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Opening statements to begin in murder trial of Lori Vallow Daybell

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(NEW YORK) — Opening arguments are slated to begin in Idaho Monday in the murder trial of Lori Vallow Daybell, who is accused of killing two of her children in a doomsday plot.

Lori Vallow Daybell and her husband, Chad Daybell, were charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the 2019 deaths of her children, Joshua “J.J.” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17.

They were also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Chad Daybell’s former wife, Tamara Daybell, who died Oct. 19, 2019, less than a month before Lori and Chad married. Chad Daybell was also charged with his former wife’s murder.

The couple, who both reportedly adhered to a doomsday ideology, have pleaded not guilty to their charges. Last month, a Fremont County judge allowed their cases to be tried separately, with Chad Daybell’s expected to start at a later date.

Chad Daybell is the author of many religious fiction books.

The judge has granted the defense’s motion to dismiss the death penalty in Lori Vallow Daybell’s case.

Lori Vallow Daybell was deemed fit to stand trial last year following a 10-month stint at an Idaho mental health facility. Her attorneys have said they do not plan to raise a mental health defense at the guilt-phase portion of the trial.

She had at one point claimed she was “a god assigned to carry out the work of the 144,000 at Christ’s second coming in July 2020” and didn’t want anything to do with her family “because she had a more important mission to carry out,” according to court documents obtained by ABC News.

Lori Vallow Daybell and Chad Daybell were indicted on murder charges nearly a year after authorities discovered the remains of her children on property belonging to Chad Daybell. The children hadn’t been seen since September 2019 and were reported missing by extended family members to police in November 2019.

Additionally, Lori Vallow Daybell was indicted on the charge of grand theft related to Social Security survivor benefits allocated for the care of her children that prosecutors said were appropriated after the children were missing and ultimately found dead.

Chad Daybell was also charged with two counts of insurance fraud related to life insurance policies he had on Tamara Daybell for which he was the beneficiary, prosecutors said.

Lori Vallow Daybell has also been accused of conspiring to kill her previous husband. Charles Vallow was fatally shot by Lori’s brother in 2019 during a confrontation at her Arizona home. Her brother, Alex Cox, said he shot his brother-in-law in self-defense. Police were investigating the claims when Cox died from natural causes months later.

In 2021, a grand jury indicted Lori Vallow Daybell on one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of Charles Vallow.

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