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Idaho prosecutors will seek death penalty against Chad Daybell, charged with killing wife's 2 kids

Daybell was also charged in his previous wife's death. Court documents filed Thursday revealed that the Fremont County Prosecutor's Office will seek the death penalty in that case as well.
Image: Chad Daybell
Chad Daybell listens during his preliminary hearing in St. Anthony, Idaho, on Aug. 3, 2020.John Roark / Post Register via AP file

Prosecutors in Idaho will seek the death penalty against Chad Daybell, who is charged with his wife, Lori Vallow, in the killing of her two kids.

Daybell was also charged with killing his previous wife, Tammy Daybell, and court documents filed Thursday revealed that the Fremont County Prosecutor's Office will seek the death penalty in that case as well.

Vallow and Daybell were charged in May with murder in the deaths of Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan, who were 7 and 16 respectively when they disappeared in September 2019. Daybell was also indicted on a charge of first-degree murder and insurance fraud in the death of Tammy Daybell.

"The State will seek the death penalty against Chad Guy Daybell in the event of the defendant's conviction for any of the three counts of first degree murder and/or any of the counts of conspiracy to commit first degree murder as charged in the Indictment," according to the court documents.

The documents stated the murders were "especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, and that Daybell "by his conduct ... has exhibited a propensity to commit murder, which will probably constitute a continuing threat to society."

Daybell is a self-published author who has written more than two dozen books about near-death and doomsday events, and multiple people close to Vallow have raised red flags about her bizarre doomsday beliefs and mental state.

Indictments said the couple “did endorse and espouse religious beliefs for the purpose of encouraging and/or justifying the homicides” of Tylee, Joshua and Tammy Daybell.

The bodies of the children were found on Daybell's property in June 2020.

Daybell has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday morning.

Vallow, in May, was declared mentally unfit to stand trial on separate concealment of evidence charges she faces and committed to a mental health facility in June.

In June, Vallow was charged in Arizona with one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the 2019 death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, in 2019.

Vallow was shot to death by Vallow's brother, Alex Cox, in July during a confrontation in Chandler, Arizona, according to authorities. Cox claimed self-defense. The Maricopa County Medical Examiner in Arizona ruled the death a homicide.

Vallow and Cox were questioned by police at the time but not charged.

Cox died in December of an apparent blood clot in his lung, The Associated Press reported. He has been named as a co-conspirator in the murders of Joshua, Tylee and Tammy Daybell.

Before Charles Vallow died, he filed for divorce, claiming in documents that his wife believed she was reincarnated and was a god sent to lead people during the second coming of Christ in July 2020. She allegedly told her husband that if he got in her way, she would kill him, according to the documents.

Vallow's third husband and Tylee's father, Joseph Ryan, also expressed "real and serious concerns" about Vallow in court documents in the midst of their divorce and custody battle. Ryan died of an apparent heart attack in 2018. An online obituary said Ryan was 59.