Originally Published: 31 JUL 23 05:59 ET
Updated: 31 JUL 23 07:36 ET
By Dakin Andone, CNN
(CNN) — Idaho mother Lori Vallow Daybell is expected to be sentenced Monday after she was convicted earlier this year of killing two of her children and conspiring in the murder of her husband’s first wife.
Vallow Daybell faces the possibility of life in prison after a jury in May found her guilty on all charges, including two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of conspiracy in the deaths of her children, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, as well as Tammy Daybell, the first wife of her husband, Chad Daybell.
The hearing Monday, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at the Fremont County Courthouse, is expected to include victim impact statements, giving the loved ones of the deceased an opportunity to underscore the lasting repercussions of Vallow Daybell’s actions. Court records also indicate the judge ordered a presentence investigation – which allows for a mental health examination, among other evaluations – to be reviewed during Monday’s hearing.
The children were last seen in September 2019, and Tammy Daybell died the following month; Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell were married weeks later. In June 2020, law enforcement authorities discovered the remains of Tylee and JJ in Daybell’s backyard in Fremont County.
He is to be tried separately in April 2024 on two felony counts of conspiracy to commit destruction; alteration or concealment of evidence; and two felony counts of destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. He has pleaded not guilty.
The May 2021 indictment against the couple said they “did endorse and espouse religious beliefs for the purposes of” justifying or encouraging the killings of Tammy Daybell and the children. At trial, prosecutors portrayed the couple as having apocalyptic religious beliefs, believing themselves religious figures who had a system of rating people as “light” or “dark,” East Idaho News reported.
Vallow Daybell pleaded not guilty, and while her attorney Jim Archibald acknowledged his client’s interest in religion – particularly the “end of times” – he said she was a “kind and loving mother.”
“Some people could care less about biblical prophecies; some people care a lot about it. Thankfully in this country we get the freedom to choose,” Archibald said in his own opening statement, according to East Idaho News.
Vallow Daybell was also convicted of grand theft for, according to the indictment, collecting Social Security benefits on behalf of her children after their deaths. Prosecutors said she didn’t report her children missing in order to keep collecting the money, East Idaho News reported.
In the wake of the verdict, Vallow Daybell’s attorneys filed a motion for a new trial, court records show. The state objected, and the court ultimately denied the motion.
The case – which was featured in a true crime Netflix documentary – began unfolding in late November 2019, when relatives asked police in Rexburg, Idaho, to do a welfare check on JJ because they hadn’t talked to him recently. Police didn’t locate him at the family’s house but were told by Vallow Daybell and Daybell that he was staying with a family friend in Arizona, according to authorities.
When police returned the next day to serve a search warrant, Vallow and Daybell were gone. They were found months later, in January 2020, in Hawaii.
Kay Woodcock, JJ’s grandmother, testified that her regular phone calls with her grandson dropped off after the death of Vallow Daybell’s ex-husband, Charles Vallow, East Idaho News reported.
The last conversation she had with JJ was on August 10, 2019, Woodcock said, when she spoke to him during a short call that lasted less than a minute. She attempted over the next few months to contact her grandson, but never got any response from Vallow Daybell, she said.
Vallow Daybell’s ex-husband was seen in body camera footage released by Arizona police telling authorities as early as January 2019 that he could not get in touch with the children. Their marriage had rapidly deteriorated, he said, adding, “she thinks she’s a resurrected being and a god.”
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