Prosecution, defense rest in Lori Vallow Daybell trial

May 9, 2023, 1:52 PM | Updated: Oct 19, 2023, 10:31 am

lori vallow daybell trial court sketch...

Lori Vallow Daybell is pictured in a courtroom sketch drawn on May 8, 2023.

BOISE, Idaho — The defense rested its case shortly after the state rested its case in the Lori Vallow Daybell Trial Tuesday afternoon following weeks of testimony.

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. 

Click here for our coverage of the Lori Vallow Daybell trial

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

The prosecution concluded with testimonies of multiple FBI agents that worked on the case.

Tuesday’s testimony included Nicole Heideman, a tactical specialist with the FBI, and Nicholas Edwards, currently employed with the US Army and an investigator with the Idaho Attorney General.

The two shined a light on Vallow Daybell’s possible involvement in the deaths of her children and Tammy Daybell sharing text exchanges and iCloud information from Lori’s account.

The communications and phone locations revealed interesting connections between Chad Daybell, Vallow Daybell, and Alex Cox in relation to Tammy Daybell’s death.

Edwards testified that he looked into searches made on Alex Cox’s iCloud account. On Oct. 9 there was a search of “what a Grendel round would do to a Dodge Dakota.”

“The Daybells owned a Dodge Dakota and that naturally caught my attention,” Edwards said.


Edwards reviewed communications between Chad Daybell and Vallow Daybell, Vallow Daybell and Alex, and Chad and Alex on Oct. 18, 2019, the day before Tammy Daybell’s death. On that day there were 12 texts exchanged between Cox and Vallow Daybell up to 9:04 p.m., 11 texts between Vallow Daybell and Zulema.

That same evening, Cox’s phone location shows him arriving at a church building near the Daybell residence at 10:07 p.m.

Edwards said Cox and Chad Daybell texted each other over a dozen times around 10:30 p.m. and Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell exchange texts around this same time.

It was not specified what was said in these messages and they were not shown to the court.

Cox’s phone show him leaving the church parking lot at 11:06 p.m. Cox and Vallow Daybell talk on the phone around midnight into the next morning.

The morning of Oct. 19, Tammy Daybell was pronounced dead.

Earlier in this trial, a medical examiner testified that Tammy Daybell died of asphyxiation and had signs of being restrained.

The defense has asked the judge to consider a motion for a judgment for acquittal.

Idaho rule 29 states: “(a)  Before Submission to the Jury. After the prosecution closes its evidence or after the close of all the evidence, the court on defendant’s motion or on its own motion, must enter a judgment of acquittal of any offense for which the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction. If the court denies a motion for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the prosecution’s evidence, the defendant may offer evidence. If the court dismisses an offense, the court must consider whether the evidence would be sufficient to sustain a conviction on a lesser included offense.”

The defense stated, “We don’t believe the state has proved its case so the defense will rest.”

Judge Steven Boyce spoke to Lori about the 5th Amendment:

“You do have that right and will maintain that right and is it your decision to maintain that right and not testify?” Boyce asked.

“Yes your honor,” she said.

Closing arguments will commence Thursday.

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Prosecution, defense rest in Lori Vallow Daybell trial