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Lori Vallow Daybell’s triple murder trial continues with eighth day of testimony

Lori Vallow appears in a courtroom sketch in late April 2023

Lori Vallow appears in a courtroom sketch taken from a hearing on April 19, 2023 (via courtroom pool sketch artist). Inset: Vallow’s dead children, JJ Vallow (left) and Tylee Ryan (right) (via Fremont County Sheriff’s Office).

The triple murder trial of Lori Vallow Daybell — a “doomsday cult”-connected mother of two dead children and former wife to two dead husbands — stretched into its eighth day of testimony in an Ada County, Idaho, courthouse.

Vallow, 49, and her fifth and current husband, Chad Daybell, 54, stand accused of murder in the 2019 deaths of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ashlyn Ryan, 17. The children disappeared on different dates in September of that year. Vallow was initially arrested in Hawaii in February 2020 on charges of child desertion. Daybell was arrested later that year after the children’s bodies were found buried in shallow graves on his property in Salem, Idaho.

The two defendants were indicted for the murder of Vallow’s children and Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, 49, in May 2021. They were initially prosecuted as husband-and-wife co-defendants, but the couple’s cases were recently severed and they now face separate trials.

The second week of the trial is abbreviated due to the recent death of lead prosecutor Lindsey Blake’s father.

Last week, jurors heard engrossing testimony from Lori Vallow’s former best friend Melanie Gibb, who detailed the defendant’s belief in “zombies,” “possession,” and other supernatural ideas that stray far from the basic Mormon faith that the friends once shared. After that, jurors heard testimony from Zulema Pastenes, the widow of Lori Vallow’s deceased brother Alex Cox, who testified Lori Vallow told her that Charles Vallow was “possessed by a dark spirit.”

The first week of testimony went by relatively quickly as the defense did not perform much in the way of cross-examination. A similar situation appears to have played out during the present week as well.

More Law&Crime coverage: The 7 most damning pieces of evidence presented during the first week of ‘cult mom’ Lori Vallow’s murder trial

On Tuesday, Lori Vallow’s only surviving son, Colby Ryan, took the stand and discussed his faith and family. He later sat there as prosecutors played a jailhouse phone call between him and his mother in which he accuses her of murdering his siblings and calls her a liar.

On Wednesday, jurors were walked through copious amounts of financial data by various state witnesses in an effort to understand the grand theft charges against the defendant. Vallow effectively stands accused of conspiring to kill her children and stealing money that belonged to them. Those charges are laid out in somewhat unique, combined indictments.

Jurors also heard about Lori Vallow’s actions and alleged lack of emotion on the morning Charles Vallow was killed.

Law&Crime correspondent Gigi McKelvey will provide updates as the case progresses Thursday and throughout the trial.

UPDATE: 3:17 P.M. MST – Videos and a Long Recess

UPDATE: 2:46 P.M. MST – “I Look Like a Suspect, But I’m a Good Person”

UPDATE: 1:35 P.M. MST – A Detective and an FBI Agent

UPDATE: 11:44 A.M. MST – More on the Faith

UPDATE: 11:15 A.M. MST – The Problem Witness Testifies

UPDATE: 10:45 A.M. MST – A Witness Breaks the Rules

UPDATE 9:39 A.M. MST – JJ’s Principal

UPDATE 9:30 A.M. MST – JJ’s Babysitter

UPDATE: 9:15 A.M. MST – Sgt. Moffatt Testifies Over Objections

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