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Lori Vallow sentenced to multiple life terms for murder of her two children

A woman sits between two men wearing ties and black suit jackets. She has long blonde wavy hair and is wearing an orange and white striped jumpsuit.
Tony Blakeslee/AP
Lori Vallow Daybell sits between her attorneys and looks at notes during her sentencing hearing at the Fremont County Courthouse in St. Anthony, Idaho, Monday, July 31, 2023. Idaho mother Vallow Daybell has been sentenced to life in prison without parole Monday in the murders of her two youngest children and a romantic rival in a case that included bizarre claims that her son and daughter were zombies and that she was a goddess sent to usher in the Biblical apocalypse.

Lori Vallow, the woman convicted of killing two of her children, was sentenced Monday morning to life in prison with no possibility of parole on several charges, including the first-degree murder charges of Joshua “JJ” Vallow and Tylee Ryan.

Vallow was also ordered to pay restitution and fines.

“You came here to east Idaho, where I’ve spent my life and came here from somewhere else to make your children disappear. You removed your children, alienated them from friends and family. You moved to Rexburg – a community where you could find 1,000 random families to take your children – and you brought them here to murder them. You had so many other options. You chose the most evil and destructive path possible. You killed those children to remove them as obstacles and profit financially. You justified all this to go down a bizarre religious rabbit hole and clearly you are still there.”
Judge Steven Boyce

The state’s sentencing recommendation, read by prosecutor Rob Wood, was fixed life in prison without the chance for parole on the five murder charges and 20 years for the grand theft charge.

“This defendant has proven by her actions that she is dangerous to society,” said Wood. "In Idaho alone, she was involved in three murders within the space of six weeks. The court can acknowledge she faces two charges of conspiracy to commit murder in Maricopa County.”

“The sentence imposed today will send a message to the people in these communities – don’t come here and murder children,” Wood continued.

Wood asked Lori Vallow pay a $5,000 fine to the next of kin of the victims and ask restitution be paid to the Department of Treasury in regards to the money stolen in Social Security. He also asked for $50,000 in fines on each murder count for a total of $250,000, essentially asking for the maximum sentence under Idaho law.

Lori Vallow's defense asked the judge to sentence her to a 20-year fixed term with an indeterminate term of life for all five murder charges. For the grand theft, they asked the judge to give 14 years concurrent.

“In our opinion, if you give her fixed life, you will essentially throw her away,” said John Thomas. “She has no incentive to rehabilitate. There is no incentive to her or anyone else. The punishment is final and all encompassing.”

Vallow did provide a statement at the sentencing hearing. She began by reading a verse from the New Testament. Lori said she died while in labor with Tylee in 2002 and because of that, she can visit the spirit world and know her children are happy and busy.

After Vallow’s statement, Judge Boyce read through the charges that Vallow has been found guilty again. Vallow did not complete the packet or any court-ordered screening, according to Boyce, and left the judge without additional information.

Boyce said the factors he considered in handing down the sentence include the likelihood to reoffend. He said while in jail, Vallow has been a good inmate and that should be commended.

The judge acknowledged Vallow has mental health issues and he reviewed the reports. The most current diagnosis from February said Vallow has delusional disorder with hyper religiosity and personality disorder.

Boyce noted that he would not comment on any co-defendants in the case, as the co-defendant, Chad Daybell, is considered innocent until his trial later this year.

“You’ve been convicted of and committed the most serious crimes possible and those crimes deserve the most serious punishment,” said Boyce.

Victim Impact Statements were read by family members

Samantha Gwilliam, Tammy Daybell’s sister gave a victim statement and read a statement from her father. Tammy’s aunt, Vicki Hoban gave a statement as did Kay Woodcock, the grandmother of Joshua Vallow and sister of Charles Vallow, Lori’s ex-husband.

A victim impact statement written by Colby Ryan, Lori Vallow’s son, was read in court as well by prosecutor RobWood.

"I now realize what a nothing Chad Daybell is,” said Woodcock during her impact statement. “A man with no ability to support anyone. A man who rode his wife's coattails of success."

Vallow’s attorneys called an objection during Hoban’s statement and a sidebar was taken to discuss if part of the statement will be allowed. Judge Steven Boyce said the objection will be granted “in part.”

What Comes Next

Vallow was found guilty of killing Tylee Ryan and Joshua “JJ” Vallow in May. She was also found guilty of conspiring to murder Tammy Daybell, Chad Daybell’s ex-wife, who was found dead in her home in October 2019.

Lori Vallow is still facing charges in Arizona. According to Fox 10 in Phoenix, a grand jury indicted Vallow for conspiring to kill her niece's ex-husband, Brandon Boudreaux. She has also been indicted on charges of conspiring to kill Charles Vallow.

Charles Vallow was killed by Lori’s brother, Alex Cox, in 2019 after the two fought in Arizona. Cox, who is now deceased as well, claimed at the time it was in self-defense and he was not charged, according to KSL TV.

Now that her sentencing is complete in Idaho, she will be extradited to Arizona to face those charges.

Hello, I’m Katie and I’m a social media enthusiast here at Boise State Public Radio.

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