Lori Vallow trial juror explains trepidation, deliberations

  • Lori Vallow was convicted of killing her two children
  • One juror says he was the lone holdout early in deliberations
  • Vallow's husband is also charged in the killings

(NewsNation) — A juror in the murder trial of Lori Vallow says there was a “mountain of evidence” to sift through, and that left him as the only holdout early in deliberations.

Vallow was convicted last week on charges of murdering her two children and conspiring to murder her husband Chad Daybell’s first wife, Tammy.

But when the jury started deliberations, Saul Hernandez wasn’t convinced of her guilt on one of the murder charges.

“There was a mountain of evidence, literally a mountain of evidence, that we had to go through,” Hernandez explained Thursday on “CUOMO.” “For me, given the magnitude of the charge and the case, I wanted to make sure that I was comfortable of rendering a guilty verdict.”

He became comfortable on the second day of deliberations after reviewing that mountain of evidence and discussing with his fellow jurors. Hernandez broke his silence about the horrifying evidence the jury had to consider, and he told East Idaho News, “If there is a face to evil, it was hers.”

Vallow’s son, JJ, and daughter, Tylee, went missing in September 2019, and their bodies were later found on the Idaho property of Chad Daybell. Meanwhile, Tammy Daybell died in October 2019 of what authorities initially said were “natural causes.” However, investigators got suspicious when Vallow and Chad Daybell got married just weeks after Tammy Daybell’s sudden death. A second autopsy ended up finding Tammy Daybell died of asphyxiation.

Chad Daybell has also been charged in the children’s deaths and is scheduled to stand trial at a later date.

During the trial, witnesses told of the couple’s cultlike doomsday beliefs. They said Vallow spoke of people as being “zombies” and having “light” or “dark” spirits.

Chad Daybell was a follower of “Preparing a People” and took their teachings to an extreme. Speaking about “zombies” and demons possessing people, Chad Daybell would tell his followers the world was going to end.

Hernandez said that while it may have been Daybell swaying his wife in the beginning, the evidence convinced him she eventually began to act on her own volition.

“I think over time, it became clear that she took the driver’s seat,” Hernandez said.

Vallow did not take the stand at trial, but Hernandez said he would have liked to hear a defense.

“I had a lot of questions that we could never really ask anyone. We just have to go by the evidence provided, and I feel like there were a lot of missing gaps,” he said. “I think you look for the human side of someone, even if being accused of these types of charges, and I was expecting I would hear something.”

NewsNation reporter Brian Entin contributed to this report.

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