Sheriff Paul Penzone discusses possibility of holding Lori Vallow Daybell in Valley jail

Aug 11, 2023, 4:35 AM | Updated: Aug 16, 2023, 3:09 pm

File headshots of Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone and Lori Vallow Daybell. Penzone knows the s...

Sheriff Paul Penzone knows Lori Vallow Daybell won’t be a typical case if she’s extradited to face charges in Maricopa County. (Getty Images and AP Photo - File)

(Getty Images and AP Photo - File)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County jails deal with dangerous types on a regular basis, but Sheriff Paul Penzone knows Lori Vallow Daybell won’t be a typical case if she’s extradited to face charges in the Valley.

“Her story gets a lot of coverage, and it’s horrific,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday. “But I could tell you, unfortunately, we’ve got a handful of folks that are in our custody right now that their circumstances aren’t a heck of a lot different.”

Penzone expects his staff to maintain constant professionalism, though he acknowledged an inmate like the so-called “Doomsday Mom” would be a different beast.

“Obviously, due to the fact that this is extremely high profile, it’s going to garner a lot of attention. … It will create a little bit of a — I don’t want to say unrest, but there will be an energy to it that’s not always positive. So, we’ll be overly conscientious about the circumstances,” he said.

Why would ‘Doomsday Mom’ be jailed in the Valley?

Vallow Daybell was sentenced last month to life in prison in Idaho for her role in the deaths of her two youngest children and a perceived romantic rival.

The case included bizarre claims that Vallow Daybell’s son and daughter were zombies and that she was a goddess sent to usher in the Biblical apocalypse. As a result, headline writers started calling her the “Doomsday Mom.”

With the Idaho case complete, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is moving ahead with plans to prosecute the Vallow Daybell on two counts of conspiracy to commit murder.

County Attorney Rachel Mitchell said Wednesday her office has completed extradition documents to be signed by Gov. Katie Hobbs.

Mitchell said the extradition process should take several months. She anticipates that Vallow Daybell will be in Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office custody by the end of the year.

What is Lori Vallow Daybell accused of in Maricopa County?

A Maricopa County grand jury indicted Vallow Daybell in 2021 on a charge of conspiring to kill her fourth husband, Charles Vallow. Police said Vallow Daybell’s brother Alex Cox shot and killed Vallow on July 11, 2019, in Chandler.

A second Valley indictment unsealed in May of this year charged Vallow Daybell with conspiring to murder Brandon Boudreaux, her niece’s ex-husband. Police say Cox shot at Boudreaux in Gilbert on Oct. 2, 2019, but missed.

Cox was never charged and died later that year of what authorities determined were natural causes.

Echoes of Jodi Arias case

If extradited, Vallow Daybell wouldn’t be the first high-profile female inmate held at a Valley jail.

In 2013, Jodi Arias was found guilty of murdering her ex-boyfriend in Mesa five years earlier. She was sentenced to life in prison in 2015, ending a case that drew years of national and global media attention.

Penzone said the Arias case brought “energy into the space that normally doesn’t exist” but didn’t change how jail staffers performed their work.

“They understand the focus is just on doing the job the right way and handling people no different one from the other, treating them with respect, handling the business but not tolerating any bad behavior and circumstances that undermine our ability to run a safe and sound jail system,” he said.

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Sheriff Paul Penzone discusses possibility of holding Lori Vallow Daybell in Valley jail