CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Following the announcement of murder charges against Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell in Idaho this week, the Chandler Police Department announced on Thursday the recommendation of an additional charge against Vallow.
A spokesperson for the Chandler Police Department says a charge of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder for the 2019 death of Charles Vallow, Lori's former husband, was submitted to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office on April 1. Police say the MCAO is reviewing the submitted charge and will decide whether to move forward with prosecution.
Lawyers who represent Charles Vallow praised the move and said they were grateful for all of the law enforcement involved. "Charles feared for his life and predicted his demise from the day he stepped in our office and said, 'If anything happens to me, it was Lori and her brother Alex who did it,'" the statement said.
Competent to stand trial?
The announcement comes on the same day the defense team for Vallow requested a competency evaluation to "determine the Defendant's fitness to proceed," in the case. A Freemont County District Judge ordered a stay in the case pending a determination of Vallow's evaluation.
A licensed clinical psychologist performed the assessment and reportedly found Vallow not competent to proceed and recommended restorative treatment. The prosecutors for the State of Idaho are contesting the findings of the report, which will force a hearing on the issue. The stay in the case remains in effect pending the hearing. A day and time hasn't been set yet for the hearing.
"By no means is this the end of the road," said Phoenix defense attorney Jason Lamm, who is not connected to the Vallow case.
The Chandler Police Department is recommending a conspiracy to commit first-degree murder charge against Lori Vallow in the 2019 death of her …
"You're going to get into a battle, ultimately, with dueling experts. And let's not forget when people are facing charges, serious charges like murder, they can malinger. They can fake. They can pretend they have psychological disorders in order to evade responsibility," said Lamm.
The potential new charge against Lori stems from the death of Charles Vallow, who was shot and killed by Lori's brother, Alex Cox, in Chandler in July 2019. Tylee and JJ vanished a few months later.
At the time, Cox claimed self-defense. Cox reported the shooting to 911, performed CPR on Vallow and answered questions from investigators, according to police records. He never faced charges due to his death in December 2019.
According to an Arizona's Family Investigates story, Charles filed for divorce in February 2019. He reportedly had what is described as a sizable life insurance policy, according to two sources who had first-hand knowledge of Charles' financial situation. Chandler investigators were not immediately aware of the existence of the policy.
Vallow and Daybell are currently facing multiple charges in Idaho for the deaths of Vallow's children, 17-year-old Tylee Ryan, 7-year-old Joshua "JJ" Vallow, and 49-year-old Tammy Daybell, Chad's former wife.
During Wednesday's court appearance in Fremont County, 7th District Judge Faren Eddins explained to Chad Daybell the penalties he could face if convicted of any of the eight charges he is facing under a new indictment released earlier this week. Both Lori and Chad Daybell could face the death penalty or life in prison if they are convicted of murder or conspiring to murder the victims in the case.
Chad Daybell is charged with three counts each of first-degree murder and conspiring to commit murder and grand theft by deception, as well as two additional counts of insurance fraud in connection with the life insurance policies on his late wife. Vallow is charged with three counts of conspiring to commit murder and grand theft by deception, as well as two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of her children. Vallow is also charged with two counts of grand theft because prosecutors say she collected her children's Social Security survivor benefits after they died.
JJ Vallow's birthday
Kay and Larry Woodcock, JJ's biological grandparents, say it has been a rollercoaster of emotions.
"Yesterday was not a good day in the fact that it was JJ's birthday and he's not here with us -- 9 years old. I can only imagine what he would be like today at 9 years old. It was a hard day for us but on the other hand, it was a wonderful day that people are finally being held absolutely accountable for their misdeeds," said Larry.
While Lori and Chad are facing these new charges, Kay and Larry say they're not done seeking justice. "Next on our radar is Chandler, Arizona for Charles (Vallow). We've got three down, one to go. And he's next," Kay said.
A spokesperson for MCAO said it's not clear when a decision will be made on the Chandler Police Department's recommendation.