Judge denies motion to acquit ‘cult prophet’ Chad Daybell on all charges

Chad Daybell accused of killing his wife Tammy, and Lori Vallow’s children Tylee and JJ

Andrea Cavallier
Friday 17 May 2024 00:15 BST
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A judge overseeing Chad Daybell’s triple murder trial has denied a defense motion to acquit the “doomsday” author on all charges, including in seven-year-old JJ Vallow’s death.

The ruling comes after Mr Daybell’s trial was thrown into chaos on Thursday when Judge Steven Boyce pointed out a “clerical error” the prosecutors made in an amended indictment - which threatened to lead to the dismissal of one charge.

After six weeks of testimony, the state concluded their arguments against Daybell, 55, as he faces first-degree murder charges in the 2019 deaths of his wife Lori Vallow's children, JJ Vallow, seven, and Tylee Ryan, 16, as well as his ex-wife Tammy Daybell.

The indictment, which was amended on 20 February 2024, listed JJ Vallow’s death as being between September 8-9, 2019.

Judge Boyce told the court that JJ was “clearly alive on those days.”

Chad Daybell is accused of killing his wife Tammy, and Lori Vallow’s children Tylee and JJ
Chad Daybell is accused of killing his wife Tammy, and Lori Vallow’s children Tylee and JJ (Judge Steven Boyce/YouTube)

JJ was last seen alive on 22 September, based on evidence. It’s believed Tylee was killed between September 8-9, 2019.

An indictment filed on 25 May 2021 lists the dates as the 22nd and 23rd of September 2019, but those were changed with the amended indictment filed in February.

Attorney Lindsey Blake said they were unaware of the error and asked the judge to give them until Monday to review it.

Daybell’s attorney John Prior argued that the prosecution had plenty of time and had already rested its case.

Tylee Ryan and Joshua “JJ” Vallow
Tylee Ryan and Joshua “JJ” Vallow (Family handout)

Idaho state law prohibits amendments to an indictment after the state formally rests its case.

The error was spotted when Mr Prior, asked for a “directed verdict” on the murder charges of Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow, arguing that there was not enough evidence to show that Daybell was involved in their deaths. The judge found insufficient evidence to make a ruling on that motion.

Prosecutors say Daybell conspired with Vallow’s late brother Alex Cox to carry out the murders as part of their doomsday cult beliefs and that Daybell’s “desire for sex, power, and money” led to the murders.

The children were found buried in Daybell’s Idaho backyard nine months after they went missing in September 2019.

Daybell’s defence attorney claims his client was manipulated by Vallow, whom he married on a beach in Hawaii just two weeks after his wife Tammy died in October 2019.

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