Chad Daybell says he shouldn’t receive death penalty because he is ‘less culpable’ than Lori Vallow Daybell

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ST. ANTHONY — Chad Daybell’s attorney is asking a judge to take the death penalty off the table in his client’s case because he says Daybell is less culpable than his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, who did not face the death penalty.

Lori and Chad were indicted by a grand jury in May 2021 on multiple counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan — two of Lori’s kids — and Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Chad is also charged with two counts of insurance fraud in relation to Tammy Daybell’s life insurance policies.

Lori was found guilty in May and sentenced to life in prison without parole. Until a few weeks before the trial, she faced the death penalty but District Judge Steven Boyce removed it as a possible sentence for multiple reasons. Lori refused to waive her right to a speedy trial and due to a “voluminous” amount of discovery and evidence turned over by prosecutors a month before proceedings were scheduled to begin, her attorneys argued they could not adequately prepare for a death penalty trial.

Chad waived his right to a speedy trial and in an 11-page motion to strike the death penalty filed Thursday, defense attorney John Prior wrote Lori “set the conspiracy in motion, manipulated both Alex Cox and Chad Daybell, and remained in charge of her plan throughout.”

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