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Chad Daybell trial: Lori Vallow’s friend confronted with subpoena outside court in cult prophet case

Chad Daybell’s trial comes one year after Lori Vallow was convicted over the murders of Tylee Ryan, JJ Vallow and Tammy Daybell

Andrea Cavallier
Friday 19 April 2024 15:30 BST
Chad Daybell trial: Former friend testifies

Melanie Gibb, the former friend of Lori Vallow, was served with a subpoena during a break in Chad Daybell’s triple murder trial in Boise, Idaho on Thursday.

Daybell’s defence attorney John Prior told her she had to accept to the papers. Ms Gibb was called by the prosecution to testify in the case a year after she testified at Vallow’s trial about the couple’s extreme religious beliefs.

Daybell, 55, is on trial for the murders of Vallow’s children, Tylee Ryan, 16, and JJ, seven, as well as his then-wife Tammy Daybell, who died suddenly in her sleep in October 2019. Weeks later, Daybell married Vallow.

Nine months after the children were last seen, they were found on Daybell’s property in Rexburg, Idaho.

Prosecutors say his “desire for sex, power, and money” led to their murders. Mr Prior, however, said his client was manipulated by Vallow.

Last year, Vallow was convicted in the three murders and sentenced to life in prison. Jurors heard how she, Mr Daybell and her late brother Alex Cox were fuelled, in part, by their bizarre cult beliefs.

If convicted, Mr Daybell faces either the death penalty or life in prison.


Defence begins opening statements

Chad Daybell’s attorney John Prior begins his opening by introducing himself.

“What’s important are facts and evidence,” he begins.

He tells the jury not to be distracted by speculation.

Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 17:36

Chad Daybell’s mission

Prior talks about Daybell’s mission to talk to people about his religious beliefs.

When he returned home after six months, he and Tammy got married and had five children.

He talked about his client’s beliefs and his faith. And about the books Daybell wrote based on his faith.

Some of the topics he covered in his books were dark, like death – but stories and theories he wrote were fiction, Prior said.

Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 17:40

Defence says Lori Vallow pursued Chad Daybell

John Prior told the jury how his client met Lori Vallow at a conference and her growing interest in him.

“She pursued him,” he said, adding that she would help him sell books.

He talked about how Daybell was married to only Tammy at the time.

“But Lori Vallow was a different story,” he said, pointing out her many marriages.

“Lori Vallow was someone who, right out of high school, married her first husband. That marriage was very short-lived – very short-lived.”

Her third marriage to Joseph Ryan was tumultuous, he said.

Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 17:46

Vallow’s brother Alex Cox would ‘do anything to protect her'

The defence told the jury that Alex Cox was Lori Vallow’s protector and that he would do anything for her.

Cox approached her third husband Joseph Ryan in 2007 and shot him with a Taser – years before Vallow and Daybell knew each other.

“It set the pattern for what we are dealing with with Alex Cox,” he said. “Whenever there was a problem with Lori Vallow, Alex Cox ran to the rescue.”

Prior tells the jury that Daybell and Vallow’s relationship turned inappropriate while their spouses were still alive. He then says Alex Cox shot and killed her fourth husband Charles Vallow.

Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 17:50

Chad Daybell’s children will testify at father’s trial

Prior confirmed in his opening statement to the jury that Daybell’s children will testify in defence of their father at the trial.

He said that at least three or four of the five children will take the stand.

“They’re going to talk about their mother’s health struggle,” he said. “They’re going to talk about their mother’s use of various medical treatments she would use - oils she would put on her leg, medicine and different herbs she would take, and that their mother was suffering from a number of maladies and she would refuse to see a doctor.”

Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 17:52

Defece says jury will see Daybell had nothing to do with Charles Vallow’s murder or shooting of Brandon Boudreaux

Prior tells the jury they will see that Daybell had nothing to do with the execution of Charles Vallow or the shooting of Brandon Boudreaux.

Lori Vallow is accused of conspiring to kill her former husband Charles, who was shot and killed in July 2019 by Cox. In the months leading up to his death, Charles told local police he was concerned that Vallow may hurt him or their children.

Vallow and Cox are accused of trying to kill her niece’s ex-husband, Mr Boudreaux, outside his home in Gilbert, Arizona, in October 2019. He survived the drive-by shooting.

A grand jury indicted Lori on the conspiracy charges for Charles’ death in 2021. However, she had to face charges in the deaths of her kids and Tammy Daybell in Idaho before she could face a judge in Arizona.

Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 17:55

Defence says jury will see no DNA evidence from Daybell on children

Prior says the jury will hear from four experts including Dr. Greg Hampikian, who is a DNA expert.

Mr Hampikian got Amanda Knox exonerated in Italy because of DNA evidence, Prior says.

“He is the guy. He’s going to talk a little bit about the DNA evidence that was found on the scene.”

Prior says Hampikian will talk about “several” hairs found on the plastic wrapped around JJ Vallow’s body.

“He’s also going to say there was no DNA evidence, no hair sample of Chad Daybell on Tylee Ryan or on JJ Vallow,” Prior tells the jury.

Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 17:59

Defence concludes opening statements

Prior has concluded his opening statement.

Testimony is now starting with the state’s first witness.

Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 18:00

State’s first witness is Detective Ray Hermosillo

Detective Ray Hermosillo with the Rexburg Police Department is the first witness for the state.

He testified during Lori Vallow’s trial as well.

Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 18:02

VIDEO: Prosecutor says Chad Daybell’s 'desire for sex, power, and money’ led to triple murder

Prosecutor says Chad Daybell’s 'desire for sex, power, and money’ led to triple murder
Andrea Cavallier10 April 2024 18:12

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