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‘Doomsday’ cult mom Lori Vallow’s case to go directly to higher court for trial

“Doomsday” cult mom Lori Vallow appeared in an Idaho court Thursday morning to waive a hearing in connection with the disappearance and death of her two children.

“Do you understand what a waiver of a preliminary hearing is and what this document represents?” asked Fremont County Judge Faren Eddins of the waiver Vallow had signed to bypass the proceeding that had been scheduled for Monday.

“Yes,” Vallow replied in a meek voice, wearing a blue surgical mask and her waist-long blond hair down. The mom, who is being held on $1 million bond, appeared via Zoom from another courthouse.

Idaho criminal defense lawyer Stephen Meikle, who isn’t involved in the case, said defendants usually waive their preliminary hearings.

“They’re not that fruitful unless the charges are fatally flawed,” he said. At the hearing, a judge either dismisses the case for lack of evidence or transfers it to a higher court for trial.

Unless there’s a substantial shot at dismissal, the defense typically doesn’t want to reveal its strategy to the prosecution, said Meikle, adding that he was surprised that her husband, Chad Daybell, chose to have a hearing.

The case against Vallow will now be transferred directly to district court for trial. She faces two felony counts of conspiracy to tamper with evidence related to the deaths of her kids, Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tyree Ryan, 17.

Joshua Vallow and Tylee Ryan
Joshua Vallow and Tylee RyanAP

The move comes just days after Daybell’s dramatic preliminary hearing on felony conspiracy and destruction of evidence charges in connection to his stepchildren’s tragic demise.

During the two-day proceeding that ended Tuesday, FBI agents and police officers described the gruesome excavation of JJ’s corpse and his sister Ryan’s charred and dismembered remains on Daybell’s rural property in Rexburg, Idaho on June 9.

The children had been buried in a pet cemetery near the corpses of a cat and a dog.

Judge Eddins ruled there was enough evidence against Daybell for the case to proceed to district court, where he’s scheduled to be arraigned Aug. 21.

The couple, who are adherents of a cult preparing for the supposed Second Coming of Christ, allegedly believed that the two children were possessed by evil spirits.

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