Attorneys for Lori Vallow Daybell, the “doomsday” mom accused of killing her two children after adopting beliefs about the existence of “zombies,” have asked an Idaho judge to dismiss the death penalty ahead of her trial next month, court records show.
“The government wanting to kill a mentally ill person is a troubling thought,” wrote attorneys representing the accused killer in one of their four arguments against their client facing the death penalty.
Vallow Daybell faces multiple felony counts of murder and conspiracy, among other charges related to the September 2019 deaths of her daughter, Tylee Ryan, 17, and 7-year-old Joshua Jaxon “JJ” Vallow.
She is also charged in connection with the death of Tammy Daybell, the late wife of her love interest, Chad Daybell.
Vallow Daybell has also been accused of conspiracy in the Arizona death of her estranged husband.
She and Daybell have pleaded not guilty to their respective charges and will be tried separately.
The couple tied the knot shortly before Tammy Daybell’s death. According to officials, the couple had espoused doomsday-themed beliefs involving the existence of “zombies” and contact with other realms — and further used their religious ideologies to justify their alleged crimes.
Vallow Daybell was arrested in May 2021 and later spent nine months in a mental health hospital before she was deemed fit for trial in April 2022.
But despite Vallow Daybell’s “known” mental illness, lawyers wrote, prosecutors have argued that “maybe the defendant wasn’t mentally ill, but just evil.”
“Even if the government’s new opinion of the defendant has some believers that the defendant is just evil, we don’t kill witches anymore in America,” the lawyers argued.
The motion to dismiss the death penalty was filed late Sunday with the Seventh Judicial Court in Fremont County, where the trial will soon play out before Judge Steven Boyce.
A motion hearing has been scheduled for the morning of March 15.
The defense also argued that the death penalty should be dismissed because the government made “multiple discovery violations,” and has not yet shared all of its discovery materials.
The case is still heavily covered in the media, which can expose future jurors to potential bias against their client, they further wrote.
Attorneys argued that Vallow Daybell should not face the death penalty because the state “doesn’t have chemicals to kill people on death row.”
They added: “[E]ven if the government is successful in convincing a jury to kill her, it will never happen.”
Prosecutors have not responded to the motion.