Woman charged with killing her children seeks to avoid death penalty, lawyers cite mental illness

Despite the fact that the accused killer was found competent to stand trial, her attorneys argued that "the government wanting to kill a mentally ill person is a troubling thought."

Lori Vallow-Daybell, the Idaho "cult" mother charged along with her husband Chad Daybell in the 2019 deaths of their children Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, as well as Chad's late wife Tammy Daybell, has asked the judge to drop the death penalty against her.

As reported by Local News 8, Vallow-Daybell's defense team has argued that she should avoid death row if convicted due to "media saturation of this case," "multiple discovery violations by the government" in the case, and the state of Idaho allegedly not having the "chemicals to kill people on death row." Despite the fact that the accused killer was found competent to stand trial, her attorneys argued that "the government wanting to kill a mentally ill person is a troubling thought."

"This is a capital murder case, and heightened scrutiny applies to the government's actions when it seeks to kill a defendant. For these reasons, and for the reasons previously stated in motions previously heard but not ruled upon yet by this Court, the Court should dismiss the death penalty in this case," the defense's motion said of their client, who has pleaded not guilty to the murder, conspiracy and grand theft charges along with her husband.

The motion was filed just days after Judge Steven W. Boyce ruled that the two suspects' trials will be held separately, with Lori's trial set for April 3 in Ada County, and Chad's to be scheduled for a later date.

JJ and Tylee went missing in September 2019, reported the Daily Mail. Their bodies were later discovered in shallow graves in Daybell's backyard in June 2020. The next month, Tammy was also found dead, which investigators originally thought was of natural causes until the bereaved husband remarried to Lori two weeks after the death of his late wife.

The grand theft charges are reportedly in relation to suspected insurance fraud with the Social Security benefits of the deceased children.

"Vallow is also separately charged with conspiracy to commit murder in Arizona in connection with the July 2019 death of her previous husband, Charles Vallow," reported the outlet. "He was shot and killed by Vallow's brother, Alex Cox, who claimed it was self-defense."

According to Lori's alibi filing, she was allegedly "in her own apartment in Rexburg, Idaho, when JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan died in the apartment of Alex Cox in Rexburg, Idaho."

According to The Independent, Cox also "mysteriously died" just three months after the children's disappearance.

Vallow-Daybell also claims that she was in Hawaii with friends when Tammy Daybell died at Chad's home in Salem, Idaho.

With two former spouses and two children dead, the couple could likely face the death penalty if convicted. 

Lori has been described as the "doomsday cult mom" by the UK outlet, which reported that prosecutors said that Lori had been telling her friends that the kids were "zombies" and that the only way to free their soul from zombies was to kill them. 

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