“Doomsday” mom Lori Vallow smiled in court on Tuesday when her lawyers asked a judge to send the case back to a grand jury over the “confusing” charges.
Attorneys for Vallow, who is accused of killing two of her children and stealing their Social Security benefits, told a judge during the hearing in an Idaho County courtroom that they wanted “just a fair trial.”
The mother, 49, and her husband Chad Daybell, 52, have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, conspiracy and grand larceny in connection with the 2019 deaths of 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan.
Vallow’s attorneys asked the judge Tuesday to separate their conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit theft charges, arguing they could confuse a jury.
“I have a problem with the state saying, ‘Hey, we can put all of these things together in one conspiracy charge,’ and as long as they find one of these conspiracies, the conspiracy is fulfilled,” attorney John Thomas said during the trial on Tuesday. Fox News reports. “It doesn’t make much sense like that.”
One of the conspiracy charges came because prosecutors say the couple plotted to kill Vallow’s daughter and steal the Social Security benefits the child received because her father died. The other conspiracy charge is the same but related to her son’s death.
“The murder conspiracy and the grand larceny conspiracy are two separate conspiracies,” Thomas continued. “We believe it would be confusing for a jury to determine which elements were met, when the elements were met, and to what extent the elements were met.”
Prosecutors, meanwhile, argued that the charges were not at all confusing.
“One was murdering Tylee Ryan and stealing her allocated Social Security funds, and one was killing JJ Vallow and stealing and collecting his Social Security funds,” prosecutor Rob Wood said. “We believe the jury will find that there was this agreement, that they agreed to commit both of these crimes.”
Judge Steven Boyce said he will review the arguments and make a decision later.
Vallow’s children disappeared in 2019 and the couple never reported them missing and declined to help detectives with their investigation after extended family members reported the children had not been seen in months.
The couple fled to Hawaii, where they were arrested in connection with the children’s disappearance.
The burned bodies of both children were eventually found in a makeshift grave near Vallow’s home in rural Idaho.
Lawyers for the “cult mother”, who pleaded not guilty, argued that she was mentally unfit to stand trial – but she was deemed competent to stand trial on the charges against her after spending 11 months in a psychiatric hospital had spent.
Vallow and her husband married just two weeks after Chad Daybell’s ex-wife unexpectedly died. While the death was reportedly of natural origin, the body was later exhumed by investigators.
Vallow is also accused of conspiring to murder her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was allegedly shot by her brother Alex Cox in Arizona. Cox later died of natural causes.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/08/16/lori-vallow-smiles-as-attorneys-request-change-in-charges/ ‘Doomsday’ mom Lori Vallow smiles in court as lawyers call for charges to be amended