Chad Daybell pleaded not guilty to murdering doomsday mom Lori Vallow’s two children and his previous wife during his arraignment Wednesday.
Dressed in a white, long-sleeved button-down and a blue tie, the 52-year-old stepdad said nothing in Idaho court beyond simple yes and no answers and eight utterances of “Not guilty” when asked by Judge Steven Boyce how he wanted to plead.
Daybell is facing a slew of charges for allegedly murdering 17-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and burying their mutilated remains in a crude pet cemetery in his Idaho backyard with the help of their mother, his wife, Lori Vallow.
As Boyce rattled off a series of standard announcements at the start of the arraignment in Fremont County court, the prolific doomsday writer and former gravedigger was seen on a livestream video with a tight smile, staring blankly at the wall in front of him and not looking at the judge.
When Boyce outlined the charges against him, including three counts of first-degree murder, Daybell didn’t flinch and kept his eyes trained directly in front of him.
Following more than a year of investigations, Daybell and Vallow were indicted on murder charges at the end of May and both face the death penalty, if convicted.
The pair are reportedly members of the doomsday cult Preparing a People and allegedly drew from their zealous beliefs to justify their kids’ deaths, prosecutors allege in their indictment.
Earlier Wednesday, Vallow was committed to a state mental health ward after Boyce declared she was unfit to move forward with criminal proceedings.
A scheduling hearing for Daybell’s trial has been set for June 23.