Triple Murder Trial of Chad Daybell Begins in Idaho

The trial of Chad Daybell, the man charged in the 2019 triple murder of his wife and his then-girlfriend’s two children got underway last week in an Idaho courtroom, the Associated Press reported.

The 55-year-old Daybell faces charges of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, insurance fraud, and grand theft in the deaths of Tammy Daybell, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, and 7-year-old Joshua Vallow.

In his April 10 opening statement, prosecutor Rob Wood said the married Daybell became obsessed with Lori Vallow after meeting her at a religious conference in 2018. After the two began an affair, they viewed Daybell’s wife Tammy and Vallow’s children Joshua and Tylee as “dark spirits” or “zombies” that posed a threat to their relationship.

The couple created a bizarre belief system to both justify the killings and to gain financially. According to the prosecution, in the fall of 2019, Daybell tried to collect on Tammy’s life insurance. Meanwhile, Vallow continued to collect her two children’s social security benefits.

Wood told jurors that Daybell did not allow any person or law to stand in the way of “what he considered his rightful destiny,” and this led to the deaths of Tammy Daybell and Vallow’s two children.

Vallow, who subsequently married Daybell, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole last year for her role in the murders. During sentencing, Vallow claimed that she was in contact with the spirits of her three victims and she knew Tammy Daybell was “very happy and extremely business.”

In his opening statements, defense attorney John Prior described Daybell as a religious person whose beliefs were fairly mainstream.

Prior sought to lay the blame for the murders on Lori Vallow and her brother Alex Cox who was convicted for fatally shooting one of Vallow’s former husbands.

He told jurors that Daybell had a normal life before meeting Vallow, whom he said lured Daybell into an affair.

Daybell has pleaded not guilty in the case.

The trial is expected to last at least two months, with prosecutors saying they plan to seek the death penalty if Daybell is convicted.