Prosecution, defense rest in Lori Vallow Daybell trial, Lori will not testify

May 9, 2023, 1:40 PM | Updated: May 11, 2023, 10:07 am

BOISE, Idaho — The defense rested its case shortly after the state rested its case in the Lori Vallow Daybell trial Tuesday afternoon following weeks of testimony.

Vallow Daybell is charged with six felonies. She and her husband Chad Daybell are accused of murdering her two children, JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan. Vallow Daybell is also accused of conspiring to murder Daybell’s late wife, Tammy Daybell. 

Vallow Daybell’s charges:

  • First-degree murder for the death of Tylee Ryan.
  • First-degree murder for the death of J.J. Vallow.
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception for the death of Tylee Ryan.
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception for the death of J.J. Vallow.
  • Conspiracy to commit first-degree murder for the death of Tammy Daybell.
  • Grand theft with deception, related to Social Security survivor benefits for JJ and Tylee.

Click here for complete coverage of the Lori Vallow Daybell trial

Vallow Daybell has pleaded not guilty. Chad Daybell’s trial will be held separately and at a later date.

The prosecution concluded with testimonies of multiple FBI agents that worked on the case.

Tuesday’s testimony included Nicole Heideman, a tactical specialist with the FBI, and Nicholas Edwards, currently employed with the US Army and an investigator with the Idaho Attorney General.

The two shined light on Vallow Daybell’s possible involvement in the deaths of her children and Tammy Daybell sharing text exchanges and icloud information from Lori’s account.

Texts from Lori Vallow portray sensual romance amidst plans to ‘eliminate’ kids

The communications and phone locations revealed interesting connections between Chad Daybell, Vallow Daybell, and Alex Cox in relation to Tammy Daybell’s death.

Edwards testified that he looked into searches made on Alex Cox’s icloud account. On Oct. 9 there was a search of “what a Grendel round would do to a Dodge Dakota.”

“The Daybell’s owned a Dodge Dakota and that naturally caught my attention,” Edwards said.

Edwards reviewed communications between Chad Daybell and Vallow Daybell, Vallow Daybell and Alex, and Chad and Alex on Oct. 18, 2019, the day before Tammy Daybell’s death. On that day there were 12 texts exchanged between Cox and Vallow Daybell up to 9:04 p.m., 11 texts between Vallow Daybell and Zulema.

That same evening, Cox’s phone location shows him arriving at a church building near the Daybell residence at 10:07 p.m.

Edwards said Cox and Chad Daybell texted each other over a dozen times around 10:30 p.m. and Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell exchange texts around this same time.

It was not specified what was said in these messages and they were not shown to the court.

Cox’s phone show him leaving the church parking lot at 11:06 p.m. Cox and Vallow Daybell talk on the phone around midnight into the next morning.

The morning of Oct. 19, Tammy Daybell was pronounced dead.

Earlier in this trial, a medical examiner testified that Tammy Daybell died of asphyxiation and had signs of being restrained.

The defense asked the judge to consider a motion for a judgement for acquittal.

Idaho rule 29 states: “(a)  Before Submission to the Jury. After the prosecution closes its evidence or after the close of all the evidence, the court on defendant’s motion or on its own motion, must enter a judgment of acquittal of any offense for which the evidence is insufficient to sustain a conviction. If the court denies a motion for a judgment of acquittal at the close of the prosecution’s evidence, the defendant may offer evidence. If the court dismisses an offense, the court must consider whether the evidence would be sufficient to sustain a conviction on a lesser included offense.”

The defense stated, “We don’t believe the state has proved its case so the defense will rest.”

Judge Steven Boyce spoke to Lori about the 5th amendment:

“You do have that right, and will maintain that right. And is it your decision to maintain that right and not testify?” Boyce asked.

“Yes your honor,” she said.

Closing arguments will commence Thursday.

We’re going to have you be excused for tomorrow. We will continue then Thursday morning for the closing arguments which will be presented to you by both sides…that will take place before the deliberations begin…” Boyce said to the jury.

Utah defense attorney and KSL legal analyst Greg Skordas shared his thoughts following Tuesday’s court proceedings.

“I think the prosecution did a very good job. This is the kind of case the state of Idaho couldn’t lose.”

Lori Vallow Daybell’s DNA used as evidence for first time in her murder trial

“I think the jury was waiting for the defense. I think they wanted to hear what the defense was. I think they wanted to hear maybe even Lori speak, saying, ‘I didn’t do this. I wasn’t involved in this.’ That’s a real problem.”

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Prosecution, defense rest in Lori Vallow Daybell trial, Lori will not testify