Sins Of Our Mother Subject Lori Vallow Was Convicted For Her Children’s Murders

The “doomsday mom” is no longer facing the death penalty.

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Lori Vallow and son Colby Ryan in 'Sins of Our Mother' via Netflix's press site
Courtesy of Netflix

Netflix’s Sins of Our Mother describes Lori Vallow Daybell as someone who friends and family knew as a devoted mother of three, a loving wife, and a woman of God — before something went wrong. When the true-crime docuseries dropped in September 2022, Vallow was in jail awaiting trial for conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of her fourth husband, her fifth husband’s wife, and her two youngest children. Less than a year later, a jury found Vallow guilty on two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of conspiracy, on May 12.

The three-episode Netflix series centered on a single burning question: “How did a seemingly normal woman become the most notorious mother in America?” The Sins of Our Mother trailer teased an unseen woman explaining that Vallow and her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, had what looked like an “ideal marriage” before her religious beliefs as a follower of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) became increasingly extreme. After she met LDS doomsday author Chad Daybell in 2018, friends say the mom of Colby Ryan, Tylee Ryan, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow drastically changed.

Daybell reportedly believes that only the righteous can survive an apocalypse that is coming and that he was someone who could distinguish between the good and evil spirits. According to the three-part Netflix doc, Daybell’s teachings dictated that the only way to free the spirit of someone who is “very dark” is to kill their body.

Charles ultimately filed for divorce in Arizona in February 2019, claiming that Vallow threatened to murder him if he disrupted her “preparations for Christ’s second coming.” Sins of Our Mother also claims that Charles had written that Vallow referred to her daughter Tylee as a “dark spirit.” Fearing for his life, he filed an order of protection against his estranged wife, who allegedly took money from their joint bank account and sold his truck.

In July 2019, Vallow’s brother, Alex Cox, shot and killed Charles, claiming self-defense. Months later in December, Cox died of natural causes, and he had never been charged in connection with Charles’ killing. However, authorities later ruled Charles’ death a homicide in September 2021, and Vallow was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

Meanwhile, Daybell’s wife, Tammy Daybell, also died in October 2019 from what authorities deemed “natural causes” at the time. Weeks later, Vallow married Daybell, which raised suspicions among police, who exhumed Tammy’s body and performed an autopsy.

Courtesy of Netflix

Meanwhile, 17-year-old Tylee and 7-year-old JJ disappeared in September 2019. When family members reported the children missing, Vallow and Daybell lied to the police about their whereabouts. Idaho police began investigating the Daybells in November 2019, when the couple left the state. Authorities caught up with the couple in Kauai, Hawaii, in February 2020 and arrested Vallow on felony charges of desertion and nonsupport of her dependent children. In the interim, family members, including son Colby, begged Vallow to tell them where Tylee and JJ really were.

In June 2020, investigators found the children’s bodies on Daybell’s property in rural Idaho. As Sins of Our Mother noted, Tylee, JJ, and Tammy’s causes of death have not been released to the public. Vallow and Daybell were charged with first-degree murder in connection with the three deaths in May 2021. The couple pleaded not guilty and initially faced the death penalty if convicted, according to NBC News. Despite an earlier ruling to the contrary, a judge deemed Vallow mentally competent to stand trial in April 2022. She and Daybell were scheduled to have a joint trial in January 2023 in Ada County, Idaho, but the date was subsequently pushed back several months. Meanwhile, proceedings for Vallow’s conspiracy to commit murder charges in Arizona in connection with Charles’ homicide are reportedly on hold, pending the results of the Idaho case.

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In late March 2023, Seventh District Judge Steven Boyce agreed with Vallow’s attorneys that she should not face the death penalty. Prosecutors said in court documents that evidence would show that Vallow “intended for her children and her boyfriend’s wife to die, and that she affirmatively acted to make those deaths happen.” Her legal team argued that they wouldn’t have time to review a large amount of evidence that the prosecution turned over in the weeks prior to the trial which couldn’t be rescheduled without violating the defendant’s right to a speedy trial.

The trial began in April 2023, and a jury found Vallow guilty on two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of conspiracy, more than a month later, on May 12. According to CNN, she showed no visible reaction as the verdict was read. Judge Steven Boyce said that the sentencing hearing will likely be held sometime around August 2023, and Vallow now faces life in prison. Daybell will be tried separately and still faces the death penalty.

After the verdict was read in court, JJ’s biological grandfather, Larry Woodcock, expressed gratitude for the jurors’ service. “What they went through, what they saw, is mind-boggling,” he said outside the courtroom, per CNN affiliate KBOI-TV. “I hope nobody ever has to see and hear the details of what happened to JJ, to Tylee and to Tammy.”

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