WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The question of whether capital murder defendant James Staley can get a fair and impartial trial in Wichita County will be argued, pro and con, tomorrow in the courtroom.

Attorneys for Staley, who is accused of the murder and abuse of two-year-old Wilder McDaniel in 2018, filed the 80-page motion in January to move the trial elsewhere.

Staley’s attorneys issued subpoenas for potentially hundreds of stories on the case, both in news broadcasts and on social media.

James Staley’s Wichita County booking photo

The case is assigned to Senior District Judge Everett Young of Tarrant County, the fourth judge assigned after the first three recused themselves for various reasons.

Staley’s lawyers said the case has received more prejudicial and extensive media coverage than any case in years. Among arguments, they pointed to the Justice for Wilder campaign, which they said created so much discussion and attention it destroyed the presumption of innocence of the defendant and tainted the jury pool.

The attorneys also pointed to “rants” by Wilder’s father, Bubba McDaniel that were vulgar and promoted violence. They said McDaniel threatened to put a bullet in Staley’s head.

After McDaniel inflamed supporters, the attorneys said Staley’s home was vandalized.
Staley has four charges filed in connection to the Wilder case. That charge also alleges Staley staged Wilder’s body, so it would appear he had fallen from his crib.

Gillespie also filed notice the state is not seeking the death penalty, but life without parole, if Staley is convicted.