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"Doomsday Cult" Mom Lori Vallow Daybell Appeals Life Sentence in Kids’ Double Murders

According to a newly filed notice of appeal, Lori Vallow Daybell is challenging the judge's assertion that deemed her competent to stand trial in the murders of her 7-year-old son Joshua “J.J.” Vallow and 16-year-old daughter, Tylee Ryan.

By Dorian Geiger
Killer Motive: What Drives People To Kill?

Lori Vallow Daybell is appealing her conviction in the murders of her two children following the life prison sentence she was given earlier this summer, according to newly filed court documents.

Lawyers for Vallow Daybell filed a notice of appeal on August 31 in the murders of her 7-year-old son Joshua “J.J.” Vallow and 16-year-old daughter, Tylee Ryan, according to court records obtained by Oxygen.com.

The imprisoned Idaho mom was handed a life sentence in July without the possibility of parole in the double murder case. Vallow Daybell, 50, is also appealing charges of conspiring to murder her fifth husband’s ex-wife, Tammy Daybell in 2019.

RELATED: "Doomsday Cult" Mom Lori Vallow Daybell Sentenced to Life in Prison Without Parole for Killing Her Kids

In her appeal, Vallow Daybell’s legal team has accused the courts and the prosecution of erring on a number of issues regarding her infamous murder trial. Notably, Vallow Daybell is challenging the judge's ruling that found her competent to stand trial, court documents show. She’d spent about 10 months being evaluated at a psychiatric facility before she was declared fit for trial, the Associated Press reported.

Vallow Daybell also claims her right to a speedy trial was violated. Her lawyers raised concerns related to admitted evidence, the jury selection process, and other procedural issues as well.

Lori Vallow Daybell in court.

Prosecutors argued Vallow Daybell conspired with her husband, Chad Daybell, to kill J.J. and Tylee, in part, over the couple’s extremist religious views, including their supposed belief the two children had been possessed by dark spirits and that they’d turned into zombies.

J.J. and Tylee's remains were found on Chad Daybell's property in 2020. J.J. was asphyxiated with a plastic bag and duct tape, which had been wrapped around his face and mouth. Tylee's body was burnt beyond recognition; her cause of death was never determined.

RELATED: Lori Vallow Indicted on Murder Conspiracy Charges in Arizona for Attempted Killing of Niece's Ex

At Vallow Daybell's sentencing in July, Judge Steven Boyce described J.J. and Tylee's killings as an "unimaginable type of murder."

"You had so many other options. ... You could have found someone to take care of those kids," Boyce said. "You killed those children ... to remove them as obstacles and to profit financially."

New police photo of Lori Vallow Daybell

Vallow Daybell also publicly addressed the court at her sentencing, making a number of bizarre statements and rambled extensively about the Bible. She denied killing her children.

"Jesus knows me and Jesus understands me," Vallow Daybell told the courtroom, according to ABC News. "I mourn with all of you who mourn my children and Tammy."

"Jesus Christ knows the truth of what happened here. ... No one was murdered in this case. Accidental deaths happen. Suicides happen. Fatal side effects from medications happen."

Vallow Daybell also claimed to be able to communicate with the dead, including J.J. and Tylee.

RELATED: J.J. Vallow’s Grandparents Applaud Idaho ‘Doomsday Cult’ Mom Lori Vallow Daybell's Murder Convictions

"I have had many communications with people now living in heaven," she said. "I know for a fact that my children are happy and busy in the spirit world. Because of my communication with my friend Tammy Daybell, I know she is also very happy and extremely busy."

Vallow Daybell is also facing murder charges in Arizona for the 2019 death of her ex-husband, Charles Vallow, who was fatally shot by her brother, Alex Cox, at Vallow Daybell’s home in Chandler. Cox told law enforcement he shot Charles Vallow self-defense. Cox, who died in 2019, was never charged with Charles Vallow’s death.

Meanwhile, Chad Daybell is awaiting trial on murder charges pertaining to J.J. and Tylee’s murders. He has pleaded not guilty.

Oxygen.com has reached out to Vallow Daybell’s attorney, Jim Archibald, for additional comment.