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Former friend of Vallow Daybell takes stand in Day 4 of trial

Posted at 4:43 PM, Apr 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-13 19:12:15-04

BOISE, Idaho — A full day of prosecution witnesses took the stand in the trial against Lori Vallow Daybell on Thursday, with prosecutors looking to connect the dots between Daybell and her alleged co-conspirators, Alex Cox and Chad Daybell.

Melanie Gibb, who is a friend of Vallow Daybell and lives in Arizona, was called to testify.

After establishing the friendship between Melanie and Lori, the questions pivoted to the relationship, as Gibb saw it, between Chad and Lori; when and how they met, their religious beliefs, and events in their relationship while Lori was still married to Charles Vallow and Chad married to Tammy Daybell.

Gibb testified that Lori and Chad both believed that you can come back to this world many times. Lori believed she and Chad had been married in a past life and were sealed by Jesus Christ.

Gibb's testimony continued to get into the details of Lori's belief that Chad and Lori were in charge of a group of 144,000 people who are waiting for the end of time. She also detailed the scale of "Light and Dark" that they used to assess people. "Light" people were said to be in contract with the Savior, and "Dark" people, they believed, were in contract with "Satan". The way people are tied to good and evil.

The testimony then shifted to discuss Charles. Vallow. Gibb said that Chad had told Lori that Charles was taken over by an evil spirit in January 2019, and Lori believed him.

Gibb then described "castings". A casting began as a prayer and was used to cast evil spirits out of someone. Gibb participated in a casting with Lori in early 2019 to rid Charles of his evil spirit.

Multiple castings were performed for Charles Vallow, though Chad was only present at one of them.

Gibb testified that Lori also believed that Brandon Bordeaux and Tylee were dark and that JJ had become possessed.

In July 2019, Lori's brother, Alex Cox, came to stay because Lori felt she needed protection from Charles. This was when an alleged argument ensued that led to Cox shooting Charles, claiming self-defense. Gibb testified that she did not witness the shooting.

Gibb says Chad visited within a week or so after the death of Charles, and that Chad and Lori appeared to be very happy.

Gibb then discussed the cell phone communication between Chad and Lori, and that Lori had a phone just for Chad. She also confirmed that Lori had told her the two were intimate, even though they were both married. After Charles' death, Lori told Gibb that JJ was becoming very difficult to handle, and that Lori was going to ask Kay Woodcock to take custody of JJ.

She testified that the last time she saw Tylee was just before they moved to Idaho. Although on one occasion, Gibb visited Idaho with her boyfriend, David Warwick, and she only saw JJ, not Tylee.

Later, Gibb testified that Chad had told Lori that JJ had become dark, and although Lori told her JJ's behavior and demeanor had changed, Gibb didn't notice any change, and that JJ was a typical young autistic seven-year-old.

Gibb testified that Chad and Lori were affectionate during the visit, but that Chad asked Warwick not to share information about their relationship with people.

The last time Gibb saw JJ was on September 22 when her brother, Alex Cox, took him upstairs in Lori's apartment.

The prosecution circled back with Gibb about conversations she had with Lori about why Lori thought Charles was trying to kill her. Lori believed Charles wanted the money from a $1 million life insurance policy on her life. She also allegedly told her that if Charles died, his sister Kay would receive the money from his $1 million life insurance policy.

Asking why Lori just didn't divorce Charles, Lori told Gibb she didn't believe in divorce due to religious views.

Gibb testified that she next spoke with Chad in November 2019. It was during this call that Chad told her the Rexburg police would be calling because they were looking for JJ and told her not to answer the phone.

Gibb said she thought JJ was with his grandparents, but Chad told her that wasn't the case. Lori informed Gibb that she had told police that JJ was watching "Frozen" with Gibb and asked her to take photos of random kids at the movie theater and send them to the police.

At first, Gibb avoided police phone calls but eventually spoke with them to tell them she did not have JJ and he had not been with her.

The prosecution entered a 20-minute phone call into evidence between Gibb and Chad and Lori when Gibb confronts them about JJ. Gibb had recorded the call.

Also in the taped conversation, Lori said she would do what the Lord tells her to do and that Kay Woodcock had threatened her. Then they talked about scriptures, and Gibb told Lori she was concerned Lori was being tricked by Satan. Lori struck back saying maybe it was Gibb that was being influenced by dark thoughts.

In the call, Chad also claimed that his wife Tammy was not healthy and was getting weak, and that was why she died. The call proceeded to get combative with accusations from both sides about who believes in what, and what is happening with JJ.

After a break, Gibb testified that Lori had said that Tammy Daybell had been suspicious of the affair between Chad and Lori, and that she had turned dark approximately two weeks before her death.

Gibb claimed Lori was very happy to marry Chad and had never shown remorse or sadness, similar to the reaction from Lori after Charles died. She then discussed Lori's belief in zombie teachings and how Gibb didn't believe in them. Gibb shared her feelings with Cox, who sided with Lori telling Gibb he completely believed in them. They considered Charles, Tylee, JJ, and Tammy were zombies.

The state completed their questioning when Gibb finally testified that she asked Cox what happened to JJ and was told she didn't want to know.

The defense asked when the was the last contact Gibb had with the prosecution, to which she said that except within the last month, it had been years ago, and even then it was on a Zoom call. She admits to being "forgetful".

Gibbs testified that she had created a 7-page document with her testimony that was completed in 2020. The state immediately reacted, asking that the witness testimony be stricken, as she said the prosecution never provided the statements to the defense.

Following lunch, the defense asked questions about what was meant by JJ being "possessed." Gibb said she took it to mean possessed by an evil spirit.

The defense then asked for information about the shooting of Charles Vallow and about Gibb's relationship with Tylee, of which she testified that Tylee didn't like her very much.

The defense continued by asking Gibb if, since Kay Woodcock was to receive the money from Charles's life insurance policy, was there any financial incentive for Lori. Gibb says she doesn't know. The defense also inquires where Gibb heard Chad would lose his status in the church if he were to divorce Tammy, Gibb says that what Lori told her.

Gibb then admitted to initially lying to police about JJ, saying "I had him but I don't have him anymore", and that Lori came to pick him up. She now says that was not the truth.

Gibb also testified she contacted the Gilbert (AZ) Police and said she would send the recording of the telephone conversation to them. When asked why she recorded the call, Gibb acknowledged she was concerned about JJ.

Finally, questioning focused on conversations that Gibbs had with Alex Cox. Gibbs confirmed that Cox told her that she didn't want to know where the children were. Cox also told Gibb that Chad had given him a patriarchal blessing that Cox was honored to have. Gibb also later spoke with Cox's wife, who conveyed that Alex had said the kids could not be found.

This article was provided by KIVI-TV in Boise, Idaho.