The trial for Lori Vallow Daybell, the Idaho woman accused of killing her two youngest children and her fifth’s husband ex-wife, has been postponed for the second time, pending the results of a competency evaluation.
Seventh District Judge Steven Boyce’s ruling Thursday followed a request days ago by Vallow Daybell’s attorneys to pause the proceedings and about five months after Idaho prosecutors announced they would seek the death penalty in a bizarre case that has drawn worldwide attention.
The trial, scheduled for January, was suspended to determine Vallow Daybell’s “competency to stand trial,” Boyce wrote in his court order. The documents detailing the defense request were sealed and a short hearing on the matter was closed to the public.
Vallow Daybell and her husband, Chad Daybell, have pleaded not guilty to a slew of charges including murder, conspiracy and grand theft in the deaths of Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 16, and Daybell’s previous wife, Tammy Daybell, who unexpectedly died two weeks before he married Vallow Daybell.
NEWS AT NIGHT: Sign up for USA TODAY’s free Evening Briefing newsletter
The children’s bodies were later found buried on Daybell’s property in rural eastern Idaho.
The couple promoted strange religious beliefs, prosecutors say, and friends told law enforcement investigators that Vallow Daybell and her new husband believed people could be taken over by dark spirits. At one point, Vallow Daybell referred to her children as “zombies,” a term they allegedly used to describe people who were possessed.
Vallow Daybell’s ex-husband, Charles Vallow, claimed in divorce documents that she believed she was a god-like figure responsible for ushering in the apocalyptical end times. He was later killed by Vallow Daybell’s brother, Alex Cox, in Arizona, and she also faces conspiracy to commit murder charges in that state.
The Idaho case against Vallow Daybell was first put on hold in 2021 after she was declared incompetent to stand trial and committed to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for treatment. Ten months later, she was ruled competent.
Contributing: The Associated Press