Lori Vallow Daybell Rejects Mental Illness Diagnosis, Expects to Be Acquitted of Children's Murder: Court Docs

Lori Vallow Daybell has been committed by a judge to a psychiatric facility for treatment.

Lawyers for the "cult mom" filed an objection this week to prosecutors' request to have an expert testify about Vallow Daybell's mental state during her trial.

Lori Vallow Daybell will not reference any mental illness diagnosis at trial says her lawyer, and fully expects to be acquitted of murder.

Lawyers for the "cult mom" filed an objection this week to prosecutors' request to have an expert testify about Vallow Daybell's mental state during her trial.

The trial of Vallow Daybell is expected to get underway in April. She and her fifth husband Chad Daybell are charged with the murder of Vallow Daybell's children, Tylee and J.J., who were discovered on Daybell's property months after they were first reported missing.

The couple denies having anything to do with the deaths of the two children and has pled not guilty to all charges.

The defense argues in this new filing that prosecutors should not be able to call an expert to testify about their client's mental state because they will not be referencing Vallow Daybell's mental health during the guilt phase of the trial.

At the same time, the defense filing also says that prosecutors cannot argue in court that Vallow is not mentally ill because there is not a single expert who reached that conclusion. 

"The Court and the State has received all of the written reports regarding Defendant’s mental illness which are possessed by the defense. All of the reports would include the reports from Dr. Landers, the four doctors employed by or who contracted with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare at State Hospital North, and the defense expert, Dr. Cunningham," reads the defense's objection to the state's motion. "All of these mental health experts agree that Defendant suffers from a mental illness in varying degrees."

Despite that consensus, Vallow Daybell cannot plead not guilty by reason of mental illness because of the location of the trials.

The Idaho legislature approved statute 18-207 in 1982, which states that "mental condition shall not be a defense to any charge of criminal conduct."

That same statute also states that it does not "prevent the admission of expert evidence on the issue of any state of mind which is an element of the offense, subject to the rules of evidence."

That allows for defendants to challenge the mens rea element of an offense, but this would still require a guilty plea first from the defendant.

A defendant can also present evidence of mental illness at the sentencing  hraring to the judge.

Vallow Daybell does not think her mental illness will factor into the trial at all however, because she is certain a jury will find her not guilty.

"Defendant believes that she will be acquitted of all charges and that the penalty phase will not be necessary," say her lawyers in their filing.

The defense team does say that they will present evidence of mental illness at that penalty phase should Vallow Daybell be found guilty by a jury.

Vallow Daybell's lawyers say that "would then be an appropriate time to present the mental illness evidence to the jury in consideration of the potential penalty."

Vallow Daybell and Daybell's alleged beliefs were detailed in a 2021 probable cause affidavit filed by the Chandler Police Department in Arizona detailing Vallow Daybell's alleged involvement in her former husband Charles' death.

"It was discovered that Lori Vallow believed she was an exalted Goddess and she and Chad were directed to lead 144,000 people in preparing for the end of the world," reads the affidavit.

It goes on to say: "It was discovered that Lori and Chad believed that they had extraordinary abilities. Some of these abilities included the power to teleport and cause harm to others, the ability to call up natural disasters, the ability to pray away demonic spirits attached to others and also visionary capabilities. Because of these abilities provided to them, they felt that they were qualified to tell whether someone had a 'light' or 'dark' scale associated with them. This scale would indicate whether or not they had demonic spirits attached to them."

Among those Vallow Daybell is alleged to have said had a "dark" scale were her ex-husband Charles, JJ, and Tylee, according to the affidavit.

Vallow Daybell submitted an alibi for her children's murders ahead of her trial, which says: "Lori Vallow was in her own apartment in Rexburg, Idaho, when J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan died in the apartment of Alex Cox in Rexburg, Idaho. Defendant was with Melanie Gibb, David Warwick, and/or Chad Daybell."

She could be facing the death penalty if convicted of murder.


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