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Utah Jury Considers Death Penalty for Convicted Murderer Chad Daybell

A day after finding Chad Daybell guilty in the murders of his first wife and two of his stepchildren, a Utah jury on Friday returned to deliberations to decide whether to sentence him to death.

The jurors heard emotional statements from family members of all three victims and closing arguments from the prosecution and defense before Judge Steven Boyce gave them jury instructions and sent them out of the courtroom.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on Thursday for the murders of Tammy Daybell, Tylee Ryan, and JJ Vallow, as CrimeOnline reported. JJ, 7, and Tylee, 16, were found buried on Daybell’s property nine months after their disappearances; Ryan’s remains were dismembered and charred, while J.J. was in a plastic bag.

Tammy Daybell died just weeks before her husband married Lori Vallow Daybell, and her death was initially ruled natural. But her body was exhumed after police began hunting for the two missing children, while Chad and Lori Vallow Daybell fled to Hawaii. Vallow Daybell was found guilty of the murders last year and sentenced to life in prison. She has since been extradited to Arizona to stand trial for conspiracy in the death of her fourth husband, Charles Vallow and the attempted murder of her niece’s ex-husband, Brandon Boudreaux.

Boyce took the death penalty off the table for Vallow Daybell after several delays in her trial. Her husband, however, waived his right to a speedy trial, and Boyce left execution as an option.

Tylee Ryan and JJ Vallow/Facebook

Tammy Daybell’s sister, Samantha Gwilliam, told the court on Friday that she was speaking for her sister “because she cannot speak for herself,” according to KSL. She described the family being told about the missing children and the decision to exhume her sister’s body.

“I am asked about a pet cemetery and a few days later I watch with the world as the bodies of two precious missing children are found on the same property where my sister died,” Gwilliam said. “I retched and sobbed for JJ and Tylee. Two more victims and no peace to be found for anyone.”

Other siblings spoke, as did Tammy Daybell’s father Ron Douglas, who noted that his own wife died about a year ago.

“I find it comforting to know that Tammy is resting peacefully in Utah buried alone and with her beloved mother,” he said.

Kay Woodcock, JJ’s grandmother, told the court she remembered the pride she felt talking about “what an amazing grandson we have” while the boy was live, noting how she is now “grief-stricken at speaking about how devastated I am about his loss.”

Chad Daybell red shirt, Tammy Daybell grey shirt
Chad and Tammy Daybell/Facebook

Speaking for Tylee Ryan, Annie Cushing said her niece “was intelligent, clever, funny, sarcastic, and had the voice of an angel.”

“Tylee had her whole life ahead of her. She had dignity, she had dreams, she had goals. The defendant stole all of that,” she said.

Colby Ryan, Lori Vallow Daybell’s only remaining child, mourned the loss of “my entire family.”

“It’s not an overstatement to say that I lost everything,” he said. “But more importantly, we all lost Tylee and JJ. “ stand here today motherless, fatherless, sisterless, and brotherless.”

The jury left to begin deliberations at about 2 p.m. after hearing for a final time from the attorneys in the case.

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