On Monday, Lori Vallow’s defense attorney Mark Means filed a motion asking that she be allowed to wear “street” clothing during her court appearances.
District Judge Dane H. Watkins Jr. granted the request. Vallow can now wear clothing of her choice to hearings and proceedings as long as they are “solely provided by the defendant.”
Vallow and her husband Chad Daybell face felony charges relating to the cover-up of the deaths of Vallow’s children, 16-year-old Tylee Ryan and 7-year-old J.J. Vallow. Both face two counts for conspiracy to commit destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. Daybell is facing two additional felony charges for the destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence. Each count carries a punishment of “up to five years imprisonment and/or up to a $10,000 fine.”
The search for the children and reports of the couple’s purported doomsday beliefs have garnered international attention.
With high-profile cases, it is not uncommon for defendants to receive criticism of their looks. Facebook groups dedicated to the case routinely pick apart every aspect of Vallow’s appearance. “Lori’s hair looks like a rat’s nest,” “her blue nail polish is chipping,” and “the color was all wrong for her” read a few of the comments. Fox Nation host Nancy Grace has previously criticized Vallow’s lipstick and hairstyle. These jabs at her appearance may be particularly concerning to Vallow who was both a former beauty pageant contestant and a hairstylist, according to NBC’s Dateline.
However, the request regarding Vallow’s appearance may be about more than just vanity. A study from Cornell University found that “juries convict attractive people less often.” According to another study, defendants wearing prison attire are convicted at a higher rate.
“An image of a person in an orange prison jumpsuit may elicit contentions that he or she is in fact guilty because they are already depicted as a prisoner,” the Winona State University study states.
The judge’s stipulation that Vallow must provide her own clothing seems to be intended to prevent anyone else from spending money on Vallow’s appearance. In last year’s high profile case surrounding New York scam artist Anna Sorokin, Sorokin’s attorney hired her a professional stylist, according to Rachel Tashjian at GQ.
In a second document filed Monday, Means said Vallow has no objection to state prosecutor Rob Wood’s motion to try the cases of Daybell and Vallow jointly.
On Sept. 1, Wood wrote the cases should be joined “based on the fact the charges against the Defendant and the Co-defendant allege they participated in the same act or series of acts and conspired to commit the alleged acts or series of acts.” Due to the overlap, Wood believes it would be both more efficient and beneficial for witnesses and victims to only have to go through a single trial.
The lack of objection from Vallow is in opposition to her husband’s motion. Daybell’s attorney John Prior filed an objection on Sept. 9 saying joining the cases would combine the media attention surrounding each defendant which “only adds to the level of attention and knowledge prospective jurors would have in this case.”
Several new hearings have been set for Daybell this week. Two hearings will be held on Oct. 29. A hearing regarding Daybell’s request to have his case dismissed will be heard at 9 a.m. by District Judge Steven Boyce. That same day, another hearing regarding the motion to join Daybell and Vallow’s cases will be held at 10 a.m. A hearing regarding Daybell’s request to change the trial’s location is set for 9 a.m. on Nov. 24.
The couple also is under investigation for the October 2019 death of Daybell’s first wife, Tammy Daybell. Vallow and Daybell married 17 days after his wife of 29 years died in her sleep under what police have called suspicious circumstances.
Vallow is under further investigation for her involvement in the deaths of her third husband, Joseph Ryan, and fourth husband, Charles Vallow.