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Lori Vallow trial continues with third day of testimony

Lori Vallow appears upset in a courtroom sketch

Lori Vallow appears upset in court as she prepares to see autopsy photos of her dead children, JJ Vallow, on the left, and Tylee Ryan, on the right, who appear inset, on April 11, 2023. (Courtroom pool sketch artist; Fremont County Sheriff’s Office)

The triple murder trial for Lori Vallow Daybell, 49, a “doomsday cult”-connected mother of two dead children and two dead former husbands continues with the third day of testimony in Ada County, Idaho, on Wednesday morning.

Vallow and her fifth and current husband, Chad Daybell, 54, stand accused of murder over 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 at his property. The two defendants were indicted for the murder of Vallow’s children and Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, 49, in May 2021. Initially being prosecuted as husband-and-wife co-defendants, the couple’s cases were recently severed and will be tried separately.

Last week, jury selection wrapped up with 12 jurors and six alternates being chosen from nearly 2,000 Ada County residents who received a summons. The trial is being overseen by Seventh District Judge Steven Boyce, who previously explained to would-be jurors that the complicated case is expected to last as long as eight weeks.

On Tuesday, jurors heard often graphic and searing testimony from Rexburg Police Department Detective Ray Hermosillo about the grim and decidedly gruesome discovery of the children’s remains – as well as Chad Daybell’s attempt to flee when their bodies were found.

The prospect of viewing her murdered children’s autopsy photographs apparently proved too big a cross to bear for the defendant – whose so-called “emotional” response to the morning’s testimony and anticipation of the visual evidence prompted the trial to be halted for an hour. Eventually, the defense lodged a formal request for Lori Vallow to excuse herself and waive her appearance during Hermosillo’s afternoon walk-through of those macabre photographs. Judge Steven Boyce denied that request.

More Law&Crime coverage: Judge rejects Lori Vallow Daybell demand to leave court when autopsy photos of her murdered children are shown

Law&Crime correspondent Gigi McKelvey will provide rolling updates as the case progresses Wednesday and throughout the trial:

Update: 9:50 A.M. MST – A Short Day in Court Ends

“There has been a death in the family of one of the prosecutor’s lead attorneys,” the prosecution said in a statement obtained by Law&Crime after the end of proceedings on Wednesday. “The Court and defense have been gracious in allowing the prosecution to adjust to this personal situation.”

Friday is expected to be a brief day in court as well and the trial is likely to begin again next Tuesday, April 17.

Update: 10:34 A.M. MST – The State Calls Their Next Witness

Update: 9:54 A.M. MST – A Telltale Phone Call?

Update: 9:30 A.M. MST – Det. Hermosillo Is Back on the Stand

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