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'Sins of Our Mother': Could Lori Vallow documentary impact jury selection?

"Sins of Our Mother" airs on Netflix four months before Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell are set to stand trial in January 2023 in Ada County.

BOISE, Idaho — On Sept. 14, the three-part documentary series "Sins of Our Mother" airs on Netflix. The docu-series is about Lori Vallow, who is charged with killing her two Rexburg kids, Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan. 

Their remains were found on her current husband's property in 2020. Now, with the documentary about the case hitting television screens ahead of the couples' trial, the question arises—could this impact jury selection?

To find out, KTVB reached out to Dave Leroy, the former Idaho Attorney General, Former Lieutenant Governor and defense lawyer. 

KTVB also checked in with JJ's grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, to get their thoughts on the potential impact and their feelings ahead of the docu-series' premiere.

The 'End Times' author from Idaho is Lori Vallow's fifth and current husband. The couple is now charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the deaths of Vallow's kids, as well as Daybell's late wife -- Tammy Daybell. 

Tammy died in October 2019, a month after the children went missing. The upcoming Netflix series shines a light on Lori's oldest son—Colby

"Sins of Our Mother" comes four months before the couple is set to stand trial in January 2023 in Ada County, some 300 miles away from where the kids' remains were found. 

"Ironically, jury selection was moved from eastern Idaho to Ada County to minimize the exposure and press and any kind of publicity that had attended the case," Leroy said.  

Leroy said any kind of publicity has the potential to influence a person's judgement in terms of making a decision about a case, should they be selected as a juror.

"In every jury case, there is a process at the very beginning called voir der, where the jurors or prospective jurors are subjected to interrogation by the prosecutor, by the defense lawyer and by the judge from time to time," Leroy said. "The specific question as to jurors is, 'can they be fair? Are they biased?' A part of those questions is, 'what do you know about the facts of the case? Have you learned anything from any source that may influence you as a juror?' The rules for jurors is that you must decide the case, only on the evidence you hear in the courtroom and see in the courtroom, not nothing from the outside."

In the same conversation, Leroy also said just because someone has heard of Lori Vallow, does not necessarily disqualify them from being a juror. 

"The judge will instruct the jury that perhaps everyone in the room has heard the name Lori Vallow, or may have heard something, a bit of something about the case," Leroy said. "The real question is, 'have you formed, based on what you've heard, an opinion about the guilt or the innocence of the defendant in this case?'"

JJ's grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, have been at many of the case's proceedings. 

"I believe that as a juror, if I was elected to go and beyond, you know, to be a juror, if I did have a bias, it's my duty, to be honest and tell them I'm biased and I don't need to be in the jury," Kay said. "So, I believe that it's up to the people that are in the jury pool to make a choice and I hope that they all make the right choice, because we don't want to have to do this again." 

This has already been a long and trying road for the Woodcocks and their family. 

"When they announced the trial date, I was able to finally kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel," Kay said. "Now as as we're approaching it, it's just, let's get it—let's get it done."

As the parties involved gear up for Lori and Chad's trial, and summon potential jurors, Kay and Larry are also summoning their inner strength.

"How do you prepare to learn things that you know are going to just kill your soul? If it was a boxing match, you train and you put together a plan and the bell rings and you get hit smack in the nose the first time," Kay said. "All the plans go out."

Larry added, "when you're sitting in that seat and they start talking about my little man, I don't care how prepared you are, you lose it. You just lose it and that's that first punch."

Kay jumped in, "then we go back to the corner and we catch our breath. Then we go back out again and we just keep doing it and we keep doing it. We'll keep doing it until we don't have to do it anymore."

Until that moment comes, Kay and Larry just want closure. 

"We're tired and we simply want, we simply want to bury the kids, the way they should have had a proper burial a long time ago," Larry said.

It's something they haven't been able to do since investigators found JJ and Tylee more than two years ago.

"They are waiting on the defense to decide if they're gonna want to second autopsies on them, and that is why we're waiting," Larry said. "Until that happens, we can't do anything. At this point, my life is simply giving those two children what they deserve—putting them to rest. What happens to Lori and Chad is it's in the jury's hand."

Kay and Larry told KTVB they do plan on watching the Netflix documentary. 

They also said one thing that helps them get through all of this is the support from their family, but also support from people here in Idaho and across the country. 

They even get messages of support from people as far as Dubai. 

The Woodcocks said they want closure for not only JJ and Tylee, but also Tammy Daybell and Charles Vallow—Kay's brother and Lori's fourth husband.

Lori is charged with conspiracy to murder Charles and that trial is set to begin in Arizona once the trial is complete here in Idaho.

Watch more on the case of JJ Vallow and Tylee Ryan:

See all of the latest coverage in our YouTube playlist:

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