Laurie Vallo Debell is on trial in Boise, Idaho Allegations of his role in the death his 16-year-old daughter, Tylee Ryan; her 7-year-old adopted son, Joshua “JJ” Vallo; and her husband’s first wife, Tammy Debell. He pleaded not guilty.
The trial, which is expected to last up to 10 weeks, began on Monday, April 10, a week after jury selection in which dozens of potential jurors were dismissed, many because they were too familiar with the details of the case or had already formed an opinion. A jury of 10 men and eight women will hear the case.
The trial’s first week saw some emotional moments, with multiple witnesses breaking down in tears on the stand and JJ Vallo’s grandfather sobbing openly in the courtroom as he testified. Witnesses described finding JJ and Tylee’s bodies as well as Valo Debel’s religious beliefs.
The trial was delayed in part because Valo Debal was committed, but a judge ruled last year that he was mentally competent to stand trial.
Where can you watch a livestream?
Due to the ruling of Judge Steven Boyce, who is presiding over the trial, there is no live video or audio of the trial. To watch the trial, you’ll be there in person — and reserve a seat in the courtroom or one of the two overflow rooms a day ahead of time. For the first day of the trial, the 60 available seats were reportedly reserved within two minutes.
You can listen to the daily testimony, which the court releases at the end of each day, on CBS News’ YouTube channel.
Who is involved?
Lori Vallo Debell, 49, had a daughter, Tylee Ryan, from a previous relationship when she married her fourth husband, Charles Vallo, in 2006. In 2012, the two adopted then 2-year-old Joshua, whose biological father was Valo’s nephew. — Son of his sister, Kay Woodcock. Joshua, known as JJ, had autism, and by all accounts he and his sister Tylee were close.
Laurie Vallo and Chad Debell, now 54, met in 2018 The Vallows separated the following year with Charles Vallow filing for divorce In the divorce file, he said, his wife threatened to kill him.
“He threatened me, killed me, killed me,” she told police in a conversation captured on video, “48 Hours” reported.
Charles Vallo was killed in 2019, shot in an altercation with Vallo DeBelle’s brother Alex Cox in Arizona, where the Vallo family — including JJ and Tylee — and Cox were living at the time. Soon after, Valo Debell and her children moved to Idaho.
Later that year, Tammy Debell, wife of Chad Debell and mother of his five children, died at Debell’s home in Idaho of what officials initially called natural causes but later said was suspicious.
Chad Debell and Laurie Vallo married two weeks later, on November 5, 2019, in Hawaii.
What happened to Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallo?
Tylee Ryan was last seen in September 2019, when the family went on a trip to Yellowstone National Park. JJ Valo’s biological grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, said they last spoke to the 7-year-old boy in August.
Kay Woodcock asked police in Rexburg, Idaho, to check on JJ in November — but Vallo Debell told police she was in Arizona with a family friend. Friend Melanie Gibb told police she hadn’t seen JJ in months.
By December, police and the FBI were looking for 16-year-old Tylee and 7-year-old JJ. The search continued after police arrested Valo Debel in Hawaii on two felony counts related to missing children and three other misdemeanors. He was extradited to Idaho.
The search continued into 2020, when police executed a search warrant at Debell’s property in Rexburg, Idaho. there, They found human remainsLater identified as JJ and Tylee — her, in duct-tape and red pajamas, and her, badly burned.
What are Lori Valo Debell and Chad Debell charged with?
Lori Valo Debell and Chad Debell are both charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the children’s deaths. Valo Debell is also charged with grand theft, a felony, for allegedly collecting Social Security benefits on behalf of her children, including what Tylee received due to her father’s death.
Although Debell could have faced the death penalty, the judge ruled that Valo would not face the death penalty if convicted in the deaths of the Debell children.
Valo Debell is also charged with conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Tammy Debell.
Both pleaded not guilty to all charges.
A Separate cases In Arizona, her late husband, Charles Vallo, is charged with conspiracy to murder.
What is the prosecution and defense saying?
The prosecution is arguing that Valo DeBelle wanted, as Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Lindsey Blake said in her opening statement, “money, power and sex” and let nothing get in her way. Blake also argued that Valo Debelle and her husband used their religious beliefs to persuade those around them not to question their actions and even to justify the murder.
Valo Debel’s defense is arguing that jurors must focus on what evidence Valo Debel shows, not what her husband or brother did. Defense attorney John Archibald told jurors that people can choose their religious beliefs, and Valo Debell was with other people in her apartment when JJ and Tylee were killed and in Hawaii when Tammy Debell died.
Why is Chad Debell not on trial?
Valo asked the court to separate the cases, originally scheduled for trial in January, for both DeBelle and DeBelle’s lawyers. Debell waived his right to a speedy trial, and a judge granted the request, so that will happen at a later date. Although not yet scheduled, his lawyers initially asked for it to be pushed back to fall 2023.
Why is Laurie Vallo Debell called the “Mother of the Apocalypse” and how does religion play a role in this?
Lori Valo Debell and Chad Debell were both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church. Debell owned a religious publishing company, and his own writings focused on fringe beliefs, including what he described as his own near-death experiences and end times.
Valo Debal, friends said, was growing Doomsday is sure to come. As part of that belief, he said people’s bodies — including JJ, Tylee and Charles Vallo — were possessed by evil spirits, turning them “into zombies,” former friend April Raymond told “48 Hours.”
“Part of his mission on earth was to remove the dark, the satanic – the evil,” Raymond said.
Debell had a religious-focused podcast, on which Valo Debell appeared. The two also rallied people who shared their increasingly fervent beliefs: “48 Hours” reported Valo Debel believed he was chosen to lead the 144,000 survivors of the end times. Her late husband told police he believed she was “a resurrected being — a god,” “48 Hours” reported.