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Chad Daybell convicted by Idaho jury for the murder of his wife and two children of his girlfriend

Chad Daybell sits at the table (Via Danny Marsh/Shutterstock)

An Idaho man was found guilty on Thursday of murdering his wife and two children of his new girlfriend in a complex case involving apocalyptic predictions, claims of zombie children, and extramarital affairs.

Chad Daybell, 55, showed little emotion as jurors reached their verdict after just six hours of deliberation. The trial, spanning multiple states and starting in 2019, will now move to the penalty phase, where jurors will decide whether Daybell should receive the death penalty for the killings of Tammy Daybell, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow. The penalty phase of the nearly two-month trial resumes on Friday.

JJ’s grandfather, Larry Woodcock, expressed relief at the guilty verdict. “Every charge was ‘guilty,’ and for that, I’m satisfied,” he told The Associated Press. “While we remain saddened by the loss of four lives with no reason or purpose, my wife and I are satisfied with the verdict.”

Lori Vallow Daybell, the mother of the children, was previously sentenced to life in prison without parole on conspiracy and murder charges. She married Chad Daybell shortly after the death of Tammy Daybell, Chad’s previous wife.

Lori Vallow Daybell faces additional murder charges in Arizona related to the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow, who was JJ’s father.

Chad Daybell closes his eyes after listening to the jury’s verdict (Via Danny Marsh/Shutterstock)

A gag order issued by the judge prohibits attorneys from discussing the case with the media until after the trial concludes. The high-profile case prompted the judge to move the trial from the rural community where the crimes occurred to Boise, Idaho, to ensure a fair trial.

During the penalty phase, prosecutors will argue that the murders were particularly cruel or heinous, justifying the death penalty under Idaho law. Daybell’s defense will present mitigating factors in hopes of a lesser sentence.

The investigation began five years ago after concerns were raised by JJ’s grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, who were denied phone calls with the boy by Lori Vallow Daybell. Despite living in different states, JJ and his grandparents were close, regularly sharing video calls since he was three years old. JJ, who was bright and autistic, would often say, “Mawmaw, Pawpaw, I don’t know,” when he ran out of things to say.

“During the last couple of years of his life, he was developing his wit and personality. If there’s anything we miss, it’s his wit,” Larry Woodcock reflected. “Not a day goes by that my wife and I don’t turn to each other and say, ‘Mawmaw, I don’t know,’ or ‘Pawpaw, I don’t know.’”

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