FORT WORTH (KFDX/KJTL) — Testimony resumed Tuesday morning in the capital murder trial of James Irven Staley, III, with a Wichita Falls Police Department crime scene technician taking the stand just after 9 a.m. due to Staley arriving at the courtroom late.
The technician responded to Staley’s residence on October 11, 2018, after Wilder was found deceased.
On Monday, the State of Texas, represented by Prosecutor Lisa Tanner, began walking through some of the photographs the technician took at the scene, concluding with photographs of Wilder’s body after he was found deceased.
WFPD crime scene technician back on the stand
Tuesday, Tanner continued walking through photos with the crime scene technician taken from that day, including a photo of Staley from that day and a shirt that was worn by Wilder’s mother, Amber McDaniel, that appeared to have a blood stain on the shoulder.
Also photographed was the pillow that was found in Wilder’s crib with several areas with suspected blood visible, and a multitude of photographs taken from various angles.
The State then entered a number of items of physical evidence, including DNA swabs from Amber McDaniel and impressions of her palms and fingerprints that were taken on October 3, 2019, and impressions from Staley taken via search warrant on October 22, 2019.
Also entered into evidence Tuesday morning was the crib by which Wilder’s body was found. The actual crib was wheeled into the courtroom, as well as the actual sheet and pillow taken from the bed in the crib. The sheet had a section missing where the technician said the forensics lab had cut away for testing, and the pillow had extreme discoloration, also from forensic testing.
Staley’s defense cross-examines
During cross-examination, Terri Moore, one of Staley’s defense attorneys, questioned the process the crime scene technician went through when photographing the scene and collecting evidence, apparently suggesting proper procedures may not have been followed.
The defense questioned why a flashlight and the technician’s actual camera flash were placed on the ground without a drop cloth to prevent contamination. The State would later ask the technician if she’d ever heard of anyone using a drop cloth at a crime scene, and the technician said no.
The defense said the technician “disturbed the scene” and created the possibility for cross-contamination of evidence. They also asked why certain things were not collected as evidence on October 11, 2018, such as the crib by which Wilder was found. The technician testified they were operating under instructions given to them by the investigators on the scene.
The State then clarified certain things with the technician, including the process the technician goes through to ensure the sanitization of their equipment before arriving at any potential crime scene.
Member of Staley’s group text testifies
The next witness called by the state was a childhood friend of Staley’s who was in a group text in which Staley sent a video of Wilder running and crying as well as multiple derogatory statements about Wilder.
Bradley Prigmore testified that Staley had sent the video and messages to the group.
Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie then presented to the court large 3-foot tall posterboards upon which the group texts were posted. Gillespie then had Prigmore read each individual text message sent within the group message, without censoring any.
Several expletives were used in the group chat, as well as multiple slurs.
Prigmore testified that upon hearing of Wilder’s death, he recalled this group message and found it disturbing, so he proceeded to send it to Amber McDaniel’s best friend at the time in hopes it would be relayed to her. He also eventually sent the group message and video to the police.
“I believe him to be manipulative,” Prigmore said of Staley. “He has an off sense of humor, I would say.”
The State then asked about an injury to a child charge Prigmore is currently on probation for, and he testified that he was not offered any type of plea deal in exchange for his cooperation and testimony.
During cross-examination, Primore characterized Staley as someone who had a dark sense of humor, noting his regular use of foul language and politically incorrect speech. The defense likened his speech to that of someone who worked in the oil field, noting the oil industry is part of Staley’s work and family history.
Prigmore testified that at a point in time, he had asked Staley to be the best man at his wedding.
Testimony is set to resume around 1 p.m., with the lead investigator from the Wichita Falls Police Department set to take the stand.
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.