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Chad Daybell sentenced to death for murdering wife and girlfriend’s two children | News

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho jury unanimously agreed Saturday that convicted killer Chad Daybell deserves the death penalty for the gruesome murders of his wife and his girlfriend’s two youngest children, ending a grim case that started in 2019 with a search for two children. Missing children.

Daybell, 55, dressed in a shirt and tie, sat at the defense table with his hands in his lap. He showed no emotion when he learned he would receive 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 wanted to make a statement, Daybell declined.

Jurors found him guilty on Thursday and decided on the death penalty after more than a day of deliberation.

The children’s mother is Lori Vallow Daybell, whom Chad Daybell married shortly after his wife’s death. Vallow Daybell was convicted of the three murders last year and is now awaiting trial in Arizona, charged with murder in connection with the shooting death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Charles Vallow was JJ’s father.

The case started in 2019, when a family member called the police. Investigators soon realized that both children were missing, and a multi-state search ensued. Nearly a year later, their remains were found buried on Chad Daybell’s property. Tylee’s DNA was later found on a pick and a shovel in a shed on the property, and JJ’s body was wrapped in garbage bags and duct tape, prosecutors said.

During a nearly two-month trial, prosecutors said Chad Daybell, a self-published author who wrote doomsday-infused fiction, promoted unusual spiritual beliefs, including apocalyptic prophecies and stories of possession by evil spirits, to plot the killings. justify.

“This was a difficult case because of its complexity, both in terms of telling the story of an investigation that took years to complete and trying to find the best way to present it in a way that would make sense to others,” says Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake. said outside the Boise courthouse after the sentencing.

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 people who followed the case and shared their support over the years.

“You’re family,” he said. “I look at the faces and I’m going to tell you everything: I’m going to miss you.”

“We have seen justice,” he added. “Equal, fair and just.”

Daybell’s attorney, John Prior, argued during the trial that there was not enough evidence to link Daybell to the murders, and suggested that Vallow Daybell’s older brother, Alex Cox, was to blame. Cox died in late 2019 and was never charged, and Vallow Daybell was sentenced last year to life in prison without parole.

During the sentencing hearing, Prior asked jurors to rate Daybell on his life before he met Vallow Daybell, describing her as a bomb that blew him off the trajectory of an otherwise healthy life. But Daybell also refused to provide any mitigating evidence during the sentencing hearing. Mitigating evidence is often used to encourage jurors to sympathize with a suspect, in an attempt to show that a life sentence would be more appropriate than the death penalty.

Relatives 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 through gentle touches and by frequently asking if those around him were okay. She also said that Tylee was a loving big sister, and that it warmed her heart to see them together.

“I can’t express how much I want more time to create memories,” said Woodcock, who began to cry.

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

“My three children will never know the kindness of Tylee’s heart or JJ’s silly and crazy personality… The only way I could describe the impact of their lives being lost is like the dropping of an atomic bomb,” he said . “It is not an exaggeration to say that I have lost everything.”

In order to impose the death penalty, jurors had to unanimously find that Daybell met at least one of the “aggravating circumstances” that qualify someone for the death penalty under state law. They also had to agree that these aggravating factors did not outweigh mitigating factors that might have reduced his culpability or justified a lesser sentence.

The jury decided that there were aggravating factors including a total disregard for human life and that the murders were particularly gruesome and brutal.

Idaho law allows execution by lethal injection or firing squad, although executions by firing squad have never been used in the state.