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Prosecutors call killings “heinous, atrocious, cruel”, call for death penalty for Chad Daybell

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty for Chad Daybell, the man accused of killing his ex-wife and two stepchildren from his current marriage.

Daybell and his wife Lori Vallow Daybell are charged with various crimes including first degree murder for the death of Chad’s first wife Tammy Daybell, Tylee Ryan, 16, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7 – both of Lori children. The couple were indicted in May by a Fremont County grand jury.

Chad has pleaded not guilty to all of the charges against him.

In court documents filed Thursday, Special Prosecutor Rob Wood and Fremont County Prosecutor Lindsey Blake say the death penalty can be applied on any of the three first degree murder charges filed against Daybell. Additionally, it can be used for any conspiracy to commit first degree murder charges.

Prosecutors cited several reasons why Chad Daybell’s case carries the death penalty:

  • The alleged murders were “committed for remuneration” (financial gain).

  • The alleged murders were “particularly heinous, atrocious, cruel, or manifested exceptional depravity.”

  • The accused showed “utter disregard for human life”.

  • The accused showed “a propensity to commit murder and will likely pose a continuing threat to society.”

Prosecutors made the following statement regarding their decision to seek the death penalty:

“Today we filed our notice of intent to seek the death penalty against Chad Daybell. Our process for making this decision was long and comprehensive.

We spoke to JJ Vallow’s immediate family members Tylee Ryan and Tammy Daybell, who indicated they were willing to speak with us and allowed them to give their opinion if they wished.

The ultimate decision to seek capital punishment rests with the state, and after completing the entire process, we have determined that the nature and extent of these crimes justify the possibility of the highest possible penalty.

This determination applies only to Chad Daybell.

As the Chad case progresses through the justice system, Lori’s case remains on hold or suspended after a mental health expert ruled her incompetent to assist her in her defense. On June 8, District Judge Steven Boyce sent Lori to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for her to undergo mental health treatment.

Chad is due to hold a pre-trial conference on September 30 ahead of the jury trial already scheduled for November.

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