Prosecutors seek death penalty against ‘doomsday cultist’ charged with killing his wife’s two children

Chad Daybell is accused of committing three murders that are ‘especially heinous’ and cruel, prosecutors say

Bevan Hurley
Friday 06 August 2021 21:29
<p>Prosecutors will seek death penalty against Chad Daybell</p>

Prosecutors will seek death penalty against Chad Daybell

Prosecutors in Idaho plan to seek the death penalty against a “doomsday cultist” who is accused of murdering his wife’s two children and his previous wife.

Chad Daybell, 52, has been charged with conspiring with his second wife Lori Vallow to murder two of her children, seven-year-old Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow, and Tylee Ryan, 17, and his first wife, Tammy Daybell.

Mr Daybell has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Documents released on Thursday by the Fremont County Prosecutor’s Office revealed it will seek the death penalty should he be convicted of any of the deaths.

It said that the murders were “especially heinous” and cruel, and that Mr Daybell “has exhibited a propensity to commit murder, which will probably constitute a continuing threat to society”.

In separate charges in Arizona, Lori Daybell is charged with conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the death of her previous husband.

Charles Vallow was shot and killed by Lori Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, who claimed it was self-defene. Cox later died of what police said was natural causes.

Lori Daybell has not yet entered a plea in the Idaho or Arizona cases, and was ordered to undergo treatment at a mental health facility in Idaho in hopes of making her competent to stand trial.

In the Idaho indictments, prosecutors said the Daybells promoted their apocalyptical religious beliefs in order to justify the killings.

A friend of Lori Daybell told investigators that the pair believed people could be taken over by dark spirits that turned them into “zombies” and that the only way to free that person’s soul was by killing them.

Chad Daybell also ran a publishing company and wrote books that were focused on the biblical “end times” and loosely based on the theology of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The shocking timeline of events began in September 2019, when Ms Vallow’s children Joshua ‘JJ’ Vallow and Tylee Ryan were last seen alive.

In October 2019, Daybell’s first wife Tammy died aged 49 at their Idaho home.

Her death was not treated as suspicious at the time and an obituary said she died peacefully in her sleep.

Three weeks after Tammy Daybell’s death, Chad Daybell and Vallow married.

In November, relatives raised concerns about their welfare, prompting police to search the Callow property and appeal to the public for information about their whereabouts.

The next month Rexburgh police exhumed Tammy Daybell’s body and reclassified her death as suspicious. They issued a press release linking the disappearance of the two children and Tammy’s death.

Their burnt remains were discovered buried in Chad Daybell’s home in Salem, Idaho, in June 2020 after an extensive police investigation.

In May 2021, Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell were charged with first degree murder in the deaths of the children. Chad is also charged with first-degree murder in the death of his wife Tammy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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