FORT WORTH (KFDX/KJTL) — Emotional testimony was heard during the fourth day of the capital murder trial of James Irven Staley, III, charged with the October 2018 murder of two-year-old Jason Wilder McDaniel.
After the court returned to Auxillary Trial Room A in the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center following the recess for lunch on Thursday, March 2, 2023, the State’s expert witness and former Senior Special Agent with the U.S. Secret Service, Tim Allen, returned to the stand.
More messages between Amber and Staley were read
Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie continued to question Allen about recovered text messages from Staley’s phone of conversations between Staley and Amber McDaniel, Wilder’s mother.
More text messages were read in a similar fashion to Thursday’s morning proceedings, with Allen reading messages sent by Staley and Prosecutor Lisa Tanner reading messages sent by Amber.
One text message exchange between Staley and McDaniel depicted an argument around two weeks into their romantic relationship, with messages on both Facebook Messenger and a conversation with text messages.
During that conversation, Staley can be seen referring to Wilder using various derogatory names and slurs. This exchange also contained a text message that was included in the affidavit against Amber, who has pending charges of child endangerment and tampering with evidence in connection to Wilder’s death in Wichita County.
In that message, Staley said, “scumbags and [expletives] need to be culled,” a word that means systematically slaughtered. Staley then goes on to say, “I’ve got plenty of guns.”
Later in that exchange, Staley said, “I can’t do another guy’s kid. Maybe I could, but not your kid,” as well as “Unless they’re mine, I don’t like kids.” Staley then acknowledged that Wilder was “terrified” of him.
Later exchanges show Staley saying he wants to find a cage for Wilder, who he called “the devil child.” He would later suggest he should buy a shock collar to put on Wilder.
“I want to punch the kid in the face, but he’s too cute,” Staley’s message read.
By the time Staley’s defense team began cross-examining the witness, several hundred messages between their client and Amber were read. Allen’s testimony took up a majority of Thursday’s proceedings.
Wilder’s aunt, Amber’s older sister testifies
Before Judge Everett Young dismissed the jury in recess for the day, the State called another witness to the stand. Shalah Wakefield, Amber McDaniel’s older sister and the aunt of Wilder, testified on Thursday, at times through tears.
Wakefield testified that the last thing she heard Wilder say prior to his death on October 11, 2018, was “No James, no James,” echoing a similar testimony given on Monday, February 27, by her step-father, the first person to take the stand in the case.
Wakefield and McDaniel’s step-father testified under oath that the final words he heard his grandson, Wilder, say before his death were also, “No James.”
Wakefield also testified that her sister was completely changed following the death of Wilder. She said her sister was “destroyed.”
“Amber died with Wilder that day,” Wakefield testified.
Due to the threat of severe weather later in the evening, Judge Young opted to dismiss the jury and enter into recess rather than continue with testimony.
The trial will resume on Friday, March 3, 2023.
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.