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Judge enters not guilty plea for mother charged in kids’ deaths

ST ANTHONY, IDAHO(AP) – A mother charged with conspiring to kill her children, her estranged husband and a lover’s wife refused to enter a plea to murder and other charges on Tuesday, prompting an Idaho judge to enter a not guilty plea on her behalf.

Lori Vallow Daybell and her new husband, Chad Daybell, were both at the courthouse in the eastern Idaho town of St Anthony for separate court proceedings: Lori Daybell for an afternoon arraignment that was delayed for months while she underwent treatment at a mental health facility, and Chad Daybell for a morning hearing over the trial venue.

The couple face numerous charges in the bizarre case, including conspiracy to commit murder and first-degree murder in connection with the deaths of Lori Daybell’s children, seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan, as well as Chad Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Lori Daybell is also charged in Arizona with conspiring to kill her former estranged husband, Charles Vallow, with the help of her now-deceased brother, Alex Cox.

Chad Daybell pleaded not guilty to the charges months ago and is being held in the Fremont County Jail. The case against Lori Daybell was stalled after a judge found her mentally incompetent to aid in her own defence and ordered her to undergo treatment at a mental health facility. Last week, the judge said Daybell had been made competent and the case could go forward, and she was transferred to the Madison County Jail.

Lori Vallow Daybell (C) listens during a court hearing in St Anthony, Idaho. PHOTO: AP
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