Prosecutors in Idaho announced Thursday they filed a notice of intention to seek the death penalty against Chad Daybell.
Chad Daybell and his wife Lori Vallow Daybell were charged with multiple felonies in May. The couple faces murder and conspiracy charges connected to the deaths of Vallow Daybell's children, Tylee, JJ and Chad's first wife Tammy Daybell.
A spokesperson for the prosecutors handling the case in Idaho released the following statement, in part:
"Our process in making this determination was lengthy and comprehensive. We conferred with those immediate family members of JJ Vallow, Tylee Ryan and Tammy Daybell, who have indicated a willingness to speak with us and allowed them an opportunity to provide their input if they wished to do so. The ultimate decision to seek capital punishment rests with the State, and after completing the entire process, we determined that the nature and magnitude of those crimes warrant the possibility of the highest possible punishment."
Former Idaho Attorney General David Leroy says prosecutors in Idaho seek the death penalty in about 10 to 25% of homicide cases. He said it's also likely this will prompt serious discussions about potential plea deals.
"If a conviction is had, a jury convenes for a second time to hear special evidence about whether the death penalty is appropriate," Leroy explains. "These are serious cases."
Investigators found Tylee and JJ's bodies buried in Chad Daybell's backyard in June 2020. Daybell was arrested after the discovery and both he and Vallow Daybell were originally charged with conspiracy to destroy or conceal evidence. The new charges were filed last month.
Vallow Daybell used to live in Arizona with her children before she moved them to Idaho in September 2019. Tylee and JJ disappeared before the end of that month.
Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell married in November 2019, about two weeks after Daybell's first wife Tammy was killed.
Tammy Daybell's death was originally ruled as "natural," but her body was later exhumed.
Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow Daybell are both facing conspiracy charges in Tammy's death. Chad is also charged with first-degree murder in her death.
In Arizona, Vallow Daybell is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of her husband Charles Vallow, according to Chandler police.
After the newest murder charges were filed, Vallow Daybell's attorney filed paperwork with the Idaho courts that said she was found "not competent" to proceed with her case.
Her case is currently on a 90-day pause as doctors try to get her competent enough to stand trial. If they are not successful, her time admitted could be expanded a further 180 days.
Prosecutors say the death penalty only applies to Chad Daybell, not Lori. On Friday, Idaho court records showed Lori obtained an additional attorney, James Archibald, who is qualified for death penalty cases.
Chad Daybell's trial is scheduled to start November 2021.