Chad Daybell sentenced to death for killing his wife and girlfriend's two children

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho jury unanimously decided Saturday convicted murderer Chad Daybell deserves the death penalty for the gruesome murders of his wife and his girlfriend's two youngest children. This ended a grim case that began in 2019 with the seek for two missing children.

Daybell, 55, wearing a dress shirt and tie, sat on the defense table along with his hands in his lap, showing no emotion as he learned he faces the death penalty for the murders of Tammy Daybell, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow.

When asked by the judge if he desired to comment, Daybell said no.

The jury found him guilty on Thursday and voted for the death penalty after just over a day of deliberations.

The children's mother is Lori Vallow Daybell, who married Chad Daybell shortly after his wife's death. Vallow Daybell was convicted She was charged with three murders last yr and is now awaiting trial in Arizona. She is charged with murder in reference to the killing of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Charles Vallow was JJ's father.

The case began in 2019 when a member of the family called police. Investigators soon realized each children were missing and commenced a multi-state search. Nearly a yr later, their stays were found buried on Chad Daybell's property. Tylee's DNA was later found A pickaxe and shovel were present in a shed on the property and JJ's body was wrapped in garbage bags and duct tape, prosecutors said.

During a trial lasting nearly two months, prosecutors claimed that Chad Daybell, a self-published creator who wrote doomsday novels, unusual spiritual beliefs These include apocalyptic prophecies and stories of possession by evil spirits to justify the murders.

“This was a difficult case because of its complexity, both in telling the story of a years-long investigation and in trying to find the best way to present it in a way that others can understand,” Fremont County Attorney Lindsey Blake said outside the Boise courthouse after the decision was announced.

Relatives of the victims welcomed the jury's decision.

“This is the best justice we can get. And again, it doesn't change the outcome, but it's good news and it brings closure to everyone who was hurt,” Colby Ryan, Vallow Daybell's eldest child, told reporters.

Larry Woodcock, JJ's grandfather, thanked the judge, law enforcement and the individuals who followed the case and supported him through the years.

“You are part of the family,” he said. “I look at the faces and I tell you all: I will miss you.”

“We have experienced justice,” he added. “Equal, honest and fair.”

Daybell's defense attorney, John Prior, argued in the course of the trial that there was not enough evidence to link Daybell to the murders and suggested Vallow Daybell's older brother, Alex Cox, was the perpetrator. Cox died in late 2019 and was never charged. Vallow Daybell was convicted last yr and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.

During the sentencing hearing, Prior asked jurors to guage Daybell on his life before the encounter with Vallow Daybell. He described her as a bombshell that threw him off beam with an otherwise healthy life. But Daybell also refused to supply any mitigating circumstances in the course of the sentencing hearing. Mitigating circumstances are sometimes used to get jurors to feel sympathy for a defendant, to point out that a life sentence is more appropriate than the death penalty.

Family members of the victims gave emotional statements to jurors. JJ Vallow's grandmother, Kay Woodcock, tearfully described how the 7-year-old showed empathy and compassion toward others by gently touching them and ceaselessly asking if those around him were OK. She also said that Tylee was a loving big sister and that it warmed her heart to see the 2 of them together.

“I can’t put into words how much I wish I had more time to make memories,” Woodcock said, starting to cry.

Ryan, Vallow Daybell's eldest child, described what it was prefer to lose his entire family. His father died years earlier.

“My three children will never know the goodness of Tylee's heart or JJ's silly and goofy personality… The impact of her loss on them is something I can only describe as a nuclear bomb dropping,” he said. “It is no exaggeration to say I have lost everything.”

To impose the death penalty, jurors needed to unanimously find that Daybell met at the least certainly one of the “aggravating circumstances” that state law requires to justify the death penalty. They also needed to agree that those aggravating circumstances weren’t outweighed by mitigating circumstances that might have diminished his guilt or justified a lesser sentence.

The jury found that there have been aggravating circumstances, including a complete disregard for human life and the indisputable fact that the murders were particularly heinous and cruel.

Idaho law allows for executions by lethal injection or firing squad, but firing squad executions have never been carried out within the state.

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