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News / Nation & World

Lori Vallow’s defense attorneys rest case after calling zero witnesses in murder trial

By Joseph Wilkinson, New York Daily News
Published: May 9, 2023, 7:50pm

Both the prosecution and defense rested Tuesday in the murder trial of “cult mom” Lori Vallow, setting the stage for the jury to get the case as soon as Thursday.

The defense rested after calling zero witnesses, East Idaho News reported. “After consulting with my client, we don’t believe the state has proven its case, so the defense rests,” lead attorney Jim Archibald said.

Prosecutors called more than 60 witnesses across 25 days of testimony before resting their case Tuesday afternoon. Judge Steven Boyce scheduled closing arguments for Thursday, according to East Idaho News.

Vallow, 49, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of her children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old JJ Vallow. She’s also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Tammy Daybell, her fifth husband’s ex-wife.

Vallow’s husband, Chad Daybell, is charged with three counts of murder for the deaths of Tylee, JJ and Tammy. He will be tried separately at a later date.

Tylee and JJ were last seen alive in September 2019. Their remains were found in June 2020 on Daybell’s property in east Idaho.

Vallow and Daybell exchanged hundreds of concerning text messages, in which they discussed Tylee and JJ being controlled by evil spirits and turning into “zombies.” Daybell, 54, told Vallow he was trying to remove the evil spirits.

“I turned up the pain to 10 and placed a spiritual virus in her,” Daybell texted Vallow on July 18, 2019, referring to Ryan.

When a coroner examined Ryan’s remains, they could not determine her exact cause of death. Her DNA was found on a pickaxe on Daybell’s property, according to testimony from a forensic investigator.

JJ Vallow’s cause of death was asphyxia, the coroner ruled. His mouth was duct taped shut and his head was stuffed in a plastic bag, authorities said.

Vallow was first detained in February 2020 after she was given two weeks to prove the children were still alive. She and Daybell were finally charged with murder in May 2021.

For a time, Vallow was considered unfit to stand trial but her “mental competency” was eventually “restored.”