Ex-husband of Lori Daybell’s niece testifies about an attempt to kill him, identifying JJ’s body

Apr 23, 2024, 8:00 PM

Exterior image of the Ada County courthouse in Boise, Idaho, Monday April 3, 2023. As Chad Daybell'...

Exterior image of the Ada County courthouse in Boise, Idaho, Monday April 3, 2023. As Chad Daybell's jury trial, taking place at the same venue, continued into its ninth day Tuesday, as jurors heard testimony from the ex-husband of Lori Daybell's niece, Brandon Bourdreaux, and the police officers who responded to the attempted shooting and eventual death of Tammy Daybell. (Kyle Green, Associated Press)

(Kyle Green, Associated Press)

BOISE, Idaho — Brandon Boudreaux noticed something was off when he turned onto his street in Gilbert, Arizona, on Oct. 2, 2019.

A Jeep was parked in front of his home with no tire on its back rack and missing the clips that would hold the back window on.

“It just looked out of place,” he testified Tuesday in the murder trial of Chad Daybell.

Then suddenly, “Someone … shot at me, tried to kill me,” Boudreaux said, describing how the window of the Jeep had opened quickly. He saw a gun and a silencer, heard a bang, and then his window shattered. Instead of pulling into his driveway, he sped off and called 911.

His car had a bullet lodged in the door frame of the driver’s side window, right above “where my head would be.”

At the time, he was in the process of getting a divorce from Melani Boudreaux, Lori Vallow Daybell’s niece. Later that day, he said he “felt very confident” that the Jeep belonged to Tylee Ryan, Lori Daybell’s daughter. He was an insurance agent and had the vehicle identification number for the Jeep, which he gave to police.

Chad Daybell is on trial for first-degree murder in the deaths of Lori Daybell’s children — 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan — and the death of his former wife, Tammy Daybell, in late 2019. He is also charged with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder of each of the victims, grand theft and two counts of insurance fraud. Prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty if he is convicted.

Lori Daybell was convicted last year of the murder of her children and conspiring to murder her children and Tammy Daybell. She was given five sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

She is also charged in Arizona with two counts of conspiracy to commit murder in relation to Boudreaux, who was shot at but not hit, and her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was shot and killed by her brother, Alex Cox. She has pleaded not guilty to those charges.

Officers respond to Tammy Daybell’s home

Boudreaux was not the only person who had a scare in front of their home in October 2019 — Tammy Daybell reported a man in a ski mask with a paintball gun in front of her home in an emergency phone call played in court on Tuesday.

“He was all dressed in black, and he had a ski mask on,” she says in the call. “He was holding a gun like he had a rifle, and he was shooting at me.”

Tammy Daybell said she called for her husband, and the man ran off behind their home.

Read all coverage from the Chad Daybell trial here. 

Colter Cannon, with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office, testified about his investigation into the incident and said he drove around and interviewed witnesses but did not find the person who was reported. He said it seemed odd that Chad Daybell did not speak to him when he responded.

Chad Daybell’s attorney questioned Cannon about a second report filed on the incident months later, which included more detail, and asked if details were added to make it look more like the suspect was Cox, which Cannon denied. He also asked about the new report saying Tammy Daybell “believed” it to be a paintball gun — Cannon said he did not know whether it was a paintball gun or a gun.

Ten days later, Chad Daybell and his son Garth Daybell called police to report Tammy Daybell was dead. That phone call was also played for the jury. Both of the men on the call said she was “frozen.”

Officer Alyssa Greenhalgh said Garth Daybell was quiet when she arrived at their home that morning, but Chad Daybell was “sobbing and then would gasp for air.”

She said Chad Daybell reported that his wife had woken up with a coughing fit around midnight and had vomited, and he helped her back to bed. At about 5:40 a.m., he said the blankets shifted and woke him up, and he realized Tammy Daybell had fallen off the bed. He said he and his son moved her back onto the bed before calling 911.

Photos taken by Greenhalgh of Tammy Daybell’s body were shown to the jury during the trial, but the photos weren’t shown on cameras recording the trial for the public to view. Chad Daybell shook his head back and forth slowly as a photo of his former wife’s body was shown in the morgue.

Greenhalgh said when she arrived at the scene, Tammy Daybell’s skin was colder than room temperature, her body was stiff, and she had pink foam coming from her mouth. She said it was not her job to determine if there would be an autopsy, but the coroner determined there would not be.

Lori Daybell’s influence on her niece

Brandon Boudreaux testified about family vacations and holidays with Lori Daybell and her then-husband Charles Vallow, who Boudreaux said was a good friend. He said their children got along well.

He said Christmas in 2018 was the last one he spent with the Vallow family, but “it was different.” He said he didn’t know what was going on at the time but could tell things weren’t normal. He said Lori Daybell was usually “doting” on his children and would spoil them, but this year that didn’t happen, and there was not much conversation with him.

Read the full story from here. 

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Ex-husband of Lori Daybell’s niece testifies about an attempt to kill him, identifying JJ’s body