TARRANT COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The fourth day of testimony in the Capital Murder trial of James Irven Staley, III, for the 2018 death of Wilder McDaniel continues Thursday in Fort Worth at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center.
Wednesday, a lot of testimony took place, including the conclusion of cross-examination of Detective Chad Nelson of the Wichita Falls Police Department.
Detective Nelson was in charge of the investigation into Wilder’s death from October of 2018 until May of 2020.
Also taking the stand Wednesday, two Ambers, neither of which were Wilder’s mother, Amber Campisi and Amber Koch, who was a co-worker of Staley’s, took the stand.
It all started with the cross-examination of Detective Nelson.
Defense attorney Mark Daniel continued to grill Nelson, and just like he did on Tuesday, Daniel would often ask Detective Nelson questions while he was still searching his report for the answer to previous questions that were asked.
Detective Nelson’s testimony refuted claims made by the defense that Amber didn’t begin to suspect Staley had a hand in Wilder’s death until January 2019, testifying that she had her doubts as early as the day after Wilder died.
Next on the stand was Amber Campisi, aunt of Brooklyn Staley-Campisi, the daughter of her sister, Tara Campisi, and Staley.
Campisi testified to a text message exchange between herself and Staley, which began with Staley texting her at 11:20 p.m. on October 10, 2018: “I have a secret, please let me tell you.”
Although we learned that it ended up being unrelated to Wilder’s death, a portion of that text conversation took place while police were at Staley’s residence the day Wilder was found deceased.
Testimony continued with retired WFPD Detective Betty Dean, who examined Wilder’s body at Staley’s residence. She was also present during the execution of the search warrant on Staley’s home, where she collected Staley’s phone from him.
She testified Staley didn’t give her the passcode to the phone, and that ended up being something that delayed the investigation significantly.
Following Dean’s testimony, WFPD officer Walter Vermillion testified of his role in collecting evidence on October 11, saying he removed a Mac Mini and an HP laptop from the residence since they contained potential evidence.
The final witness was a former co-worker of Staley’s, Amber Koch. She recalled conversations with Staley about his apprehension toward being a stepfather.
Before testimony ended on Wednesday, Koch testified she knew Staley to be manipulative.
We know several forensic scientists, as well as officers with the Wichita Falls Police Department are still set to take the stand.
Also set to testify is Wilder’s mother, Amber McDaniel, as well as Tara Campisi, who is the mother of Staley’s daughter.
Several key witnesses are set to take the stand in the coming days, but the exact schedule is not known.
Testimony is set to resume on Thursday, March 2, 2023, at 9 a.m.
This is a developing story. Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates as the capital murder trial of James Staley in connection to Wilder McDaniel’s death takes place at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth, Texas.