Fourth judge takes over in Wilder McDaniel murder case

Local News

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The capital murder trial of James Staley for the Wilder McDaniel death has been transferred to yet another judge, the fourth thus far on this case.

The motion to recuse herself was filed Wednesday, June 30 by the third judge appointed to the case, former 2nd Court of Appeals Judge Lee Gabriel, with no reason given for the request.

Texas Administrative Judge David Evans then appointed the fourth judge on this case, Tarrant County Senior District Judge Everett Young.

The murder case originally started in 30th District Judge Jeff McKnight’s court.

McKnight recused himself because while a private attorney, he once represented Bubba McDaniel, a possible witness, and father of the victim.

The case was then transferred to the 89th District Judge Charles Barnard, who also filed for recusal because of a past association with McDaniel.

Staley has a pretrial hearing scheduled for August 12 in the 89th District Courtroom.

Staley is accused of killing two-year-old Wilder McDaniel, who was found dead in October 2018 in the home Staley and Wilder’s mother lived in.

Staley has at least two veteran trial attorneys retained.

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