ST. ANTHONY, Idaho (ABC4) – Hundreds packed the courtroom at the Fremont County Courthouse today as victims and family members delivered statements regarding the impact of the murder of the children of Lori Vallow Daybell and the former wife of her husband Chad Daybell.
Judge Steven Boyce handed down three consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole, two additional life sentences to be served concurrently, and ten additional years on the multiple charges Lori had been convicted of earlier this year.
The court heard from five family members: Samantha Gwilliam; Tammy Daybell’s sister, Ronald Douglas; Tammy’s father, Vicki Hoban; Tammy’s Aunt, Kaye Woodcock; JJ’s grandmother, and Colby Ryan; Tylee and JJ’s older brother.
During victim impact statements, Lori sat leaning back in her chair looking down or toward the wall closest to her. Lori only showed emotions openly during an impact statement by Kay Woodcock, JJ’s grandmother, when she began speaking of the circumstances surrounding the child’s birth.
The court first heard from Samantha Gwilliam, Tammy Daybell’s sister. She began by reading a statement by her father Ronald Douglas, before giving her own statement. Both remarked on the quick nature of Chad Daybell’s marriage to Lori after Tammy’s death and how unsettling it was.
Douglas wrote, “The eternal ramifications of her actions are yet to be calculated, Lori needs to pay for her actions according to the laws of mortals, she will still answer to the laws of God when she passes from this life.”
Gwilliam went on to say she had begun researching Lori shortly after her marriage to Chad and found nothing but lies. This included her alleged name, the number of husbands she had, and that she had children.
Gwilliam said that Tammy Daybell had been healthy up to two weeks before her death. She said she and her family were overwhelmed to find out what they “knew in the hearts all along” that Lori had “planned her murders just as you did your children […] Why plan something so heinous?”
She spoke directly to Lori and said the following regarding her and Chad: “You are not exalted beings and your behavior makes you ineligible to be one.”
Gwilliam said that Lori’s actions were partly due to the fact that Lori wanted money, and said Chad was unremarkable and didn’t have money. “You could have easily divorced your spouses and made your own perverted life together but you need money.”
“You are a liar, adulteress, and a murderer,” Gwilliam exclaimed.
She went on to discuss how their mother had passed away from cancer shortly after Lori Daybell’s guilty verdict. “Your trial was the last thing my ailing mother had to live through. She declined in health as she heard through news reports all the horrible things that happened, and she had to relive all the things we have tried to forget the last four years. My mother passed away in June knowing that you will never come out of prison again.”
Vicki Hoban, Tammy Daybell’s aunt, claimed Lori’s actions during court proceedings were shameful and did not feel that she took the proceedings seriously as she smirked and giggled throughout them.
Hoban described Tammy as loved by the community at large. She said she was a teacher and loved her job.
Hoban claimed on the night of Friday, October 18, 2019, she imagined Tammy was tired from a hard day at work and was most likely only worried about getting a good night’s sleep.
“Instead of getting a good night’s sleep, she was brutally executed in her own bed. She was taken from us by murdering thieves,” Hoban said.
Hoban continued, “Tammy was robbed of her entire life and all of her family robbed of ever seeing her again.” She went on to describe all of the things Tammy would miss, including the simple things of life, like smelling the rain or growing a garden.
She said Lori had a “shameful” relationship with Tammy’s husband Chad and had turned her home into a funeral home. “Tammy would have been horrified to know what you had done.”
Hoban then spoke directly to Lori: “You are now going to pay the price, albeit never sufficient in this life, it’s all we can do. I hope the life you live is filled with fear and that every day you are terrified; the way beautiful Tylee lived in fear for hers and sweet JJ as you continued terrifying her by saying they would be zombies.”
She then explained that her granddaughter had been a good friend of Tylee and how their group of friends were “stuck in their grief and sadness” over the death of their friend at the hands of her own mother. “It’s unconscionable to them, and the grief is still overwhelming.”
Kay Woodcock, JJ’s grandmother, spoke next. She began her statement with a string of numbers. She went on to explain how what she would call Lori’s “Campaign of Terror” had affected her and her family. She explained the numbers represented days involved in the court case, and the days in her life affected by Lori’s actions, including the day her brother, Charles Vallow, was murdered.
In addition, she described that zero represented how she and her family “firmly believe that she has zero mental illness that drove her to commit these heinous acts. Rather, she is driven by her greed and needs to be the center of attention.”
Kay Woodcock said that she knew her brother Charles’ death was the start of her intense fear for JJ’s safety. She said she also realized Lori did it so she could carry on her illicit affair with Chad Daybell.
“I now realize what a nothing Chad Daybell is. A man with no ability to support anyone, no success of his own, a user of the weak-minded, a lazy, good-for-nothing, spineless man that rode his wife’s coattails of success.”
Kay Woodcock said Lori did everything she did because of greed.
She then explained the details surrounding JJ’s birth. He was the biological son of Woodcock’s son Todd and was born prematurely. She expressed her tender feeling for the child along with the feelings her son felt.
She then talked about how she and her husband had taken on parenting JJ, and when he was nine months old, Lori and Charles had adopted him. She said Lori was a wonderful blessing to take care of JJ. She also said they knew he would have better opportunities with her and Charles.
But, though Lori always expressed her deep appreciation for allowing her to raise JJ, it was “mindboggling” how that same mother could murder that same child.
Kay Woodcock said she remembered JJ for the joy he exuded, and how all she had were memories to feel the love. She spoke of meeting Tylee and how she was an adorable child and how she and JJ had a bond that was incredible.
Then, she reminded the court of the last picture known of Tylee and JJ, where they are hugging and grinning, and how that encompassed their relationship. She claimed it was a haunting reminder as it was a “photo taken shortly before and by the defendant hours before she murdered her own child.”
She concluded her statement with, “And finally, the number one for the defendant. The person that will never matter again once we walk out the door.”
The final statement was a brief statement read by Prosecuting Attorney Wood from Tylee and JJ’s older brother Colby Ryan.
He expressed sadness over the finality of his brother and sister never being able to fulfill their lives. He also said he regrets that his own family would never know their aunt and uncle and even grandmother(referring to Lori).
“I’ve lost my entire family in life. I lost the opportunity to share life with the people I love the most. I’ve watched everything crumble and be shredded to pieces. I have lost my sister, brother, father, and my mother,” Colby wrote.