Lori Vallow’s competency ‘a conundrum,’ legal analyst says

(NewsNation) — The trial of Lori Vallow is set to begin in a few weeks, and her lawyers appear to be “telegraphing” a defense of mental illness, according to one legal analyst.

Vallow is accused of killing her two children who went missing in 2019 and were found dead on the property of now-husband Chad Daybell. Both are charged in the deaths of 17-year-old Tylee and 7-year-old Joshua.

The pair were set to stand trial together April 3, but a judge last week severed the cases. Vallow’s trial is still set to begin that day, while her husband’s has been postponed, EastIdahoNews.com reported.

Though Vallow’s attorneys maintain she is mentally ill, they have said they will not raise the issue of competency during the guilt phase of her trial, only the penalty phase. Vallow was previously found unfit to stand trial on related charges two years ago.

It’s all leading up to a “conundrum” in the case, high-profile defense attorney mark Geragos said Thursday on “CUOMO.”

“I have had numerous cases over the years where people are competent at one particular point in time, and then as soon as you get them into the trial, leading up to the trial, they go incompetent again for a variety of reasons,” Geragos said. “So, it’s a conundrum. We’ve also talked about the problem with the criminal justice system. It’s not equipped to deal with people who have mental health challenges, especially to the degree that it appears that she has.”

Police investigating the killings discovered that the couple were a part of a doomsday preparation group and that Vallow had written books about the end of the world.

Gigi McKelvey, host of the “Pretty Lies and Alibis” podcast, has been following the case intently and said it doesn’t particularly have the makings of cult killings.

“It really seems more like a band of misfits to me. It wasn’t a lot of people, maybe five or six who were hardcore into it, Lori and her brother being two,” McKelvey said. “I think it was a just a really small offshoot of people who met up and clearly didn’t have any direction in life and believed some guy when he said he could see through some veil, and followed him around and did what he said.”

Watch the interview with Geragos and McKelvey in the player above.


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