Chad Daybell trial: Alleged ‘doomsday’ cult murders fuled by sex, money and power, prosecutors say

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BOSIE, Idaho — Opening statements were delivered Wednesday in Chad Daybell’s “doomsday” triple murder trial in the deaths of his first wife and two stepchildren – a case Idaho prosecutors said was fueled by power, sex, money and apocalyptic spiritual beliefs.

Daybell has pleaded not guilty to murder and conspiracy charges stemming from the sensational homicide case featured in a Netflix true-crime documentary in 2022. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

On Wednesday, a prosecutor and a defense attorney painted contrasting portraits of the defendant.

The state described him as a power-hungry and grandiose man who would stop at nothing for “what he considered his rightful destiny.” His defense lawyer portrayed Daybell as a religious man driven into an unfortunate relationship by a “beautiful, vivacious woman” who knew “how to get what she wants.”

A grand jury in Idaho indicted Daybell and that woman, his second wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, on murder charges in the deaths of Vallow’s two children – 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow.

Daybell also is charged with the murder of his first wife, Tammy Daybell, who was initially believed to have died in her sleep. He remarried less than three weeks after her death in 2019.

Vallow Daybell was convicted by a jury in May 2023 of the murder of her children and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. She also was convicted of conspiring to kill Tammy Daybell.

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