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Idaho man in ‘Doomsday’ killings is sentenced to death



An Idaho judge on Saturday sentenced a man to death, two days after he was found guilty of first-degree murder and other charges in the 2019 killings of his first wife and two of his current wife’s children, capping a case that drew scrutiny because of the couple’s “doomsday” religious beliefs.

The decision came after jurors took more than a day to deliberate during the special sentencing proceeding in the case against the man, Chad Daybell, 55, in Ada County District Court in Boise, Idaho.

Earlier on Saturday, the jury had recommended the death penalty before the judge ordered a short recess to make a final sentencing decision.

As the judge, Steven W. Boyce of the Seventh Judicial District, read his sentencing decision, Mr. Daybell sat with his hands in his lap, expressionless at the defense table. Defense lawyers did not have any questions when asked by the judge.

On Friday, relatives of the victims delivered statements, often struggling for words.

Prosecutors said the death penalty was justified, pointing to aggravating factors. They argued that the crimes were particularly “heinous, atrocious or cruel”; that Mr. Daybell was motivated by the desire for remuneration; and that he continued to represent a danger to society.

Lindsey Blake, a prosecutor, described extreme religious claims by Mr. Daybell of having visions in which he could determine whether someone was “dark” or “possessed,” in which cases “the body had to be destroyed or die.”

What he sought, she contended, was to pursue a new life with his current spouse after collecting life insurance and other payments to be alone on a beach, “unencumbered by earthly obstacles.”

Mr. Daybell’s lawyer, John Prior, asked jurors to consider the rationale behind the original charges and see that his client was accused of espousing religious beliefs and was not motivated by money, nor was he the only suspect linked to the murders.

Even if the jurors believed that he had killed his first wife, Mr. Prior said, “that doesn’t reach the heinous, atrocious conduct” for a death penalty case.

Several relatives told of immeasurable loss, pausing to regain their composure.

“My sister was ripped from our lives,” said Samantha Gwilliam, the sister of Mr. Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell.

She should not have met a violent end, but should have been doting on grandchildren and taking care of her animals and smiling, Ms. Gwilliam added.

“I will grieve for her for the rest of my life, she said. “I speak up for her now because she needs a voice.”

On Thursday, Mr. Daybell remained expressionless as he heard the guilty verdicts for three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and grand theft by deception, one count of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and two counts of insurance fraud.

Prosecutors filed charges in 2021 against Mr. Daybell and his wife, Lori Vallow Daybell, in the deaths of Joshua Vallow, 7, known as J.J.; and Tylee Ryan, 16. Mr. Daybell was also charged with murder in the death of his previous spouse, Tammy Daybell.

Mr. Daybell and Ms. Vallow Daybell, now 50, had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In May last year, Ms. Vallow Daybell was found guilty of murder in the deaths of her two children and of conspiring to murder her husband’s former wife. She was sentenced in July to three consecutive life terms in prison without parole.

The couple’s religious beliefs drew attention from prosecutors and the public because of their potential role in the case. According to the indictment, the couple “did endorse and teach religious beliefs for the purpose of justifying” the deaths of the children.

One of the prosecutors, Robert H. Wood, said the murders showed an “utter disregard for human life.”

Mr. Prior, the defense lawyer, described Mr. Daybell growing up in a small town in Utah and being married for 29 years, raising five children, before the “trajectory” of his life changed to “chaos” after he met his would-be wife.

“The Lori Vallow bomb being dropped on Chad Daybell’s life,” he added, “changed the path of his life. It’s not where we would be going.”

Relatives of the children and Tammy Daybell recounted the pain they felt and mourned the lost potential of their lives.

Matthew Douglas, Tammy Daybell’s brother, said she was the “emotional heart and glue of our siblings.” Annie Cushing, an aunt, described memories of a surprise hug from J.J. and of Tylee’s sweetness. “This defendant stole all of that,” Ms. Cushing said.

Ms. Vallow Daybell was referred to as the “Doomsday Mom” in headlines and in a Lifetime documentary by that name. Mr. Daybell has written novels with doomsday themes, and both he and Ms. Vallow Daybell were linked to an entity called Preparing a People, which looked to prepare its followers for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, according to its website.

The couple married in 2019, shortly after his wife, Tammy Daybell, was found dead at her home in Idaho. At first, her death was attributed to natural causes, but after Ms. Vallow’s children disappeared, the authorities began an investigation that extended into a re-examination of her death. An autopsy later attributed the cause to asphyxiation.

Tammy Daybell’s death occurred about a month after Mr. Daybell had increased the amount of coverage in a life insurance policy for her.

In February 2020, Ms. Vallow Daybell was arrested in Hawaii after the authorities said that she had not cooperated in the search for her missing children, whose remains were discovered later that year on Mr. Daybell’s property in Idaho. He was arrested and charged with concealing evidence.

The post Idaho Man in ‘Doomsday’ Killings Is Sentenced to Death appeared first on New York Times.

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Biden reacts to his son’s guilty verdict



President Biden issued a statement in response to his son Hunter Biden being convicted on three felony gun charges in federal court in Delaware on Tuesday, with the president saying he will accept the outcome of the case and loves his son. The president is leaving Washington for Delaware on Tuesday afternoon, in a change to the president’s schedule.

The jury determined Hunter Biden illegally purchased and possessed a gun while he was addicted to crack cocaine, violating federal law that prohibits users of illegal drugs from owning firearms. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

“As I said last week, I am the president, but I am also a dad,” the president said in his statement. “Jill and I love our son, and we are so proud of the man he is today. So many families who have had loved ones battle addiction understand the feeling of pride seeing someone you love come out the other side and be so strong and resilient in recovery. As I also said last week, I will accept the outcome of this case and will continue to respect the judicial process as Hunter considers an appeal. Jill and I will always be there for Hunter and the rest of our family with our love and support. Nothing will ever change that.”

Mr. Biden has generally declined to comment on the case, but said previously that he would accept the jury’s decision and won’t issue his son a pardon. He hasn’t specifically commented on whether he would commute any sentence his son may receive.

Hunter Biden issued his own statement after the verdict, expressing gratitude toward his family and in particular toward his wife, Melissa Cohen Biden.

“I am more grateful today for the love and support I experienced this last week from Melissa, my family, my friends, and my community than I am disappointed by the outcome,” Hunter Biden said. “Recovery is possible by the grace of God, and I am blessed to experience that gift one day at a time.”

Hunter Biden’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, said they are “naturally disappointed” by the verdict but respect the process and will “vigorously pursue all the legal challenges available.”

The verdict was reached and read quickly Tuesday, and first lady Jill Biden, who has been present for most of the trial, didn’t make it back to the courtroom in time to hear the verdict read. She walked out of the court hand-in-hand with Hunter Biden.

President Biden was at the White House when the jury handed down the verdict.

Other Biden family members have been present for the trial to offer support, including the president’s brother, James. Hunter Biden’s daughter Naomi testified in court.

Hunter Biden was indicted on three felony gun charges in September after a proposed plea deal with federal prosecutors unraveled.  He is due to appear in federal court in California to face separate tax charges in September. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

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Biological male who identifies as female wins Miss Maryland USA competition



Bailey Anne Kennedy is the “first trans woman” to win the Miss Maryland USA competition, the pageant said. A “transgender female” is a biological male who identifies as female.

The pageant added that Kennedy also is the “first Asian-American” to win the title, the first to “capture the crown at age 31,” the first “married woman to win the crown in 67 years,” and the “first military officer’s wife.”

‘I knew that it was going to mean a lot for all the LGBTQ kids out there who might feel like they don’t belong in a box — like me growing up.’

Kennedy posted the following message June 2 on Instagram after the win:

Not everyone has to agree with the spaces that you occupy, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t worthy of these opportunities. The work that I will do for the remainder of my life is to make sure that children who feel like me will never have to worry about the consequences of being who they are by simply being myself and being a positive contribution to society.

For the longest time, I never had the need to tell anyone. Not because it’s a secret, but it’s none of anyone’s business. To those who matter to me, they don’t care. Those that care about knowing such private & personal details, don’t matter.

I can’t wait to start my reign and get back to the USO office and start serving lunches & personally thank our active duty service members like I originally plan to yesterday because that’s what actually matters to me.

In an interview with Maryland-based station WDVM-TV — also known as DC News Now — Kennedy said the victory was a “whirlwind because I knew it was bigger than me. I knew that it was going to mean a lot for all the LGBTQ kids out there who might feel like they don’t belong in a box — like me growing up.”

Kennedy also felt support from the “sisterhood” of women in the competition, WDVM also noted.

The new Miss Maryland USA noted to the station the hope that the victory “will open up some doors, open up some hearts for people to see that there are many aspects of [the] LGBT community out there, and I hope I can be a positive contribution to society in making a difference like the USO program like I’m working with.”

The Daily Mail said Kennedy “married her military husband less than a year ago” and is now looking to compete for the Miss USA title in August in Los Angeles.

Newsweek said conservatives who’ve spoken out against Kennedy may have forgotten that former President Donald Trump in 2012 overruled a Miss Universe pageant ban of a transgender contestant. Trump at the time owned the Miss Universe Organization, and Miss USA is part of it.

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Pakistani Who Tried To Set Up Country’s First g@y Glub Sent To Mental Hospital



A Pakistani man who tried to set up the nation’s first gay club after returning from the UK has been thrown into a mental hospital.

The man, who was not identified, filed an application to set the club up in Abbottabad, a conservative city in the north of the nation that nearly 240million call home, the Telegraph reports.

The man said, in an application filed to city officials, that the proposed club, which would’ve balled Lorenzo, would be a ‘great convenience and resource for many homosexual, bisexual and even some heterosexual people residing in Abbottabad in particular, and in other parts of the country in general.’

But gay sex is criminalised in Pakistan, and can be punished with prison sentences of up to two years. On top of this, a deeply conservative culture can make it difficult to be openly gay.

So much so that the man was transferred to the Sarhad hospital for psychiatric disease in Peshawar on May 9.

He received much abuse for his application from local citizens and politicians alike.

The leader of the Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI) party, a conservative religious group in the region, claimed that the applicant tried to set up the club had recently returned from a visit to the UK.

One local MP from the far-Right Pakistan Awami Tehreek party said he would’ve doused the club with petrol and set it alight, while the leader of the party, Naseer Khan Nazir, said there would be ‘very severe consequences’ if the club was allowed to go up.

His friends, who were not named, said they were terrified for his wellbeing and had been blocked from visiting him or accessing any information about him.

‘Everyone is afraid that talking about it will put them in danger,’ one said.

‘I do not know about his well-being for many days’ they said, adding that they had ‘tried to find out about him a couple of times but without success’.

Before he was sent to the mental hospital, he told the paper: ‘I talk about human rights and I want everyone’s human rights to be defended.’

‘I have started the struggle for the rights of the most neglected community in Pakistan and I will raise my voice in every forum,’ he said.

‘If the authorities refuse, then I will approach the court and I hope that like the Indian court, the Pakistani court will rule in favour of gay people.’

His application states that there would’ve been ‘no gay (or non-gay) sex (other than kissing)’ at the club.

The application added: ‘A clearly visible notice on the wall would warn: no sex on premises. This would mean that no legal constraints (even obsolete ones like [anti-sodomy] PPC section 377) would be flouted on the premises.’

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