Six of the most SHOCKING moments from Lori Vallow's murder trial

Six of the most SHOCKING moments in Lori Vallow’s murder trial – from horrifying photos of her two children’s mutilated bodies to cult mom killer’s creepy behavior in court

  • ‘Cult mom’ Lori Vallow was found guilty of killing children JJ, seven, and Tylee, 16
  • She was also convicted of conspiracy to murder husband Chad Daybell’s ex-wife
  • Here reveals six of the most shocking moments from Vallow’s blockbuster trial at Ada County Court in Boise, Idaho, which began on April 10

Lori Vallow has been found guilty of murdering her two children and plotting to kill her doomsday husband’s former wife after a blockbuster murder trial packed with twists and turns that have ranged from bizarre to downright horrific.

Prosecutors presented a litany of damning evidence against the cult mom, 49, and jurors heard testimony from more than 60 witnesses, including Vallow’s surviving son and some of her closest confidantes.

In spite of the charges against her – and harrowing evidence which included photos of her children’s mutilated remains – Vallow has appeared disinterested and even cheerful at times throughout the trial.

The case took nearly three years to get to trial and a jury of seven men and five women deliberated for nearly seven hours before finding her guilty on all counts on Friday, May 12.

Here reveals six of the most shocking moments during the five-week trial…

The 49-year-old was emotionless as the verdict was read aloud today in Boise, Idaho. Her defense team did not call a single witness nor did they put forward any kind of explanation for how the children died

Lori Vallow, 49, was accused of murdering her children, Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow

JJ, left, and Tylee’s badly decomposed remains were found in the backyard of Vallow’s husband, doomsday author Chad Daybell, who will stand trial at a later date

Disturbing photos of kids’ remains sends shivers through court

The trial’s most difficult moments have come as prosecutors presented horrific, previously-unseen pictures of JJ and Tylee’s badly decomposed remains.

JJ had been wrapped in a black plastic bag sealed with thick layers of duct tape. When the medical examiner in Ada County cut open the bags, the little boy’s face was also covered with tape and there was a ‘thick layer across his mouth, jawline to jawline’.

Tylee’s remains were found ‘stuffed’ into a green bucket which was also melted. A ‘partial human skull’ was also found in the grave. 

Several jurors were visibly shaken by the graphic pictures and relatives in court, including JJ’s grandfather, Larry Woodcock, broke down when the pictures were shown.

Tylee’s badly burned remains were found ‘stuffed’ into a green bucket which was also melted

JJ was suffocated with a plastic bag which was wrapped around his head and sealed with duct tape

Law enforcement witnesses gave harrowing testimony about how the children were killed and the grim discovery of their bodies.

Tylee had been partially eaten by an animal and her pelvis was hacked into with a sharp tool before her corpse was burned.

Angi Christensen, an FBI forensic anthropologist, said one of the 16-year-old’s bones had damage ‘consistent with carnivore scavenging’ while her pelvis suffered ‘sharp traumas.’

JJ was suffocated with a plastic bag which was wrapped around his head and sealed with duct tape.

Detective Ray Hermosillo, from Rexburg Police Department, said: ‘Through the videos and pictures that we had seen of JJ for the last eight months… the tips coming in, everything we had obtained and looked at, I was able to recognize that same little boy lying on the table to be JJ Vallow. He had the same haircut.’

Grim evidence takes emotional toll 

Hearing weeks of gut-wrenching evidence took its toll on relatives and former friends of Vallow and her victims.

JJ Vallow’s grandfather, Larry Woodcock, fell ill in court as the prosecution and defense both rested ahead of jury deliberations.

Woodcock, who has watched proceedings with wife Kay since the trial began, was overwhelmed by weeks of testimony about the grisly murders and warped views held by Vallow and Chad Daybell.

Kay told East Idaho News: ‘Thank you all for your concern. This trial has been overwhelming, to say the least. Today Larry was overcome with emotions causing him to feel sick. EMTs checked him and he was okay… We appreciate your support and prayers.’

Many witnesses have also been visibly moved as they delivered difficult testimony.

JJ’s grandparents, Larry and Kay Woodcock, led the national campaign to find Vallow’s missing children. They were in court throughout the trial and endured harrowing evidence about the murders

Larry and Kay played a leading role in the campaign to find JJ and Tylee before their bodies were found

The strange behavior of Lori Vallow

While jurors and the public have been shocked by the trial’s evidence, Lori Vallow’s reactions have ranged from laughter to indifference.

One of the cult mom’s only displays of emotions came when she asked to be excused from proceedings while grim photos of her children were shown to jurors.

Judge Steven Boyce rejected the request and Vallow sat with her head bowed while pictures of their remains were shown.

Lori Vallow, pictured at pre-trial hearings, looked relaxed throughout much of the trial and even shared jokes with her attorneys. One of the cult mom’s only displays of emotions came when she asked to be excused from proceedings while grim photos of her children were shown to jurors

But later in the trial, when further pictures were shown of Tylee’s remains, Vallow appeared totally unfazed. She even casually chatted with her attorneys and jotted notes as images of her daughter’s fractured, badly-burned pelvis were shown.

Vallow also grinned during the opening of the case, has regularly exchanged jokes with her lawyers and has otherwise sat emotionless and former friends a relatives have spoken at length about the bizarre beliefs which led her to kill.

Jurors were undoubtedly acutely aware that Vallow’s reactions were at odds with the gravity of the case and the charges against her.

Even as the guilty verdicts were read, she remained emotionless in the courtroom. 

Pre-trial drama: Death penalty ruled out and cameras banned

The controversy surrounding Vallow’s trial process began before prosecutors even opened their case against her.

In a series of rulings which angered relatives of the victims, Judge Steven Boyce banned cameras in the courtroom and also ruled out the death penalty, despite the severity of the crimes.

Boyce ruled in favor of a defense motion to dismiss the death penalty on March 22, shortly before jury selection started. Vallow’s defense team argued it should be off the table because of discovery violations by the government and media saturation, related to the extensive coverage of the case since 2019.

Her lawyers also said her mental status and the state’s inability to administer the sentence were factors.

Judge Steven Boyce, pictured in a Zoom hearing for Chad Daybell, made the controversial decisions to rule out the death penalty for Vallow and ban cameras for most of the trial

JJ’s grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, said the decision was a ‘slap in the face’.

Months earlier, Boyce also granted a defense motion to ban cameras from the courtroom – a highly unusual step which angered relatives.

Boyce ruled that the proceedings will only be streamed to a room inside the Boise courthouse and another at the Madison County Courthouse in Rexburg.

Tammy’s youngest sibling, Benjamin Douglas, and her elderly father, Ronald, who both live in Utah, filed requests with the court begging to be able to watch the trial of the woman who allegedly conspired to kill the mother of five.

But their application was denied shortly before the trial began.

In a concession following a series of media requests, the verdict was televised on Friday May 12.  

Toe-curling sexts make court VERY uncomfortable

Daybell, 54, sent the messages in the form of a romance novel about them but changed their names to ‘James’ and ‘Elena’, according to a police report. The cringe-inducing texts refer to a ‘spiritual connection before this life’ and the ‘great missions they would perform together’

Jurors shifted in their seats as investigators testified about toe-curling erotic texts between Vallow and Chad Daybell – sent weeks before the murder of her children.

The couple nicknamed themselves ‘James’ and ‘Elena’ as they spoke in cringeworthy metaphors about ‘gripping the storm’ and ‘intense waves’.

Details of the exchanges came after prosecutors said Vallow murdered Tylee, JJ and Tammy in a plot driven by ‘money, power and sex’.

On August 9, 2019, Vallow texted Daybell, whom she called ‘Bubby.’

‘That is pretty incredible. Fire emoji. Fire emoji. Fire emoji. Fire emoji. The fire is definitely burning. I miss you way too much. You have to stop or I might explode.’

Another text read: ‘The intensity of each encounter in my mind. One greater than the last. Fire emoji. Fire emoji. Especially this last one. I’ve never loved you more. It just keeps growing.’

Daybell responds: ‘I completely agree. We were definitely in new territory in your bedroom.’

‘Elena’s magic hand has gripped the storm,’ he continued. ‘Barely able to breathe as intense waves wash over them.’

Vallow offers NO defense witnesses – and declines to testify

After five weeks of damning evidence against her, Vallow’s defense team did not offer a single witness in response.

And the cult mom also declined to testify or offer any explanation that might absolve her.

Vallow even grinned from the defense table as her attorneys rested their case without calling a single witness.

‘We don’t believe the state has proved its case so the defense will rest,’ defense attorney Jim Archibald said after a private meeting with Vallow.

Vallow, pictured with her attorneys Jim Archibald (right) and John Thomas (left), declined to testify at trial and her attorneys offered no defense witnesses

The decision meant Vallow and her lawyers offered no argument against the prosecution’s claims that she committed murder while hunting ‘money, power and sex’ with her husband Chad Daybell.

Fremont country prosecutor Lindsey Blake said during the opening: ‘Lori Vallow Daybell used money, power and sex – or the promise of those things – to get what she wanted. What she wanted was money, power and sex,’ Blake said.

‘It didn’t matter what obstacles she had to remove to get what she wanted.’

The defense’s opening statement, from attorney Jim Archibald, said simply that the ‘evidence will show Lori was a kind and loving mother’ with an ‘interest in religion’.

‘If after all the evidence or lack of evidence, you have a reasonable doubt, you must find her not guilty,’ Archibald said at the trial’s opening.

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