Judge’s rulings in Lori Vallow Daybell case disappoint grandparents of murdered child

Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 7:34 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - The upcoming trial of Lori Vallow Daybell in Boise, Idaho is something Kay and Larry Woodcock of Lake Charles have waited for.

The Woodcocks are the grandparents of Joshua “J.J.” Vallow, one of the two children Vallow Daybell is accused of murdering.

KPLC has followed this story since 2019, when J.J., 11, and his sister Tylee Ryan, 17, went missing. Lori Vallow Daybell was arrested in 2020, and the remains of her two children were later found on her husband’s property.

Vallow Daybell now faces charges in the triple murder of her children and her husband’s previous wife, Tammy.

She and her husband, Chad Daybell, are accused of murder and conspiracy to murder.

The Woodcocks are outraged by the judge’s 11th-hour dismissal of the death penalty for Vallow Daybell. It means it will no longer be under consideration when she goes on trial.

“It was absolutely the biggest insult in this case. It’s an insult to Kay and I, it’s an insult to our family, it’s an insult to Tammy’s family, to the people of the State of Idaho,” said Larry Woodcock.

“I think it was a poor ruling. Every lawyer, every district attorney that I have talked to around the country, that Kay and I have talked to have said they’ve never heard of a judge doing it,” he said.

They are disappointed Vallow Daybell and her husband will not be tried together.

Kay complains of too much secrecy.

“Everything is this sealed and that sealed. It’s just unheard of. It makes you feel like there’s something going on and they’re trying to cover stuff up,” said Kay.

“From what we have learned anything that’s sealed should be related to like HIPPA, medical, like Lori’s mental health issues. So, that’s a HIPAA thing, But they are sealing so many things and it’s highly, highly unusual for it to happen,” she said.

Regarding the dismissal of the death penalty, Kay said, “Here is another example of just something from left field happening. The secrecy, the dismissal of the death penalty, him not wanting cameras in the courtroom.”

Part of the reason Larry supported the death penalty is because he believes such a sentence would help to keep them incarcerated.

“We do not want her, we do not want them to ever walk out of a prison. I think the judge has made a horrific mistake,” he said.

“That sanction was the most severe. I mean it was so far beyond any expectation,” said Kay.

The Woodcocks will be in Idaho for the trial, but they say other family members cannot attend and should be able to listen live.

“Look, we’ve got families because of work, because of illnesses. They can’t go up there. Tammy Daybell’s parents are pretty much house ridden, they can’t go up there,” said Larry.

“Then he won’t even allow a live audio feed. Media got together and ordered a sketch artist to be in the courtroom every day. What are we, like 1975? It’s ludicrous, it just is,” said Kay.

The Daybells were members of the Church of Latter Day Saints. Witnesses have testified in prior hearings that the two had extremist religious views such as believing they were chosen ones selected to rid the world of zombies.

Jury selection for Vallow Daybell’s trial will begin April 3.

Chad Daybell’s trial will be after Lori’s. He still faces the possibility of the death penalty if he is convicted.