Jurors weigh death penalty after finding Chad Daybell guilty of three murders

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BOISE, Idaho — Following a guilty verdict in Chad Daybell’s murder trial, an Idaho jury commenced deliberations on whether he will receive the death penalty for the killings of his first wife and two of his second wife’s children.

Daybell was found guilty of first-degree murder and conspiracy charges in the deaths of his first wife, Tammy Daybell, and two of his second wife’s children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow. Prosecutors argued that the crimes were driven by power, sex, money, and apocalyptic spiritual beliefs. The sentencing phase of the trial began immediately after the guilty verdict, with Judge Steven Boyce providing initial instructions to the jurors. Deliberations on Daybell’s punishment began on Friday afternoon after hearing victim impact statements and contrasting character descriptions from the attorneys.

During his opening statement to the jury, prosecutor Rob Wood urged them to consider aggravating factors that could warrant the death penalty for Daybell. Wood highlighted that the murders were committed for financial gain, citing Daybell’s conviction for insurance fraud related to life insurance policies that benefitted him after his first wife’s death.

Furthermore, both Daybell and his second wife were convicted of grand theft for continuing to receive Social Security benefits for her children after their deaths.

Wood also emphasized that the murders were particularly brutal, showing exceptional depravity and cruelty. He stated, “This defendant showed a complete lack of regard for human life. His actions indicate a propensity for murder, posing a continued threat to society.”

Wood concluded by stating, “It is up to you to determine if these aggravating factors have been proven. If so, you must decide if, under the circumstances, the death penalty is warranted.”

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