New judge appointed in Wilder McDaniel case after previous judge recuses self

Local News

UPDATE: Wednesday, March 24 at 11:56 a.m.

The administrative judge in Fort Worth has moved James Staley’s murder trial to 89th District Judge Charles Barnard’s court.


WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The judge in the Wilder McDaniel murder case has recused himself from the case because of a possible conflict of interest.

30th District Judge Jeff McKnight filed an order of voluntary recusal on March 10.

It states that the conflict is because he previously represented Bubba McDaniel, the victim’s father, who is likely to be a witness, in a previous case as an attorney.

The recusal has been referred to Regional Administrative Judge David Evans in Fort Worth for the appointment of a new judge for James Staley’s trial.

Staley previously waived arraignment and pleaded not guilty. His pretrial hearing is set for August.

Staley is accused of killing 2-year-old Wilder McDaniel.

The toddler was found dead in October of 2018 in the home Staley and Wilder’s mother lived in.

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