Writer says Idaho judge ordered ‘unusual number of sealed documents’ just in case

A writer who covered the Lori Vallow murder trial sent a letter to an Idaho Supreme Court justice earlier this month, saying the judge in Vallow’s case ordered “an unusual number of sealed documents”.

The so-called “cult mom” is accused of killing his children – Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, and Tylee Ryan, 17 – in 2019 and collecting Social Security benefits on behalf of his son after their deaths.

“Since the start of the case in March 2020, Judge Boyce has ordered what is, in my experience, an unusual number of sealed documents,” wrote Lori Hellis, author of The Lori Vallow Story blog and retired criminal defense attorney, in a letter to Idaho Supreme Court Justice Gregory Moeller. “The number of sealed documents led me to research the sealed document criteria in the Idaho cases. I found that Judge Boyce did not follow the procedures set forth in ICAR 32.”

Hellis previously filed motions to unseal certain documents on Aug. 18, which Boyce denied days later. The writer later said his motions were returned to him for errors the Seventh District clerk found in his paperwork.

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“It is clear that the court has instructed the clerk to comb through the documents for any errors and is playing games to avoid hearing the motions. I have now filed my motions for the fourth time” , Hellis wrote.

The day before the writer submitted his letter, Vallow’s attorneys filed a motion to bar courtroom cameras for the upcoming proceedings, which Hellis said would have the “potential to further limit access of the press to the proceedings”.

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Judge Boyce’s office pointed to Idaho’s Code of Judicial Ethics, which prohibits judges from making public statements about matters concerning their courts.

Vallow and her husband, Chad Daybell, were charged in late May 2021 with multiple counts, each of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand larceny by deception and first-degree murder, related to the death of Tylee, JJ and Chad Daybell’s ex. wife, Tammy Daybell, 49, officials announced at the time.

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The pair are at the center of a bizarre case full of twists and turns involving apocalyptic religious beliefs that prosecutors say motivated the couple to justify the Vallow children’s murders.

Daybell wrote several apocalyptic novels based loosely on Mormon theology. Both were involved in a group that promotes preparation for the biblical end times. Meanwhile, Vallow allegedly believed she was “a god assigned to do the work of the 144,000 at the second coming of Christ in July 2020,” according to divorce papers that her late ex-husband, Charles Vallow, filed before his death.

JJ and Tylee were missing for several months – when police say the couple lied about the whereabouts of the children and then escaped to Hawaii – before their bodies were found buried on the property of Chad Daybell in the Rural Idaho.

The state is seeking the death penalty in Vallow’s case due to the “aggravating circumstances” that led to his alleged crimes. Vallow’s attorneys are requesting a probable cause hearing to discuss the alleged “aggravating factors” as well as the conspiracy charges.

Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to include a response from Judge Boyce’s office.