Jurors plan to return Saturday to continue deliberating Chad Daybell sentence

May 31, 2024, 5:28 PM | Updated: 10:28 pm

BOISE — Jurors deliberated for about six hours Friday in the sentencing phase of the murder trial of Chad Daybell before calling it a night and planning to return at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Prosecutors are seeking a death sentence for the 55-year-old religious book author, who was convicted Thursday on all counts in the high-profile triple murder case in Idaho.

Before jurors began their deliberations Friday, they heard arguments for and against the death penalty from both the prosecution and defense.

Prosecutor Rob Wood said the murders of Tammy Daybell, Tylee Ryan, and JJ Vallow were “especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, manifesting exceptional depravity.”

Lindsey Blake, the Fremont County attorney who has led the prosecution team, echoed that.

“It didn’t matter the age of the victim or who relied on them and loved them,” Blake said. “If they were in the way of Chad and his plan – and/or if there was money to be gained for Lori and Chad – those individuals were marked for death.”

But defense attorney John Prior pinned the blame for the “chaos” on Lori Vallow Daybell, Chad’s wife who was convicted in this same case last year. He likened Chad meeting Lori to a “bomb being dropped” on his life.

“You evaluate that, and you look back and you say, is this a person – if it wasn’t for that trajectory coming in and changing the path – is this where we would be going?” Prior said. “It’s not where we’d be going.”

Chad Daybell will not present evidence as sentencing begins

The arguments were given during an emotional day of victim impact statements from family members of JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan, and Tammy Daybell.

Chad Daybell did not speak at Friday’s sentencing hearing, nor did Prior call any witnesses to speak on his behalf before jurors started deliberating.

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Jurors plan to return Saturday to continue deliberating Chad Daybell sentence