FORT WORTH (KFDX/KJTL) — Amber Odom McDaniel, the mother of Jason Wilder McDaniel, has been called to take the witness stand and testify in the capital murder trial of James Irven Staley, III, the man accused of killing her 2-year-old son.

Amber McDaniel’s name was called by Prosecutor Lisa Tanner at around 9 a.m. on Monday, March 6, 2023.

A running live blog of her testimony can be found below. This story will be updated frequently as her testimony and cross-examination progress.

Cross-examination will resume Tuesday morning, March 7, 2023, at around 8:30 a.m.

5:20 p.m. — After painstakingly dissecting an exchange between Staley and McDaniel, Judge Young calls for counsel to approach the bench. After a brief conference, the court is recessed.

5:09 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore shows more messages that show no consternation between the two of them the day before Wilder was found deceased.

5:06 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore shows another message the day before Wilder was found deceased. Staley asked Amber if she was coming to “supervise” as items are moved from the house on Fain. He said to bring “wild butt”, in reference to Wilder.

5:03 p.m. — Messages between James Staley and Amber McDaniel move into the day before Wilder was found deceased in Staley’s home.

5:00 p.m. — The conversation between Staley and Amber shows that Amber had left the house because it was lonely without James there. Staley told Amber he’d been working on taxes.

4:55 p.m. — The day before Wilder was found deceased in Staley’s home, Amber thanked Staley for “doing so much for us”.

4:52 p.m. — Another message from around 10 p.m. on October 9, 2018, between the two, is shown to the court. Amber tells Staley that Wilder said, “Love ya James” as they were leaving Staley’s home.

4:50 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore admits another batch of Facebook Messenger exchanges between Amber McDaniel and James Staley into evidence with no objections from the prosecution.

4:48 p.m. — Amber then said over Facebook Messages, “Now if he’d just stop whining, he’d be perfect,” and Staley responds, “He will, and I love him regardless.” Moore reiterates this all took place two days before Staley is alleged to have murdered Wilder.

4:46 p.m. — Staley said after Amber sent a video, “I mean I love that dumb little [expletive]” and called him a [expetive] before saying to Amber that Wilder “makes me smile”. Staley, in the messages, continues to reference the videos previously sent by Amber.

4:43 p.m. — A later message shows Staley said that Wilder tells Amber that Wilder has grown up a lot since they met and began their relationship.

4:38 p.m. — Staley continues to react to the video of Wilder pooping, referring to Wilder as a “little [expletive]”, as Amber had done earlier. Staley said they could show that video at Wilder’s wedding and graduation. This all took place on October 9, 2018.

4:34 p.m. — Cross-examination resumes after a brief matter that is heard outside of the jury’s presence. The defense brings back up Exhibit 12, the civil lawsuit filed against Staley. Judge Young continues to sustain the State’s objection based on relevance. The jury is brought back in.

4:19 p.m. — Brief recess for the jury

4:18 p.m. — Amber sent a Snap of Wilder pooping. She asked Wilder if he was pooping, and he said, “No Momma I not.” Amber apparently thought it was hilarious and sent it to James. Amber is visibly emotional as she recalls the video of Wilder.

4:15 p.m. — The exchange between Amber and Staley on Facebook Messenger continues to show just a random conversation between the two in which there was no real fighting. Staley tells Amber she’s his best friend.

4:12 p.m. — Messenger exchange from October 9, 2018, in which Staley thanks Amber for her help and love.

4:08 p.m. — Another text exchange between Staley and Amber shows yet another example of Staley being positive toward Wilder, then ending the exchange with off-color humor about hurting Wilder or throwing him in the tinderbox.

4:06 p.m. — A text message reveals Staley said, “I know Wilder can suck sometimes, but he’s actually enjoyable.” Defense attorney Terri Moore continues to drive home the fact that Staley was also positive toward Wilder at times during the relationship between Staley and Amber.

4:00 p.m. — Moore continues to reference Staley’s off-color sense of humor with the alleged jokes he makes about Wilder. Amber said that if she thought Staley was being serious about wanting to harm Wilder, she would’ve reacted completely differently.

3:58 p.m. — Moore asks Amber to clarify what a tinderbox is. Amber said the tinderbox is an area by the fireplace where you could transfer firewood between the outside and the inside of the home, and that Staley would joke about putting both Wilder and his daughter, Brooklyn, in the tinderbox.

3:57 p.m. — Another text message thread between Amber and Staley shown to the court by Moore shows tenderness between Staley and Wilder. Moore said again, this isn’t hatred or malice toward the child. The text also shows Wilder calling Staley “daddy” and asking for Staley to continue holding him.

3:52 p.m. — Moore suggests that the text messages she’s showing Amber, all of which took place in August 2018, don’t show a child who is scared of James, saying, “No James”, and running away from James. Also, Moore asks Amber to clarify that Staley would keep Wilder while she was working, but mostly when Brooklyn was in town.

3:50 p.m. — More texts shown to McDaniel by Moore show again that Staley expressed his desire for a future with Amber, but did not leave Wilder out.

3:49 p.m. — Another text message shows Amber referring to Wilder as a “hell child”. Amber references Wilder’s terrible twos and said “he could throw a tantrum.” Staley responds and said Wilder would do well to have a break from his mom every once in a while.

3:46 p.m. — Another text message shows James Staley and Wilder cuddling, and Staley admits Wilder is “actually pretty lovable.” Moore suggests there’s nothing hateful about that, and Amber McDaniel agrees.

3:42 p.m. — The defense admits sections of text messages already admitted into evidence as defense exhibits 13 & 14, and displays them on a projector for the court. Texts admitted by the defense show a more loving tone toward Wilder McDaniel.

3:38 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore asks Amber McDaniel about the flooring in the nursery where Wilder was found. She said there were hardwood floors and no rug. She said the crib Wilder was in originally belonged to James Staley, and had previously been used for Brooklyn, and all contents of the crib, save Wilder’s blanket, came from James Staley.

3:34 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore referred to prior text messages between Amber and Staley, particularly in reference to Wilder’s father and Amber’s current husband, Bubba McDaniel. Moore alleges Amber brought Bubba into the conversation to get under Staley’s skin. Amber said she did not believe Staley was threatening her son in that exchange.

3:29 p.m. — Amber McDaniel said she takes full responsibility for what she’s done in connection to her son’s murder, and that she does not hope for a dismissal of the charges. She said multiple times she’s unsure of what she’s going to do regarding her pending charges.

3:27 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore brought up Amber McDaniels currently pending charges in Wichita County. Moore alleges Amber was scared of Bubba McDaniel, and Amber denied that. Moore alleges Amber deleted her text messages with Staley because she didn’t want Bubba to see them. Amber denies this as the reason she deleted her messages. Amber claims she’s unsure of what she’s going to do regarding her own charges when she returns to Wichita Falls.

3:23 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore asks Amber if they were suing Staley for $1 million. She asks Amber if she wanted to “get some money out of it”, and Amber said she did not want any money. Moore then asks if Amber knew the Staley family had money, and she said yes. Moore attempts to admit the previous wrongful death lawsuit into evidence. Prosecutor Lisa Tanner objects based on relevance, Judge Young sustains the objection. Evidence is entered for the record only.

3:21 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore alleges Amber’s story is very different after she and Bubba McDaniel file a civil lawsuit against Staley in connection to Wilder’s death.

3:19 p.m. — Cross-examination by defense attorney Terri Moore of Amber McDaniel resumes.

3:07 p.m. — Judge Everett Young dismisses the jury, the court is in recess for a quick break. Testimony is expected to resume shortly. 

3:07 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore continues to press Amber McDaniel about the differences in the interviews. Prosecutor Lisa Tanner objects due to the question being asked and answered. Judge Young sustains the objection.

3:03 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore asked Amber McDaniel about her interview with police in January 2019, in which Moore alleges the story was quite different than the interviews with the police on October 11 and October 12, 2018. Moore alleges McDaniel didn’t tell police during preliminary interviews about an argument with Staley while she was bathing Wilder.

3:00 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that, in addition to Staley, Wilder would say, “No Summer” to Amber’s best friend at the time, Summer, and that he was standoffish with Bubba’s new girlfriend. She also testified that Staley’s truck was a dark grey.

2:55 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she had her phone from October 11, 2018, until October 22, 2018. She said the police had her phone for a few months. She said the police found her phone in her bed.

2:53 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified Staley would at times work odd hours preparing for tax season in October of 2018. She testified she didn’t tell detectives she’d searched Tara Campisi and Staley’s business partner, and she told the jury she didn’t recall doing that.

2:50 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she had Wilder cradled in her arms, and that Staley took Wilder while Amber was already on the floor, then positioned himself off to the side and began chest compressions.

2:46 p.m. — Amber McDaniel said Staley dialed 911, then threw the phone to Amber as he attempted to perform CPR on Wilder. She said he had completed one and one-half chest compressions, then Amber told him to stop because she didn’t want Wilder’s bones to be broken.

2:44 p.m. — Amber McDaniel describes where she went when she found Wilder deceased in the nursery of Staley’s residence. She said she saw James in the living room, and that he jumped up when she was screaming. She said Staley started running to find a phone to call 911.

2:41 p.m. — Moore continues asking Amber McDaniel about the morning Wilder was found deceased inside Staley’s home.

2:37 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore said during early interviews, she believed Wilder had fallen out of the crib. She told police Wilder didn’t have any injuries in the past 72 hours prior to his death.

2:34 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore said after Amber had time to think about it, she told police they hadn’t been fighting, that they were talking about taking the kids on vacation, and that Staley had been up for two days, but he’s fine.

2:31 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore admits a video clip of Amber’s interview with police on October 12, 2018, into evidence. Some technical difficulties ensue.

2:28 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore asked Amber if she remembers telling police that there were no arguments in the house the night before Wilder was found deceased. She said Amber told the jury earlier today that there in fact were arguments, despite what she told police on October 11 and October 12, 2018.

2:25 p.m. — Defense attorney Terri Moore questioned Amber McDaniel about the interview she had with Det. Chad Nelson the day Wilder was found deceased. Moore suggested Det. Nelson “planted the seed” that foul play was involved in Wilder’s death.

2:23 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she doesn’t remember saying she thought Wilder had fallen out of the crib to ambulance technicians. She did say she remembered saying she thought Wilder fell out of the crib to her mother and possibly police officers.

2:22 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she met with Prosecutor Lisa Tanner on the Sunday before the trial began and spent about an hour and a half together. Amber said she was talking through her text messages ahead of her testimony today. She said she hadn’t met with either Tanner or John Gillespie at any other times ahead of her testimony today.

2:20 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that she met with Prosecutor Lisa Tanner a few weeks after the trial was set. Amber testified Tanner asked her to read the transcripts of interviews with police. Amber said she finished going through them last week. She said she read through those interviews one time.

2:19 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she’s met with the prosecuting attorneys two times in preparation for her testimony. She said she’d spoken with Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie two or three times over the course of the investigation before she was arrested on her pending charges.

2:16 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified after being fired from dispatch, she became a bartender. Terri Moore asked if she was also a regular drinker, and Amber said she did drink. She said she’s able to handle her liquor pretty well. She testified that she never told responding officers she was drunk the night before Wilder was found deceased, and that she did not believe she was drunk that night.

2:14 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she worked for dispatch. She said she did not know Det. Nelson, responding AMR paramedics, and she knew of Sgt. Eipper through the news. She said she’d heard the name of other responding officers, but didn’t really know them.

2:11 p.m. — Cross-examination by Staley’s defense team begins, with Terri Moore questioning Amber McDaniel on the witness stand.

2:11 p.m. — Amber testifies to her responsibility in the events leading up to Wilder’s death, and that she never did anything to hurt Wilder. With that, Tanner passes the witness.

2:10 p.m. — Amber testified that she and Bubba eventually got back together while they were grieving the loss of their child. She said she had remained best friends with Bubba throughout their relationship. She testified Bubba has stood by her even after she was charged, and they have a new son together, Phoenix, who has kept her alive. Through tears, Amber testified that after she was arrested for child endangerment, she was at her lowest point and did not want to go on. She said right after she got out of jail, she found out she was pregnant with Phoenix, and it’s given her a reason to keep living.

2:07 p.m. — Amber testified that she and her now-husband and Wilder’s father, Bubba McDaniel, were frustrated with the pace of the investigation. She said eventually, a campaign called Justice For Wilder was started, with Bubba spearheading most of it. Amber testifies about the civil lawsuit that was filed.

2:03 p.m. — Staley snaps Amber the video made the night that Wilder was alleged to have fallen off the bed. Staley said, “You never knew me. I would never be capable of hurting that boy.” Amber testified that she is now aware of video evidence that Staley in fact hurt her son. Lisa Tanner alleges Staley sent her a video from the night we now know Staley hurt Wilder, to try and convince her he couldn’t hurt Wilder, then asks Amber, “Do you know what gaslighting is? Do you know what manipulation is?”

2:00 p.m. — Staley snaps Amber a picture of Wilder and himself, from when Wilder had a bruise on his forehead.

1:59 p.m. — More Snaps received from Staley, including, “The lock on the front door is the same, so I guess if you hate me as much as your mom does, you can give the key to Bubba.”

1:57 p.m. — Snaps received by Amber from Staley after Wilder’s death are admitted into evidence. Amber reads the snaps to the jury, which seems very apologetic about what she’s going through, and that she’s the most amazing woman he’s ever met.

1:52 p.m. — Amber then testifies she’s also charged with the felony charge of endangering a child, which is currently pending. Prosecutor Lisa Tanner asked if she was aware that at any time, she can stop testifying, and Amber says yes. She testified that Staley tried to reach out to her after Wilder died. She said she provided Det. Nelson with screenshots of messages sent to her from Staley.

1:49 p.m. — Amber testified she deleted James Staley from her phone, including his contact, pictures of him, and their text conversation. She’s been charged with tampering with evidence for deleting those messages. She testifies she has no deal in place, and she’s testifying on Monday at her own peril, “because I owe it to my son.”

1:47 p.m. — Amber testified after the factory reset, all her pictures of Wilder as a baby, all text messages, and all other data were completely erased from her phone. She said the picture of Wilder’s bruising was something she’d sent to her boss before the factory reset.

1:45 p.m. — Amber testified she voluntarily let police look through her phone on October 12, 2018, and then she was given it back to you. She testified that the police told her they might need it again. She said she voluntarily gave police her phone again on October 22, 2018, including all passwords to all social media, email, and other accounts, including her phone’s passcode. She said she doesn’t recall whether or not the police asked if she deleted anything. She told the jury she deleted all text messages between herself and Staley, and she had to do a factory reset of her phone in September 2018 due to issues she was having with her phone.

1:41 p.m. — Amber testifies she went through a more extensive interview with Det. Nelson in January 2019, and then another interview that took place with a different investigator later that month. She said she yet again gave an interview with a third investigator in July 2021. She testified she did so voluntarily. She said she provided law enforcement with DNA, palm prints, fingerprints, and footprints, all voluntarily.

1:39 p.m. — Amber testifies about a time Staley said during a text exchange, “Maybe he will get SIDS”, in reference to Wilder. Amber pushed back and told Staley not to say that, that it was not funny. Staley said he would never wish for something like that. Ultimately, Amber ended up apologizing for that exchange. Tanner asks Amber to clarify and “help her out”. Amber begins to cry and testified that that’s kind of how their relationship went.

1:36 p.m. — Amber testifies about a text in which she refers to putting Wilder back in the dumpster. Amber testified that Staley had mentioned finding Wilder and Amber in the dumpster, an apparent reference to their disparity in income levels. She also references calling Wilder an “extra person of color” in reference to Staley using racial slurs to describe Wilder. Amber testified that after a period of time, she became numb to the constant barrage of insults from Staley.

1:34 p.m. — Testimony resumes, with Prosecutor Lisa Tanner continuing to question Amber McDaniel, Wilder’s mother. Amber testified she stopped pushing back about negative statements defendant James Staley would make about Wilder because Staley would make her feel crazy. She said at times, she would join in the insults of her son.

12:19 p.m. — Judge Young dismisses to a recess. Testimony will resume around 1:30 p.m.

12:18 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified on October 12, 2018, that she knew in her heart that James Staley had killed her baby. She said it felt like she’d failed her baby.

12:17 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that she had a thought that Wilder may have fallen out of the crib in the hours after Wilder’s death. She said she thought it was an accident at first. She said she began to think it wasn’t an accident after Det. Chad Nelson asked her about blood in the crib. She said she asked to speak with Det. Nelson again the day after Wilder was found deceased in Staley’s home.

12:14 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she stayed close to Wilder’s body until the child was taken away for medical examiners to take pictures. She testified that Staley never came up to her to hug her, console her, or comfort her in any way. She said Sgt. Eipper came and asked if he wanted to find her pants. She said she then saw James come around from the kitchen, still away from her. She said she looked at him and said, “I don’t know what to do.” She said Staley responded, “What?” Amber again said, “I don’t know what to do.” She said Staley responded, “Oh, me either.”

12:11 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she found James in the living room, and she was screaming for Staley to get her a phone. She said he dialed 9-1-1 on the phone and threw the phone at her on the floor. She said she was trying to hold her baby and get the phone. She said after she spoke with dispatchers, she threw the phone back down and ran outside to await AMR. She said Staley at a point tried to give Wilder CPR, but she knew Wilder had been dead for a while. She said Staley performed maybe one chest compression before she grabbed Wilder and went outside. She said first responders were there almost immediately.

12:07 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that when she went into the room, she saw Wilder’s skin was discolored and blood was coming from his mouth. She said his arm wasn’t moving and it was stiff. She said she still tried to rub his chest, even though she knew rigor mortis had set in. She said she grabbed Wilder in her arms and began running through the house, trying to find a phone and screaming for Staley.

12:05 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified about the morning she found Wilder dead in Staley’s residence. She said when she was awoken, she was startled because she knew she had class and couldn’t find her phone. She said she didn’t recall Staley coming to bed. She said she turned into the hallway and that sunlight was coming into the hallway. She thought at that moment Staley had Wilder up somewhere in the house. She said as she was passing the doorway to Wilder’s room, she saw that Wilder was not in the crib. She said she noticed something was on the floor in front of the crib. She said she discovered it was Wilder on the floor. Amber, through tears, recounts the morning she found her son deceased. She said it at first looked like he was asleep.

12:01 p.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she told investigators multiple times the next day she didn’t know when she went to bed, but eventually gave them the best guess of about 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. that night. She said she was often awake well past midnight, so her definition of not staying up late is still pretty late for most people.

11:59 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she realized Staley wasn’t going to come back out to apologize, so she left the pool after finishing the wine. She said she got a t-shirt out of Staley’s closet, put it on, and went into the master bedroom. She said she eventually laid down, not remembering whether she plugged her phone in, or what time she went to bed.

11:56 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified she and Staley went outside to go swimming. She said she’d finished off a bottle of wine. She said they both got into the pool without any clothes on. She said Staley was still being standoffish and was on his phone the entire time they were in the pool. She again asked what was wrong, and Staley got mad at her and left to go back inside. She said she remained in the pool, expecting Staley to return and apologize, but he did not. She said she stayed in the pool and finished the bottle of wine.

11:54 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that they moved into the kitchen, and he was eating chips and salsa. She said they’d just found out the mother of Staley’s children was pregnant. She said Staley told her to get a passport so they could take a trip without the kids. She said she wanted to take the kids to Disneyworld. She said Staley would “cry the whole time and [expletive] ruin it.” She said she again began crying.

11:52 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that she asked Staley why he was being standoffish, to which Staley replied he’d been awake for two days and she was nagging him. She said Staley told her that he’d been ignoring Wilder all day, but that he was still being a [expletive] to him. She said she began to cry about it, that talking about Wilder hurt her feelings. She said Staley asked her if she was going to drink the alcoholic beverages that he’d made for her, and she did.

11:49 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that on the night of October 10, 2018, Staley texted Amber that if Wilder starts crying, he’s going to have to “quit ignoring him and beat him” with a laughing face emoji. Amber testified that she thought he was joking at the time. She said she put her ear up to the door of Wilder’s bedroom and didn’t hear anything, so she assumed Wilder was asleep.

11:47 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that Wilder wanted his CatBoy toy and that she would go and find his CatBoy toy. She said she believed CatBoy was in the house. She said she left the bedroom door cracked and told Wilder she’d be right back. She said she then went looking for the CatBoy toy. She said she was still unable to find CatBoy. She said she got a little frantic trying to find the doll. She said Staley saw her being frantic, trying to find the toy, Amber testified that Staley told her Wilder didn’t need the toy and that he’d already shut the door. She said she promised Wilder she’d find it. She said Staley told her not to go back into the bedroom, that Wilder was asleep and that he’d shut the door.

11:43 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified through tears about the pajamas she put Wilder in, then that she danced around the bathroom with Wilder singing his favorite song, then that Wilder put his head on her shoulder, indicating he was tired. She said she went into the bedroom by herself to put Wilder into the crib for bed. She said when she put Wilder down, she told Wilder, “Don’t say ‘No James’, that’s mean.” Wilder said, “I’m mean, Mama.” Amber said, “Do you get scared when James is loud,” and Wilder said, “Yes.” Amber said, “You don’t have to be afraid as long as Mama’s here.”

11:40 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that when Staley came in the bathroom, Wilder began saying, “No James”, and that Staley began mocking Wilder and told him to “shut the [expletive] up.” Amber said she got up and told Staley she didn’t know what his problem was but that he needed to go somewhere and cool off.

11:38 a.m. — Amber McDaniel said Wilder was in low water in the bathtub, playing with his bath toys. Amber said she took a quick shower while Wilder was in the bath, then when she was done taking the shower, she bathed Wilder. She said Wilder was in the tub for a little while. She said while she was bathing Wilder and trying to wind him down, Staley had started playing loud music. She said she hollered at him to turn the music down. He then showed up in the bathroom with a glass of wine and a shot glass and set them on the bathroom sink.

11:36 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that Amber’s about to study while Wilder is on the couch watching Spongebob. She said James came in the room, and Wilder said “No James.” She said Staley got mad and said, “Spongebob is [expletive] stupid.” She said, “He’s two years old, and he wants to watch Spongebob.” She said he went into another room, then comes back in the room and said he didn’t want to fight. She said she was going to take a shower and Wilder was going to take a bath.

11:34 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that James Staley called her on the evening of October 10, 2018, and that he needed a specific type of paper towel from Walmart while she was out. She said she bought the paper towels and then went to the residence on Irving Place. She said it was dark out. She said when she arrived at the residence on Irving Place, James was already at the residence.

11:32 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that she and Wilder then went to Target. She said the picked up a bottle of wine and maybe a few other things. She said Nancy Staley gave Wilder a set of toy keys they’d found at the Fain House earlier. She said she took a picture of Wilder playing with the keys and sent it to Nancy Staley.

11:30 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that on the evening of October 10, 2018, Staley and his friends who were helping him move were going out to dinner, and she said they invited Wilder and her to attend dinner with them. She said she declined since Wilder had just eaten. She said they went over to the residence on Irving Place to await them to drop off the last load. She said she then went to her parent’s home to get Wilder’s stuff for the next day.

11:28 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified Staley was moving things from a residence his family owned on Fain, and that they’d found a tenant, so Staley had to get all of the family’s things out of that house. Amber testified that Staley’s mother and a few friends were also there helping Staley move things. She said Wilder had no contact with Staley while they were at the Fain house. She said she just hung out for a bit and kept Wilder entertained in the backyard.

11:26 a.m. — Amber McDaniel said she changed Wilder’s clothes after she picked him up from daycare before they went to Whataburger. Amber has testified that both photos admitted into evidence today are still on her phone. Amber said they took it to go and Wilder ate it at the Fain house. Amber said, “Wilder loved any kind of food”, and that he had a cheeseburger, fries, and a Sprite.

11:23 a.m. — Amber McDaniel is in tears as she recalls that she woke Wilder up, and he was excited to see them. She said they went back to Amber’s parent’s house for about an hour. She said Staley had texted her that he was moving stuff into the residence on Irving Place. She said she stopped at Whataburger to get Wilder something to eat, then took a picture of Wilder.

11:21 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that she and her dad had discussed Wilder and Staley’s relationship and that she’d encouraged Staley to just ignore him. She said she missed Wilder and wanted to pick him up early from daycare, and Amber’s father wanted to see him too, so they went together and picked Wilder up from daycare early. She said when they arrived at daycare, she said Wilder was asleep during naptime. She said she took a picture of Wilder napping. That picture is then admitted into evidence.

11:19 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner then begins to discuss October 10 and 11, 2018. Amber McDaniel testified that she had one class that day, that Wilder was in daycare, and that she offered to take her dad out to lunch. She said her dad accepted and they went to On The Border. She said she’s very close with her stepfather, who she refers to as her dad.

11:17 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner said she’s lost track of how many times Amber had left and gone back to Staley in a short time. Tanner asked Amber if that seemed normal and if it was the best thing for her child and for her, and Amber said no. Tanner said, “Now you have to live with that,” and Amber responds, “I do,” and begins to cry.

11:15 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified after that night she “didn’t care” where the relationship went from there. She also said she knew Staley was drunk that night. She said Staley began texting her around noon the next day that Brooklyn missed them and didn’t know where they were at. Amber testified that Staley was hungover and she went back to the residence to take care of Brooklyn. She said she and Staley made up at that point and continued their relationship.

11:13 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that she went to stay with her parents after Staley kicked them out. She said Staley texted her the next day, to the effect of “go die” and “I’ll never see you again.”

11:10 a.m. — Counsel leaves the bench, and Judge Young sustains Moore’s objection. Prosecutor Lisa Tanner questions about a disagreement that night. Amber McDaniel testifies that Staley called her crazy and told her to get her things and get out. She said Staley had slammed the door and was being loud. She said Wilder then woke up crying, and she went to the crib and got Wilder. She said Staley started cussing at her and calling Wilder a crybaby. She said it went on for a bit.

11:07 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner, Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie, and Staley’s defense team of Terri Moore and Mark Daniel are still speaking with Judge Everett Young. It’s unclear what the issue is at this time.

11:05 a.m. — Amber testified that after Amber’s parents left on October 6, 2018, they’d put Brooklyn and Wilder to bed. She said she and James had gotten into the pool. She said she heard a noise coming from the bushes, and that James had fired a gunshot into the air. Defense attorney Terri Moore objects, then counsel is called to approach the bench.

11:03 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that James Staley had been drinking before Amber’s family had arrived for the cookout on October 6, 2018. She said he continued drinking after her parents had gotten there. She testified that Staley was “extremely loud” and “kind of all over the place”, and that “you could tell he’d had one too many” that night.

11:01 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner fast-forwards to the weekend of October 6, 2018. Amber testified her parents were going to come over to the Staley residence, as well as Amber’s sister’s family, to meet Amber’s new boyfriend, James Staley. She said she thought it went “okay”. She said she’d asked Staley to ignore Wilder, but he didn’t. She testified Staley would more or less pester Wilder, and Wilder would respond, “No James.”

10:59 a.m. — Amber testified she never saw Staley say any of the negative things about Wilder to the child. She said if he would’ve ever done so, it would’ve been a “game changer.”

10:57 a.m. — Amber testified that her relationship with Staley seemed to be progressing in the way it should’ve gone. She said in the beginning, she pushed back when Staley would make “dark jokes” about Wilder, but said at this point, she’d stopped pushing back. She said Staley would make her feel like she was crazy for taking his “jokes” about Wilder seriously. Amber agreed that the jokes were in poor taste. Amber then testified that as time went on, Wilder wanted to be around James less and less. She said things started amazingly and that Wilder was happy and excited at first, but she said Wilder quickly hated going to Staley’s residence. Amber said Staley would get angry and call Wilder names in response.

10:54 a.m. — A text message shows Staley saying he doesn’t think Wilder can even get out of the crib. Staley said “he’s been a champ about sleeping” in the crib. This exchange is from October 2, 2018, nine days before Wilder was found deceased.

10:51 a.m. — September 26, 2018, Amber texted Staley that she’d put Wilder in the crib and he’d fallen asleep with no problems. Prosecutor Lisa Tanner continues to show text messages between Amber and Staley in which Wilder was observed having no issues sleeping in a crib.

10:47 a.m. — Amber testified that Wilder had never attempted to get out of the crib, whether that be at Staley’s home, Bubba McDaniel’s apartment, or with her parents. On August 23, 2018, Amber texted Staley that he’s never gotten out of the Pack’N’Play before.

10:45 a.m. — Amber testifies that her mother had “made a big deal” about Wilder sleeping in the bed with her and Staley and that they should get Wilder a crib. She said soon thereafter, she and Wilder had gone to sleep, but when she woke up, Wilder wasn’t there. Staley had retrieved a crib from another home he owned, Brooklyn’s old crib. She said she saw it as a sweet gesture by Staley, and that it made their lives a little easier.

10:43 a.m. — Testimony resumes with Amber McDaniel on the witness stand and Prosecutor Lisa Tanner questioning her about her relationship with the defendant, James Staley.

10:30 a.m. — Judge Everett Young dismisses the courtroom to recess. Testimony will resume shortly.

10:28 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that Staley kept Wilder in the days following September 1, 2018, because she didn’t want to put him in daycare for fear people would assume Wilder was abused. She said this is the biggest red flag of all that she missed. She begins to look brokenhearted as Judge Everett Young dismisses for recess.

10:25 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner shows Amber a text message from two days later in which she asks Staley if he’s going to be keeping Wilder while she’s in class during the fall semester of 2018.

10:23 a.m. — Amber testified the bruising on Wilder’s face stayed around for a while. She testified that she saw Nancy Staley, James’ mother, who saw the bruising and asked her if James was “back on drugs.” She said she immediately quit the job at the bar without putting in a two-week notice. She said James began to pay her bills. She said she can’t recall if James would keep Wilder alone after this point in time.

10:19 a.m. — The courtroom is shown the picture Amber took of the bruising on Wilder’s head and face following this night. The photo shows significant bruising both on Wilder’s forehead and on his cheek. She originally sent this picture to her bar manager to let her know she was not lying about why she left before the bar was closed down. This photo would later be given to law enforcement following Wilder’s death.

10:16 a.m. — Amber testified she had no idea about the video of James Staley slapping Wilder until a few months ago and said she still hasn’t seen the video.

10:15 a.m. — Amber recalls arriving at Staley’s home on that night, saying she left the bar early and drove straight to Staley’s house. She said when she got there, Staley was taking shots of Jagermeister, and Wilder wasn’t crying. She testified that later, Staley spanked his daughter for “lying” about what happened to Wilder. She later asked Wilder what happened, and Wilder said he’d fallen off the bed, just as Staley had.

10:12 a.m. — Amber testified that she thought Staley was “freaking out” because she wasn’t answering. Amber testified Staley gave her a lot of ultimatums about her job at that point in time. She testified that she pushed back. She testified Staley reiterated the disparity between his income and her and her family’s income. She said she didn’t want to be financially dependent on Staley, because her mother raised her to never be dependent on anyone. Tanner reiterates that this point in the relationship is only about five or six weeks since they began dating.

10:10 a.m. — Amber recalls a video Staley sent her on Snapchat with Wilder, in which Staley said that Wilder’s got a “shiner.” Amber is shown a still image from the video sent to Amber via Snapchat from Staley.

10:07 a.m. — Amber recalls the night of September 1, 2018, and said the bar was very busy. She said she checked her phone after the bar closed and she had a “barrage” of text messages and Snaps on her phone. She said she also had “very many” missed calls, which she estimated to be about 20. She said she didn’t see any of the missed texts and calls and Snaps until the bar closed. She said the texts started as Staley just letting her know Wilder was okay, but the messages became more and more hateful toward her.

10:04 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner moves forward to discuss September 1, 2018, and asks Amber McDaniel if she remembers that night. She again begins to cry and says, “Yes.” She said her bartending job had not yet been a major source of contention between herself and Staley, but it was after this night. She said she was closing the bar that night at 2 a.m. Typically, her parents would keep Wilder when she worked late nights at the bar, however, her stepfather was having a medical procedure done this night.

10:01 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testifies about a time when a small Mickey Mouse figurine that Wilder loved was found with his ears burned off and his arms burned as well. Amber then testifies that Staley told her the “Kitchen Monster” had done that to the Mickey figure. She then reads text messages between herself and Staley from August 15, 2018, in reference to the Mickey Mouse toy of Wilder’s. That toy is then admitted into evidence. Amber cries as she holds the toy to show the jury. She again said it was one of Wilder’s favorite toys.

9:57 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner asked what Amber thought about the “ugly” things Staley would say about Wilder. Amber responded that Staley had a very dark sense of humor and that she thought Staley was either making a joke or attempting to get under her skin.

9:55 a.m. — Amber McDaniel reads a text exchange between herself and Staley in which she admits to feeling uncomfortable bringing Wilder around James, because “Wilder is everything to me.” Amber begins to cry again, as she continues reading that she didn’t want to feel on edge if Wilder cried around James.

9:51 a.m. — Amber begins to cry as she admits this interaction was a “giant red flag” that she ignored. Prosecutor Lisa Tanner reiterates that she’s admitted to the jury she has some responsibility in the events leading up to Wilder’s death. She then testifies that future insults by Staley toward Wilder were interpreted by her as a way for him to get under her skin.

9:48 a.m. — Amber testifies she didn’t know what the word “culled” meant at the time Staley sent the message about Wilder and Bubba. She testified that the next day, Staley said he was sorry, that he was off his mood stabilizers, and he shouldn’t have spoken about Wilder like that. She said she knew he had depression. She said at the time, it seemed to make sense, and that he was saying insulting things about Wilder to get under her skin. She thought he was trying to hurt her by saying what he said about Wilder.

9:45 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner goes back through text message exchanges and Facebook messages between Amber and Staley from the night in August when they had a “break-up”. Amber testifies she was pushing back at James, who was insulting Wilder in the messages.

9:41 a.m. — Amber said things were going really great at first, and she was “all in”. She said the first sign of trouble came when Amber had Wilder sitting in her lap when they were eating. She said Staley got mad and said she was babying Wilder, then asked them to leave.

9:38 a.m. — Amber testified that she began staying over at Staley’s residence within three weeks of the beginning of their relationship and that Wilder would stay over too. She said Staley seemed to be financially successful. She said Staley would also work, so when he was at work, she would watch Brooklyn. Amber testified that originally, the four of them, Amber, James, Wilder, and Brooklyn, would all sleep together in a king-sized bed. She said there was a body pillow on the edge of the bed so Wilder wouldn’t roll off, and he never did.

9:35 a.m. — Amber testified that she initially liked James Staley. She said he was charming and there wasn’t much to dislike initially. Amber testified that Wilder went just about everywhere with her. Amber said within two weeks, the relationship evolved from playdates for the kids into a dating relationship, and quickly escalated into a serious relationship. She testified that in hindsight, it was “very fast.”

9:32 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testified that James Staley was very good with Wilder in the beginning. She recalled a time when Staley took Wilder to get a popsicle in his house when Amber and Brooklyn stayed in the pool. She said Staley and Wilder came out laughing, which was a big deal to her. She said Wilder was a shy kid until he got to know someone.

9:30 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner asks about the summer of 2018 when Amber McDaniel met James Staley. She identified Staley to the court by an article of clothing. Staley was staring directly at Amber when she identified him, with visible anger displayed on his face. Amber testified she met Staley through her best friend at the time. Staley immediately invited Amber and Wilder over to swim with him and his daughter, Brooklyn. She said Wilder and Brooklyn got along, and she enjoyed seeing the two children play together.

9:26 a.m. — Amber remembers a time when Wilder was 9 months old, he was crawling after their dog, and he slipped and bumped his head on the floor. Then in February 2018, she was standing on Amber’s feet, slipped, and bumped his lip on the coffee table. Both times, she took Wilder to the doctor, and both times, Wilder was fine. Tanner asks Amber if at times she was an overprotective mother, and Amber responds, “Yes.”

9:25 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testifies that while Amber was bartending after she and Bubba split up, her parents or Bubba’s parents would watch him.

9:22 a.m. — Testifies that Amber and Bubba, Wilder’s parents, split up when Wilder was a little over a year old, in 2017. She signed papers saying Bubba didn’t have to pay her child support, and she had custody of Wilder. Bubba was still involved in Wilder’s life at this point. At this point, Bubba was working in the oil field in Midland, Texas.

9:18 a.m. — After Wilder was born, Amber, Bubba, and Wilder moved in with Amber’s parents. During this time, she was a dispatcher. She was a dispatcher for a little over a year and a half. She testified she was terminated because she had lied on her application to join the police academy regarding her history of drug use.

9:14 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testifies she’d miscarried before she became pregnant with Wilder. She said she and Bubba planned Wilder but did not feel getting married was necessary.

9:11 a.m. — Amber McDaniel testifies she never harmed Wilder, and that she did not smother Wilder the night of October 10, 2018, or on October 11, 2018. She said she was here to own her part in Wilder’s death. She said she has a responsibility because she ignored every red flag, and four and a half years later, she still hasn’t forgiven herself.

9:10 a.m. — Prosecutor Lisa Tanner has called Amber Odom McDaniel as their next witness. She is the mother of Jason Wilder McDaniel, who was found dead inside the home of James Staley on October 11, 2018.

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.