As Lori Vallow's attorney files for a competency hearing, we take a look at what this could mean for her court case.

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A licensed clinical psychologist determined Lori Vallow is not competent to stand trial after her attorney submitted for an evaluation, however a former prosecutor says this doesn't mean she won't ever see a trial for the charges against her. 

"They've apparently got some psychologist who has evaluated her and said look, she's not going to be able to assist you in the trial or she doesn't understand the nature of the proceedings against her," said Mel McDonald, a former county prosecutor who is not linked to this case. 

The court document stating her incompetency also noted that the state prosecutor in Idaho is contesting the finding. McDonald said the state will likely have to bring in their own psychologist for another evaluation.

"What it tells us is the state does not believe she can't assist in her own defense or doesn't understand the nature of the consequences. They probably think she's bluffing it, faking it, talking to the wall or whatever the facts may be," McDonald said. "Often times what they do is she's in custody, they will have people periodically pay visits with her. A lot of calls come in and out when she has visitors or when she talks on the phone. A lot of times they will be able to gauge when she saw the psychologist, was she acting looney tunes but when other people come in she typically acted normally." 
 
A grand jury indicted Vallow on first-degree murder and conspiracy charges last week. Her kids, JJ and Tylee, were found buried in her husband's backyard in Idaho in June 2020. Vallow married Chad Daybell in November 2019 after the kids were reported missing and two weeks after Daybell's wife, Tammy, passed away. Daybell is also facing First Degree Murder charges for JJ, Tylee, and Tammy's deaths. 
 
Daybell had his charges read to him by a judge in an initial appearance last week, however Vallow's hearing was continued. 
 
According to the court document, the psychologist recommends restorative treatment for Vallow. 
 
"What they do is depending on the results of the hearing, they might put her in the hospital, they might give her therapy, medicines," McDonald explained. "Sometimes people tend to go bonkers if they suddenly see the world is crashed around them--their children's bodies have been found, she's now looking at murder, she's separated from her husband, her friends are disowning her--and a lot of times that will tend people to go a little bit over the edge."
 
McDonald says Vallow will need to be able to understand her charges and be able to defend herself in trial in order to be ruled competent.
 
"If the lawyer looks over and asks her a question and she doesn't understand what he's asking, if she doesn't understand the trial, her mind was wandering somewhere else and they can't help her--if she's going to court and she thinks she's going to a picnic--she won't be able to defend herself," McDonald said. 
 
In January 2019, Vallow's previous husband, Charles, filed a petition to have her evaluated at a mental health facility in Arizona after he says he threatened her. According to Gilbert Police, she ended up checking herself into Community Bridges and was released a short time later. 
 
"Everything that they can bring up into psychological issues she's had over the last couple years, I think they'll throw in there. There's a lot of really crazy things you find happening," McDonald said. 
 
According to investigators, Vallow lied to police about where her kids were and then moved to Hawaii with Daybell. Also according to court paperwork, Vallow was cashing in on JJ and Tylee's social security funds. 
 
"If she's filling out paperwork to get benefits of her two children--the kids who disappear and she knows they're dead--but getting financial benefits, those I think kind of benefit the state," McDonald said. "All of that evidence I think will cut against her in these competency hearings, she's functioning pretty well when she's on the run."
 
Because the state prosecutor is challenging the competency finding, there will be a hearing on the matter. A court date has not been set yet. 


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