‘Money, power, and sex’: opening arguments begin in Lori Vallow Daybell trial

Apr 10, 2023, 7:03 AM | Updated: 11:26 am

Lori Vallow Daybell looked at her sister, Summer Shiflet, when Summer entered the Ada County courtr...

The second day of the fourth week of Lori Vallow Daybell's trial began with more information about timelines, and then a devastating phone call between sisters.

BOISE, Idaho — Opening arguments began Monday in the Lori Vallow Daybell Trial, with the prosecution introducing Vallow Daybell as someone who was after “money, power and sex.”

Vallow Daybell is charged with seven felonies. She and her husband Chad Daybell are accused of murdering her two children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Vallow Daybell is also accused of conspiring to murder Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell. 

Vallow Daybell has pleaded not guilty. Chad Daybell’s trial will be held separately and at a later date.

“Money, power and sex. That’s what this case is about. The defendant Lori Vallow Daybell usemoney, power and sex or the promise of those things, to gewhat she wanted,” prosecutor Lindsey Blake said.

The prosecution said it didn’t matter what obstacle Vallow Daybell had to remove to get what she wanted; even if it was a person, it didn’t matter who.

Blake went through the victims: JJ, Tylee, and Tammy.  Vallow Daybell is accused of taking part in their deaths.

The prosecution displayed photos of the remains of Tylee, charred and unrecognizable, and of JJ, who was found in a garbage bag with arms and legs duct-taped.

Blake explained that Tylee was a “vibrant person” just about to enter adulthood, Blake claims Vallow Daybell wanted the money, and now Tylee is gone.

Tylee’s DNA was found on a shovel and pick-ax in a shed on Chad Daybell’s property.

Blake described JJ as “a good 7-year-old” who “required a lot of time, effort and energy” which took away from what Vallow Daybell wanted — which Blake claimed was spending time with Chad Daybell. JJ was also entitled to social security benefits.

“The defendant didn’t want to take care of JJ anymore, wanted the money, and now JJ is gone,” Blake told the jury.

Tammy Daybell was brought up next as a 45-year-old mother of five, and a computer whiz. According to Blake, Chad Daybell was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, and Vallow Daybell wanted “those things.” “Tammy is gone,” Blake said.

A photo of Tammy Daybell’s body was shown to the courtroom. 

The prosecution said only 17 days later, Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell were back in Hawaii.  “They were getting married on a sunny beach in Hawaii dancing and celebrating their life together, while Tylee and JJ were dead in the ground.”  

As the prosecution explained the developing relationship between Vallow Daybell and Daybell, the photo of Tammy Daybell’s body remains on the screen.

“Their relationship moved quickly,”  Blake said.

Both Vallow Daybell and Chad were still married at the time.

Chad held strong religious beliefs and  Vallow Daybell believed, with the help of Chad, she could rate people’s “light or dark.”

With time, their religious beliefs began to evolve and they began to believe the darkness could be so intense that the person would become a zombie.

“A common theme was the body had to be destroyed,” Blake said.

Blake claimed Vallow Daybell and Chad used their religion to justify their actions, from affair to murder.

Prosecution explains the relationship between Vallow Daybell and Alex Cox.

“Alex would do anything for Lori…when she uprooted her life from Arizona and moved up to Idaho, and moved to Rexburg to be closer to Chad,” Blake said. “Alex quit his job and moved up to Rexburg with her.”  

According to Blake, Alex was taught by Vallow Daybell and Chad that his purpose was to “protect Lori.”

Vallow Daybell began to describe both JJ and Tylee as having darkness.

Then in October 2019, Vallow Daybell traveled to Arizona first and then to Hawaii with friends.

During any of these trips, you won’t hear about Tylee or JJ,” Blake said. “But what you will hear is how Lori was still spending their money, sending Colby Ryan messages using Tylee’s phone. Tylees phone was with Lori, but Tylee wasn’t.” 

Defense gives opening statement


This is a developing story. Stick with KSL for the latest updates on the trial.

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‘Money, power, and sex’: opening arguments begin in Lori Vallow Daybell trial