A juror called to deliberate in Lori Vallow’s murder trial last month says the “cult mom” had “no idea” she was destroying “so much around her” in jailhouse calls with family that were played aloud in an Idaho courtroom.
Juror No. 17, identified only as Tiffany, told FOX 10 Phoenix Vallow’s jailhouse phone calls with her son, Colby Ryan, and her sister, Summer Shiflet, stood out to her as particularly damning.
“Probably the more emotional testimonies that stood out to me was her son Colby and her sister. Just listening to them talking to her in jail and how emotional they were, and I can feel the impact this has had on their [lives],” the juror told FOX 10.
“She’s destroyed so much around her and just destroyed her relationships with her family, and there’s no hint she realized that on the phone.”
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The Idaho jury found Vallow guilty of killing two of her children, J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan, around September 2019, and conspiring to kill her husband’s first wife, Tammy Daybell, in October 2019. The jury also convicted her of grand theft for collecting her children’s life insurance benefits after their deaths.
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In the recording played aloud in court April 26, a sobbing Shiflet questioned her sister’s denial of her alleged involvement in J.J. and Tylee’s murders during the phone call.
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“Lori, if you let this happen to them and put them in the ground like a piece of trash, I don’t know you,” Shiflet said in the call obtained by FOX 10 Salt Lake City. She made the call in the summer of 2020 after Idaho investigators found J.J. and Tylee’s remains on the property of Lori Vallow’s husband, Chad Daybell, that June. Shiflet added that she could have “taken” the children into her care instead.
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J.J. and Tylee went missing in September 2019, around the time investigators believe they were murdered on Daybell’s Idaho property.
In November 2019, Vallow married Daybell in Hawaii. Photos show the newlyweds, who were bound by their shared apocalyptic religious beliefs, smiling and wearing leis on a beach while Vallow’s children were still considered missing.
Tiffany said she looked “directly at” Lori in court when prosecutors displayed photos from their beach wedding.
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“I hope that she could look over at me and see my evil glare because … that truly showed what a monster this woman is,” the juror told FOX 10.
In June 2020, investigators found J.J. and Tylee’s bodies buried on Daybell’s Rexburg, Idaho, property. J.J. had been wrapped in plastic and died of asphyxiation by a plastic bag over his dead. Tylee’s manner of death remains unknown. Her body was dismembered and her remains burned before she was buried, prosecutors revealed during the trial.
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“I started crying when they brought in the tissues and the plastic bags that they were going to show the pictures,” Tiffany told FOX 10.
The juror also noted how Vallow’s defense team attempted to push blame on Daybell in its closing statements, saying Vallow “spent her whole life protecting her children.”
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“Lori wants to tell you how much she loves Jesus. … But is she a leader or follower? She’s not leading anyone. She’s a follower of Chad,” defense attorney Jim Archibald said in his closing statements. “She thinks Chad is a follower of Jesus. But he’s not. He’s a follower of the storm.”
Tiffany told FOX 10 she thought to herself, “Jeez … that should have been maybe your defense all along.”
Vallow and Daybell met in 2018 at the Preparing a People conference, where they bonded over their apocalyptic religious beliefs and shared the idea that they had been married in a past life, FOX 10 Phoenix reporter Justin Lum tweeted from inside the courtroom last month.
They referred to each other as Biblical figures named James and Elena and discussed their beliefs that people can have light or dark spirits — some so dark that they could be considered zombies, prosecutors said, according to Lum.