WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Five months after a motion was introduced to move James Staley’s trial for the murder of Wilder McDaniel out of Wichita County, a hearing has been set which may answer the question of whether the trial will be moved to another county.
The hearing is set for June 21 and 22 in the 30th District Court.
In January, Staley’s attorneys filed an 80-page motion to move the trial, arguing their client could not get a fair trial here because of the extensive news coverage as well as antagonistic and inflammatory social media posts, including by the victim’s father, Bubba McDaniel, threatening vigilante justice.
Staley’s lawyers said the case has received more prejudicial and extensive media coverage than any case in years.
The attorneys say Staley would not be safe if the trial was held here.
Staley’s attorneys said their client’s home was vandalized and he was forced to move because of all the threats.
Prosecutors pointed to a number of other trials where juries were seated and verdicts were returned despite extensive media coverage.
The change of venue hearing in about one week will be the third hearing since the motion was introduced.
Staley has four charges filed in connection to the Wilder case, three related to the death or injuries to Wilder, and one for tampering with evidence.
That charge alleges Staley staged Wilder’s body, so it would appear he had fallen from his crib.
The D.A. is seeking a sentence of life without parole on the capital murder charge.
The toddler was found dead in October of 2018 in the home Staley and Bubba McDaniel’s then former wife Amber McDaniel lived in together. Bubba and Amber are now remarried.