Doomsday author Chad Daybell convicted in triple murder case

A jury found Chad Daybell guilty of the murders of his first wife and his second wife’s two children in what Idaho prosecutors called a conspiracy to seek “money, power and sex.”

The capital murder trial verdict follows seven weeks of testimony and comes more than a year after Daybell’s second wife, Lori Vallow, was also convicted of killing his two youngest children – Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16. — in a so-called apocalyptic plot.

The jury began its deliberations Wednesday evening, during which they were sequestered, before returning a verdict at noon Thursday finding him guilty on all counts.

Prosecutors have said they plan to pursue the death penalty on the murder charges. The sentencing phase of the trial is expected to begin Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors said Vallow and Daybell believed the two children were “dark spirits” and “zombies” and conspired with Vallow’s now-deceased brother, Alex Cox, to murder them in 2019, about a year later that the couple met at a religious conference.

Daybell, 55, was also charged with murder and conspiracy in the death of his estranged wife, Tamara “Tammy” Daybell, 49, who died in October. 19, 2019. The cause of his death was asphyxiation, prosecutors revealed during Vallow’s trial.

Prosecutors said Daybell, the author of books about the apocalypse, promoted spiritual beliefs to justify the three killings and claimed all three were possessed and “marked” them for death.

“Three dead bodies…and for what? Money, power and sex. That’s what mattered to the defendant,” prosecutor Lindsey Blake told jurors during closing arguments Wednesday.

Prosecutors said Daybell’s communications showed he never intended to divorce Tamara Daybell, to whom he was married for nearly 30 years and with whom he had five children before having an affair with Vallow.

Vallow and Daybell were married in Hawaii 17 days after Tamara Daybell was found dead in her bed, prosecutors said. At the time, Vallow’s former husband, Charles Vallow, was also dead — shot by Cox — and her two youngest children had not yet been reported missing, they said. Ryan was a child from Vallow’s third marriage while JJ was the nephew of Charles Vallow, whom they adopted.

“Chad said the plan was for him and Lori to be together unhindered by earthly relatives, unhindered by earthly obstacles,” Blake said.

The children’s remains were found on an Idaho property owned by Daybell in June 2020 following a months-long search after extended family members reported them missing, prosecutors said. Ryan’s DNA was found on a pickaxe and shovel that were in Daybell’s garage, Blake said.

During his closing statements, defense attorney John Prior told jurors that prosecutors showed only a “handful” of text messages talking about “light and dark” and “percentages of deaths” on thousands between Daybell and Vallow in an attempt to insinuate that there had been a murder. plot.

“At no time did the prosecutor show you a text message saying, ‘Let’s kill the kids, let’s kill Tammy,'” he said.

Prior further argued that prosecutors failed to provide proof that there was an agreement to commit a crime or any evidence linking Daybell to the deaths.

During the trial, Prior’s witnesses included a medical examiner who believed Tamara Daybell’s cause of death should have been classified as “undetermined” and one of Daybell’s children, who told jurors her mother had been sick before dying.

Daybell was also convicted of two counts of insurance fraud related to life insurance policies he had on Tamara Daybell and of which he was the beneficiary, prosecutors said.

Daybell did not take the stand during the trial. He has pleaded not guilty to his charges.

His case is being presided over by the same judge from the Vallow trial, Justice Steve Boyce.

Boyce was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after the jury at her trial found her guilty of all charges. The judge had granted the defense’s motion to dismiss the death penalty in his case before his trial began.

Vallow was also accused of conspiring to kill her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was fatally shot by Cox in 2019 during a confrontation at her Arizona home. Police were investigating allegations that Cox shot his brother-in-law in self-defense, despite Cox dying of natural causes months after the fatal shooting.

She was indicted on one count of first-degree murder by a Maricopa County grand jury in 2021 in connection with the fatal shooting.

She was also charged with first-degree premeditated murder for allegedly plotting to kill her niece’s ex-husband.

She pleaded not guilty to both charges last year. His trial is expected to begin in August.

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