A jury may soon decide the fate of an Idaho man charged in a triple murder case

BOISE, Idaho – Prosecutors will give final arguments to a jury on Wednesday in the case of an Idaho man accused of killing his wife and his new girlfriend’s two youngest children.

Chad Daybell’s trial had been going on for about two months, with testimony from dozens of witnesses becoming strange and gruesome at times.

Prosecutors say Daybell, 55, promoted unusual and apocalyptic spiritual beliefs to justify the murders, all to satisfy his desire for money, sex and power. They said they would seek the death penalty if Daybell is convicted.

Daybell’s defense attorney, John Prior, argues that there is simply not enough evidence to conclusively link Daybell to the death or even prove that his late wife, Tammy Daybell, was killed and did not die of natural causes. Several witnesses testified for the defense, including Chad and Tammy Daybell’s adult children.

Daybell faces three counts of first-degree murder, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit murder and theft in connection with the deaths of Tammy Daybell, 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan.

Last year, the children’s mother, Lori Vallow Daybell, was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murders.

Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell were married just two weeks after Tammy Daybell’s death in October 2019, which raised suspicions among local law enforcement officials. Tammy Daybell’s body was later exhumed and an autopsy determined that she died of asphyxiation. Chad Daybell told officials that Tammy Daybell was sick and died in her sleep.

However, witnesses on both sides appear to agree on several points: Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell had an affair that began long before Tammy Daybell’s death, and two young children were missing for months before their remains were found buried in Chad’s grave Daybella. backyard.

The case began in the fall of 2019, when Lori Vallow Daybell’s then-estranged husband, Charles Vallow, was shot to death in their home in suburban Phoenix, Arizona. Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, committed the shooting but told police he did so in self-defense. Cox was never charged.

Lori Vallow Daybell, her children JJ and Tylee, and her brother Cox moved to eastern Idaho, settling in a town near the rural area where Chad Daybell lived. Just a few months later, extended family members reported the two children missing, and law enforcement began searching across several states.

The children’s remains were found almost a year later, buried on Chad Daybell’s property. Investigators later determined that both children died in September 2019. Prosecutors say Cox conspired with Chad Daybell and Vallow Daybell in all three deaths, but Cox died of natural causes during the investigation and was never charged.

During the trial, prosecutors presented testimony from Lori Vallow Daybell’s niece, who stated that the couple believed that people could be possessed by evil spirits, making the person a “zombie”. They said that the zombies would eventually be defeated by the dark spirit and die, Melani Paw┼éowski told jurors. Her testimony echoed that given last year by another friend of the couple, Melanie Gibb. Gibb testified during Lori Vallow Daybell’s trial that she heard Vallow Daybell call the two children “zombies” before they disappeared.

Judges heard grim testimony from law enforcement officers who described finding the children’s bodies in Daybell’s backyard. They were also presented with dozens of records of phone calls and messages between Daybell and Vallow Daybell, including some that showed she called him on the day Charles Vallow died. Daybell allegedly told Vallow Daybell in one message that JJ was “barely attached to his body” and that “a plan was being made for the kids.”

Defense witnesses included Dr. Kathy Raven, a forensic pathologist who reviewed Tammy Daybell’s autopsy reports and stated that she believed the cause of death should be classified as “undetermined.”

Chad Daybell’s son, Garth Daybell, testified that his mother was tired and sickly before she died. He told jurors that he was at home the night of his mother’s death and that he did not hear any disturbances coming from the bedroom adjacent to his parents’ room. He testified that he later had the impression that police and prosecutors tried to pressure him to change his testimony, at one point even threatening him with perjury charges.