood says.
11:01 a.m. We now see a slide of text messages from Lori to Chad. After Charles was shot in the chest, Chad texts Lori, “Tammy is close. JJ is at a 2.” This was July 30, 2019. “On July 30, she’s already planning for JJ to go the same way as Charles. To be murdered.”
11:01 a.m. Wood: “This isn’t fantasy. Those children were found dead in real life in Chad Daybell’s backyard.”
10:59 a.m. The next slide says, “Sex: Obstacles to a Future Together.” Wood points out that when Chad spoke about Tylee and JJ being close to death (their death numbers), Lori responded with, “‘That is sweet. I miss you desperately.’ There is no doubt she wants these children gone. She is encouraging their murder. She wants these children gone.”
10:58 a.m. We now see a slide that says “Sex: Affair.” Text messages are displayed on the screen about kissing for hours, being cheek to cheek. “Lori uses sex to manipulate Chad and Chad seeks confirmation from Lori repeatedly.”
10:57 a.m. Wood: “The only reason religion matters is because it’s the tool they used to manipulate others. Who is the common thread here? Lori Vallow.”
10:56 a.m. Wood displays text messages showing the “grooming” of Alex Cox. “Lori Vallow is telling Alex Cox what to do. You never see Alex tell her what to do — she is always telling him what to do.” Wood references one message where Alex says, “My lips are sealed” and Lori responds, “Good boy.” Alex’s wife Zulema Pastenses testified that Alex believed “all of it.”
10:54 a.m. We now see a slide that says ‘Money: The benefits of Murder.” The next slide says “Power.” Wood: “It does not matter what they believed. It matters what they did. They can believe whatever they want. But when they use that to justify homicide, that changes. They used religion as a tool to manipulate others. Lori manipulated Alex Cox through religion. She manipulated Chad through emotional and sexual control. They manipulated their friends.”
10:52 a.m. Wood: “Get the money and then commit the murder.” He says she made sure to make arrangements to get money before JJ’s death as well. Wood explains the amount you need to find for grand theft is $1,000. “If you find Lori Vallow collected $1,000 that was not intended for her, you must find her guilty of grand theft.”
10:50 a.m. Wood: “We talk about money, power, sex. Lori learned a lesson with Charles Vallow. She learned how to get money before the deaths. Within a week, she’s already talking about the Social Security she’s going to get. It was planned. “We see a history timeline of when Tylee received Social Security money and when Lori switched accounts.”
10:48 a.m. Wood now shows the images of Tylee’s bones on the screen. He points to images and marks that show signs of stabbing. We now see a graphic photo of JJ Vallow’s body wrapped in tape. “They did this to a boy with special needs.” We now see Tammy’s autopsy photo. “There was nothing in her body that would have killed her. She had bruises on her arms that the ME stated were consistent with restraint. JJ had bruises on his arms, too.”
10:48 a.m. Wood: “Tylee, JJ and Tammy can’t tell us what happened. But their bodies do.”
10:46 a.m. Wood shows a photo of the grassy area where JJ’s body was buried. We now see a photo of the rocks and boards that were lying on top of JJ. “You heard the testimony of multiple officers about the smell emanating. And how they found what was a human head. Look at this grave. This was prepared in advance. This was a premeditated murder. You heard testimony that Lori Vallow handed JJ off to Alex Cox.”
10:44 a.m. Wood shows a chunk of concrete found in the ground “sitting on top of Tylee’s skull.” He says they also found pieces of Tylee “here – in the shed.” A photo of the shed is shown on the screen. We see a pickaxe that was taken to the Idaho State Lab and there was Tylee’s DNA in the eye of the pickaxe. We see a photo of the shovel that was tested for DNA. “There was blood on the handle and it matched to Tylee Ryan.”
10:42 a.m. Wood shows the firepit where Tylee was found. He shows an image of a chain and a jewelry charm found in the debris “being worn by Tylee Ryan.” “You sat satellite footage that same day of the disturbance in the ground. You saw how law enforcement found a dog and a cat (in the ground). They found what they thought might be human bones and they continued to dig. And this is what they found. This is what was left of Tylee Ryan. Charred flesh. Dismembered.” An image of Tylee’s remains are on the screen.
10:40 a.m. An overhead image of Chad Daybell’s property is shown on the screen. Wood explains a warrant was served on the property June 9, 2020. “Multiple officers testified to you of watching Chad Daybell in that car looking over his shoulder to the location of where Tylee Ryan was buried. You heard a phone call from that morning from Chad saying, ‘They’re searching the property.’ You can hear the fear and guilty in both of their voices. They know what’s about to happen.”
10:39 a.m. Wood now talking about the night Tammy died – “the night Tammy was murdered.” He shows a timeline showing the digital activity from that night between Alex and Chad and Tammy. An image is deleted from Tammy’s phone that night. Alex calls Lori at 11:53 pm. Lori is in Hawaii “on purpose – not a coincidence,” Wood says.
10:37 a.m. Wood talks about Chad getting his burner phone on Oct. 9 – the day Tammy was shot at. Alex is at his sister’s house and then goes to Sportsman’s Warehouse. “You can follow his phone as he scopes out the property.” Wood shows a timeline of digital data from that day. Fifteen texts between Alex and Chad in a short amount of time. “What ties Alex to Chad? Lori Vallow.”
10:35 a.m. “No matter how many tips police followed up on, they never found JJ. They never found Tylee except here – where Alex’s phone was pinged by GPS,” Wood says pointing to Chad’s backyard. Alex spent 17 minutes at Chad’s house that day. “That grave was not dug in 17 minutes. It was premeditated, planned.”
10:34 a.m. Wood reminds the jury of Melanie Gibb’s and David Warwick’s testimony. Lori told them JJ was a zombie and acting out. On the morning of Sept. 23, David asks about JJ. Lori tells him he was climbing up the cabinets and refrigerator so she sent him with Alex Cox. “An overt act. Alex Cox took possession of JJ that morning.” Wood now shows where Alex was that morning – in his apartment then on his way to Chad’s house “with JJ Vallow in tow.”
10:33 a.m. We now see a slide after Tylee was buried. Wood: “They’ve done the deed. They burned Tylee. They dismembered and buried her.”
10:31 a.m. We see the map of Alex’s movements from the morning of Sept. 9 and the GPS hits off his phone. There is a hit at the burn pit on Chad’s property, another hit right by where Tylee was buried and another hit at the gate to the property.
10:30 a.m. Wood says this all revolves around money and reminds the jury of Colby Ryan’s testimony. “Every two to three months, Lori would tell him we are out of money. It was a concern for her.” Wood shows the Google location history of Alex Cox and a map that lays out his cell phone activity the early morning of Sept. 9, 2019.
10:29 a.m. Wood: “Tylee Ryan was seen in Yellowstone National Park and then was never seen again. But she turned up in Chad Daybell’s pet cemetery.” Wood references the James and Elena story – “this was all a plan for them to be together without obstacles. Obstacles was the word they used.”
10:28 a.m. Wood reads the “raccoon text” from Chad Daybell to Tammy Daybell on Sept. 9. “This text is where Chad Daybell told us where to find Tylee Ryan.”
10:27 a.m. Wood talks about Chad Daybell searching SSW winds on Sept. 8. “The next day he knows he will be burning Tylee Ryan in his firepit and he needs to know which way the wind will be blowing. This is the only time he searches wind direction.” Wood shows the searches on the lollytime4ever account and Lori Vallow Google searches. “The day Tammy Daybell is being buried, Lori is looking up wedding dresses in Hawaii. Her boyfriend’s wife is being buried that day and she’s already looking for wedding dresses.”
10:25 a.m. Lori is looking at Wood as he is speaking. Wood reviews the digital evidence including all the searches on the homerjmaximus account (Alex Cox’s account). On the screen is a list of searches Alex did about prepping an AR in the cold, shooting through a Dodge Dakota (the same vehicle Tammy and Chad owned) and how to drill baffles to make a suppressor.
10:24 a.m. Wood explains how Alex visited gun ranges, went to Sportsman’s Warehouse and then was located at the church near Chad’s house on the night Tammy died. “These are all overt acts and steps taken to get to murder.”
10:21 a.m. Wood lists off overt acts he says Lori used to further conspiracy and grand theft. She never reported her kids missing, she changed bank accounts to get Social Security benefits from her kids, burner phones, etc. “All these steps were taken to further their conspiracy.” Wood mentions the text messages about Tammy being in limbo and being possessed by a zombie.
10:20 a.m. Many jurors taking notes, others looking at Wood as he gives his argument. Wood: “They couldn’t kill the kids in Arizona where they had friends and family. Moving to Rexburg was the catalyst for these murders. They had to hide Tylee and JJ. They had to go somewhere nobody knew them. Moving to Rexburg was the catalyst for these murders and then Alex followed.”
10:19 a.m. Wood: “To be clear, nobody here has been charged for their religious beliefs. They have been charged for using those religious beliefs to justify murder.”
10:18 a.m. Wood: “Aiding and abetting is just the same as pulling the trigger. Overt acts – on a conspiracy you must find at least one overt act beyond a reasonable doubt. Overt acts in and of themselves don’t need to be illegal but if it’s an act done in furtherance of conspiracy, then it is an overt act and makes it part of the crime.”
10:17 a.m. Wood: “A reasonable doubt is based on reason and common sense. Use your reason and your common sense as you deliberate. Malice is one of those words that may mean something in the real world versus in court. Follow the jury instruction. Malice can be expressed where someone says they want it to happen or it can be implied. You will find express and implied malice in this case. There is an abundance of malice.”
10:15 a.m. Wood talks about Tammy’s conspiracy charge. Asks jurors if Lori was involved. He talks about the grand theft. He tells the jurors to read the instructions carefully and they will find “the state has met its burden beyond a reasonable doubt.”
10:14 a.m. Wood now talking about the Tylee murder charge. “Did Lori aid and abed in that murder? Did she encourage the murder? Under the law, if you find Lori aided, abetted, advised or counseled in the murder of Tylee, you must convict her.” Wood says the same must be done with JJ’s murder.
10:13 a.m. Wood: “When it comes to conspiracy, you need to ask yourself, ‘Who murdered these people? Did Lori intend for it to happen and was one of these overt acts accomplished in furtherance of the conspiracy? You only need to find one overt act. The state has met its burden for each overt act – you only need to find one.”
10:11 a.m. Wood talks about Idaho law and this being a “crime of agreement.” “Did Lori agree to have Tylee killed and steal that money? Did she intend for those events to actually happen? And did any of the conspirators perform an overt act in furtherance of that agreement?”
10:10 a.m. Wood: “Lori Vallow is the one who ties this all together.” He talks about the attempted shooting of Brandon B., Rexburg police getting a call looking for JJ, the investigation into the missing kids, Tammy’s body being exhumed, the kids being found.
10:09 a.m. We now see wedding photos of Chad and Lori on the beach. Wood: “They were freed from the obstacles of their kids and wife. They were dancing on the beach…You have seen plenty of evidence of the affair that took place after they met.” Wood is now walking the jury through a timeline “that tells the truth” as it is displayed on the screen.
10:06 a.m. A picture of Tammy Daybell is now on the screen. Wood: “A loving mother of five and school librarian was murdered in her own home. She was asphyxiated in her own home. The evidence is clear that Lori, Chad and Alex conspired to murder Tammy. Acting together, they caused her death. Her death occurred just a little over a week after a masked gunman attempted to shoot her as she entered her home after a night of church activity … Lori was conveniently gone for both the attempted murder and the successful murder. Those trips were not coincidences. And just like Tylee and JJ, there was money to be gained from Tammy’s death. $430,000 worth of life insurance and Lori wasted no time to benefit from that money.”
10:06 a.m. Wood: “Just like Tylee, Lori never reported that JJ was missing or dead. She kept collecting the money. She lied to multiple people and even asked a friend to lie to the police about JJ’s location. Just like Tylee, after JJ was murdered, she kept collecting the money.”
10:03 a.m. Wood: “Lori never reported that Tylee was missing. She lied to multiple people. She had to keep her body hidden so she could keep getting the money.” We now see a photo of JJ Vallow on the screen. “JJ’s voice was silenced forever by a strip of duct tape placed across his mouth. A white plastic bag was placed over his head where it was secured tightly with duct tape wrapped around and around from his forehead to his neck. The evidence says he struggled and we’ll never know how long he fought before they wrapped tape around his wrists and ankles. He stopped breathing, his heart stopped beating and he died. It was a brutal, horrific murder of a 7-year old boy with special needs.”
10:02 a.m. A photo of Tylee Ryan is shown on the screen. “She was burned and buried in Chad Daybell’s backyard. What was left of her body they dumped in a green bucket and buried in a pet cemetery on top of a piece of her skull. Tylee was gone and buried and out of the way, but Lori Vallow kept collecting Tylee’s money.”
10 a.m. Wood: “Money, power and sex. Beginning in October 2018, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell set in a motion of events. Along the way, they included her brother Alex Cox to participate in a conspiracy unencumbered and free of obstacles. This plan was driven by Lori Vallow’s desire for and use of money, power and sex. And this plan must end today in the verdicts you render in this trial.”
9:58 a.m. Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood will present closing arguments on behalf of the state. Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake gave opening statements in the case a month ago.
9:54 a.m. During the break, a man took a photo inside the courtroom. He was immediately asked to leave and the bailiff made him delete the photo. Cameras are not allowed.
9:37 a.m. We will now take a brief recess before closing arguments begin.
9:35 a.m. Boyce is done reading the jury instructions. Rob Wood will give closing arguments on behalf of the prosecution. Wood asks for a brief sidebar. White noise is played in the courtroom.
9:33 a.m. We are on the last instruction. Boyce again reminds the jury that the arguments of the attorneys are not evidence. He says the attitudes and demeanor of the jurors at the beginning of deliberations are very important. “You are not advocates – you are judges.” He reminds them of the importance of “the declaration of the truth.”
9:31 a.m. Boyce reads a rule that says the jury will appoint a foreman. The duty of the foreman is to make sure everyone is heard from. “The verdict can’t be arrived at by chance.” He says the jury cannot reveal to anyone else their verdict until the judge asks for it.
9:30 a.m. Boyce says all the exhibits will be in the jury room except the firearms. They can be viewed if requested with assistance from the bailiff.
9:26 a.m. Boyce: “In this case, you will return a verdict consisting of a series of questions. Although the questions on the verdict form are self-explanatory, I am required to read them to you.”
Question 1: Is Lori not guilty or guilty of conspiracy to commit first degree murder of Tylee Ryan?
Question 2: Is Lori not guilty or guilty of first degree murder of Tylee Ryan?
Question 3: Is Lori not guilty or guilty of conspiracy to commit first degree murder of JJ Vallow?
Question 4: Is Lori not guilty or guilty of first degree murder of JJ Vallow?
Question 5: Is Lori not guilty or guilty of conspiracy to commit first degree murder of Tammy Daybell?
Question 6: Is Lori not guilty or guilty of grand theft?
9:23 a.m. Jury instruction #33. “There are different forms of theft depending on how the theft was committed. Lori Daybell is charged in Count 7 with the theft of Social Security funds.”
9:21 a.m. Boyce continues to read instructions and stresses the jury can only find Lori guilty on each charge if the state has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the allegations were indeed committed.
9:20 a.m. Once the jury begins deliberating, they will have access to all witness testimony and all the evidence — including the 130,000-150,000 items found on Lori’s iCloud account. There are 18 jurors here – 12 will be picked as the actual jurors, the others as alternates.
9:18 a.m. Jury instruction #31. Boyce explains that in order for Lori to be found guilty of first-degree murder, the state must prove each allegation listed in the indictment.
9:15 a.m. We are on jury instruction #30. He lists out the allegations and says the state must have proven each element of the alleged crime in order to find Lori guilty.
9:13 a.m. Boyce lists out specific allegations in the charges and says if they have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, “you must find the defendant guilty.” If they have not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt, “you must find the defendant not guilty.”
9:09 a.m. Boyce explains what malice is and what “to obtain property” means. “An owner of property is any person who has a right to possession of such property superior to the right of the defendant.”
9:05 a.m. Boyce says jurors should consider the qualifications and credentials of the testimony of each witness. He explains what conspiracy to commit murder is – “an agreement by two or more persons to commit first-degree murder. They may not agree on every detail. It may be shown by evidence of an oral or written agreement.” He explains what murder is.
9:04 a.m. Boyce lists off the exhibit numbers that were admitted as demonstrations rather than evidence.
9:03 a.m. The jurors have written instructions in front of them and are following along as Boyce reads them. They seem focused and not distracted. Lori is also following along on her paper copy.
9:02 a.m. Boyce: “The lawyers are not witnesses. What they say is not evidence. If the facts as you remember them differ from what you the lawyers say, go with what you remember.”
9 a.m. Boyce: “If there is a reasonable doubt, you must find the defendant not guilty.” He reads from rule #5 that the defiant has a right not to testify. Rule #11 – “You have not heard all the evidence in the case. My duty is to instruct you as to the law. You must follow all the rules as I explain them to you. You may not follow some and ignore others. Even if you do not understand or disagree, you must follow them.”
8:59 a.m. Lori is writing in a notebook, looking at the jury and looking at the judge. Boyce begins with jury instruction #4 – the defendant is presumed to be innocent and the state has the burden to prove her guilty. She is never required to prove her innocence and never has to produce any evidence at all. The state must prove the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
8:58 a.m. Jurors walk in carrying their notebooks and water bottles.
8:56 a.m. While we wait for the jury, Boyce explains that jury instructions were finalized yesterday. There are 39 instructions and each juror will receive a copy of them along with a verdict form they will each complete.
8:53 a.m. Boyce denies the Rule 29 motion on the remaining charges. Case will move forward to the jury on all counts. Jurors will now be brought in.
8:50 a.m. You can see the indictment here and follow along on each of the counts.
8:47 a.m. Boyce denies rule 29 motion on count three.
8:46 a.m. Boyce denies rule 29 motion on count two.
8:44 a.m. Boyce continues to list the charges and then explains evidence and witnesses who testified in relation to those charges. On the first count, he denies the rule 29 motion.
8:41 a.m. Boyce lists witness testimony and evidence presented during the trial that shows there is a sign of potential guilt. He says the state provided sufficient evidence to back up the charges.
8:40 a.m. Boyce says substantial evidence has been presented during the trial and he’s gone through the elements of the charges. He lists the charges (scroll down to 8:05 a.m. to read them).
8:37 a.m. “The court must deny a motion if there is some evidence of guilt presented at trial,” Boyce says. He cites case law about Idaho Rule 29, the motion for judgment of acquittal. “Obviously this has been a long trial with a lot of witnesses and a lot of evidence presented.”
8:36 a.m. Boyce will go through jury instructions before closing arguments. The defense and prosecution are ready to proceed. Boyce says he will first rule on the defense’s motion for a judgment of acquittal.
8:35 a.m. Judge Boyce is on the bench.
8:30 a.m. The reserved prosecution rows are nearly full. Rexburg Police Chief Josh Rhodes, Asst. Chief Gary Hagen, Det. Ron Ball and Det. Ray Hermosillo are sitting there. Larry and Kay Woodcock, Gerry Vallow (Charles’ brother), retired FBI Special Agent Doug Hart and another FBI agent are sitting there along with Rex Conner, Lori Daybell’s uncle.
8:29 a.m. Personal note: I’m going to miss seeing the bailiffs and courtroom staff every day. They’ve been kind and professional in handling such a high-profile case with different people showing up every day to watch.
8:28 a.m. Bailiff (who some have now nicknamed “courtroom daddy”) is giving instructions to the audience. “Today is a very big day. Thousands of man hours have been put into this case and we want to give the jury as much respect as we can. Please silence your phones. If you don’t know how to silence them, turn them off. No photos or video in the courtroom. The Lifesavers are a double-edged sword — please open the wrappers now.”
8:26 a.m. Larry is now on our side of the courtroom with the bowl of mints. “How are you doing Larry?” the lady behind me asks. “I’m doing great!” with a thumbs up.
8:24 a.m. There is a buzz in the air in the courtroom. Much more chatter and Larry is passing out Lifesavers mints from a big red bowl. “Y’all pass those down to the ladies over there,” he says. He is in good spirits.
8:23 a.m. Lori just walked in the courtroom. She’s wearing gray dress pants, a black top and a black cardigan. She was holding a manila envelope. She’s now chatting with Jim Archibald. All of the prosecutors are sitting at their table.
8:18 a.m. Larry Woodcock walked into the courthouse with Kay and he was playing “We Will Rock You” on his iPad. “That’s JJ’s song,” he said.
8:05 a.m. A reminder of the charges Lori faces:
- Conspiracy to commit first degree murder and grand theft by deception (Tylee Ryan)
- First degree murder (Tylee Ryan)
- Conspiracy to commit first degree murder and grand theft by deception (JJ Vallow)
- First degree murder (JJ Vallow)
- Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder (Tammy Daybell)
- Grand theft
8 a.m. We are back at the Ada County Courthouse as Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial begins to conclude. Today the jury will be given instructions before they deliberate and we will hear closing arguments from both the prosecution and the defense.