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Chad Daybell found guilty in triple murder case involving Doomsday Plot: USA: Business Times

Chad Daybell has been found guilty of murdering his first wife, Tammy Daybell, and the two youngest children of his second wife Lori Vallow. The verdict concludes a high-profile case characterized by bizarre doomsday scenarios and tragic deaths. Daybell, 55, was charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the 2019 slayings of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 49-year-old Tammy Dagbel.

The jury in Ada County, Idaho, deliberated less than six hours before reaching a guilty verdict. Daybell was also convicted of insurance fraud involving life insurance policies for his first wife. The trial, which lasted nearly two months, featured testimony from multiple witnesses, including Daybell’s two adult children.

Prosecutors painted a grim picture of Daybell, describing him as a self-published author of apocalyptic books who, along with Lori Vallow, believed the children and Tammy were possessed by dark spirits. This belief was central to their actions, which prosecutors say revolved around a small doomsday cult.

“More than anything, Chad’s obsession with Lori was rooted in her adoration for him,” Madison County Prosecutor Rob Wood said during the trial. “He called her an exalted goddess.”

The case against Daybell involved the tragic circumstances of Tammy Daybell’s death. On October 19, 2019, Chad reported that Tammy had gone to bed with a cough and never woke up. Her death was initially believed to be the result of asphyxiation, a revelation that came during Lori Vallow’s trial.

The disappearance of JJ and Tylee also played a crucial role in the case. The children’s remains were discovered on June 9, 2020, on Chad Daybell’s property in Rexburg, Idaho. JJ was found wrapped in plastic and bound with duct tape, while Tylee’s remains were dismembered and burned. The children were last seen in September 2019.

During the trial, Daybell’s adult children, Emma Murray and Garth Daybell, testified in his defense. Murray spoke of her father’s grief over Tammy’s death, saying, “I’ve never seen him as upset as he was at that moment.” I know the sadness was real. He may not have had the same romantic relationship with my mother in the past, but I know he valued her as a person and it was very traumatic to see her die.”

Garth Daybell also testified, noting that his mother’s health had deteriorated before her death. According to Garth, Tammy “tired extremely easily”, often became breathless and fainted.

The trial’s conclusion comes nearly a year after Lori Vallow was found guilty of murdering JJ and Tylee and conspiring to kill Tammy Daybell. She was sentenced in July 2023 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Lori Vallow was not sentenced to death.

Prosecutors argued that Daybell and Vallow’s relationship was driven by a desire for “money, power and sex,” as well as their shared apocalyptic beliefs. “Three dead bodies… and for what? Money, power and sex. That’s what the defendant cared about,” prosecutor Lindsey Blake told jurors during closing arguments.

The children’s remains were discovered after a months-long search initiated by concerned family members. Their discovery on Daybell’s property provided crucial evidence linking him to their deaths. Ryan’s DNA was found on a pick and shovel in Daybell’s garage, further implicating him.

Defense attorney John Prior argued that the prosecution failed to provide concrete evidence of a conspiracy to commit murder. He claimed prosecutors showed only a “handful” of text messages discussing “light and dark” and “mortality rates” out of the thousands exchanged between Daybell and Vallow.

During the trial, a forensic pathologist testified that Tammy Daybell’s cause of death should have been classified as “undetermined.” Daybell did not testify in his own defense and pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The case was presided over by Judge Steve Boyce, who also oversaw the trial of Lori Vallow. Following her conviction, Vallow was sentenced to life in prison without parole. She faces additional charges in Arizona in connection with the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was fatally shot by her brother, Alex Cox, in 2019. Lori Vallow’s trial on these charges is set to begin in August.

Chad Daybell’s sentencing phase will begin soon, with prosecutors indicating they will pursue the death penalty for the murder charge. The case has attracted widespread media attention due to the shocking details and bizarre beliefs of the defendants.

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