Lori Vallow murder trial: Former Idaho AG weighs in as jury selection continues

The murder trial involving the so-called "Doomsday Mom" is speeding up in Idaho.

Lori Vallow is accused of using her religious beliefs to justify the murders of her two kids. Prosecutors and law enforcement say Vallow thought could see dark spirits, and claimed that her kids, 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow and 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, had become zombies. The mother moved them from Arizona to Rexburg, Idaho in 2019. Police say both kids were killed by Vallow.

Jury selections in murder trial began on Apr. 3, and after two days, 30 our of 42 jurors have been chosen.

On Apr. 4, we got to hear more about pre-trial publicity, and what the potential jurors know about Vallow.

As Vallow wrote notes and watched three more groups of potential jurors be questioned inside the courthouse in Idaho's Ada County, the judge, prosecution and defense asked people individually how much they knew about the triple murder case.

Have they seen the TV specials?

Have they seen documentaries?

Have they followed news coverage?

Jurors who the court dismissed showed concerns of bias and/or undue hardship. They knew about the alleged victims, co-conspirators, and even formed an opinion about the mother who would not tell law enforcement where her kids were for several months.

Former Idaho Attorney General weighs in

"The eloquent silence of a mother who doesn’t tell the public - the world, in fact - for a period of up to six months where her children might be, is powerful testimony," said Dave Leroy.

Leroy served as Idaho's Attorney General from 1979 to 1983, and was the Ada County Prosecutor from 1974 to 1978. We asked him about Vallow's alleged spiritual beliefs, as mentioned above.

"It can be brought up by the prosecution to suggest that there was a motive of some kind, [that] children were regarded as zombies not to have them around any longer," said Leroy. "By the same token, the defense can bring up the concept of zombies to suggest perhaps Lori was under the undue influence of other people."

Like her husband Chad Daybell, who is accused of murdering the children and his first wife, Tammy Daybell, Vallow allegedly conspired in all three deaths, but will have alibis ready. Her lawyers will say she was in her townhome, while her kids died in her late brother’s apartment, and that she was in Hawaii when Tammy died in her home.

"The fact that she was not physically present doesn’t mean much in a conspiracy case procedures, typically hatched someplace other than that where the crime is actually executed in the conspiracy typically precedes the crime." said Leroy.

Meanwhile, Judge Steven Boyce has moved the trial to the state’s largest county, and heavily restricted media access.

"Whether you like or hate the fact that we don’t have cameras, whether you find this process of getting audio at the end of the day to be useful in news accounts, and keeping the public informed, [the] judge will control the courtroom, and I think you’ll find that this trial, as despicable as the facts are, is fairly conducted," said Leroy.

What's next?

Once 42 jurors are ready, both prosecution and defense will each get 12 strikes to narrow the pool down to 18 jurors, including six alternates. The judge does not want to waste time, so people waiting on standby will not be tainted.


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