Motion grants James Staley new attorneys, including former federal prosecutor

Local News

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — Capitol murder suspect James Staley has new legal counsel in two veteran trial lawyers out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including one attorney who reportedly tried the largest child internet pornography case in U.S. history.

In October, Staley was indicted for the capital murder of a child and first-degree felony murder in connection with the death of Wilder McDaniel, 2. The punishment for the capital murder charge would be life without parole or death. The Wichita County District Attorney’s Office is still conducting a review to determine whether to seek the death penalty.

On Tuesday, a motion was filed in 30th District Court in Wichita County to replace Staley’s attorney, James Burnham, with Mark G. Daniel and Terri Moore. On Wednesday, the motion was granted by Judge Jeff McKnight.

Moore has 14 years of experience at the state level as a prosecutor, over four years experience as a federal prosecutor where she tried the largest child internet pornography case in U.S. history, according to her website. She is also a former First Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County.

Terri Moore

Moore’s website states she also helped establish Dallas County’s Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), which uses DNA evidence to exonerate those wrongfully convicted of crimes, and further investigates questionable convictions that lack DNA evidence.

Mark G. Daniel

According to his website, Daniel is a pre-eminent criminal defense trial specialist with more than 37 years of criminal trial experience. His trial experience includes representation in homicide matters, sexual assault accusations, drug offenses, and all types of felony and misdemeanor accusations, including driving while intoxicated allegations. Daniel is also a former president of the Tarrant County Bar Association.

McDaniel’s body was found inside Staley’s Wichita Falls home on October 11, 2018. Wilder’s autopsy report was ruled — while suspicious of homicide — undetermined. Then, two years later, investigators had a breakthrough in the case. In September, District Attorney John Gillespie said a medical expert reviewed Wilder’s autopsy and provided key medical evidence that will be sued in the trial as circumstantial evidence.

Staley is out on a $1.2 million bond. Under his bond conditions, he is required to wear a GPS monitor. Travel restrictions also restrict Staley to four Oklahoma counties. He may also travel to two other Oklahoma counties to work for an oil lease business. Any travel outside those counties must be approved in advance with the exception of travel to Tulsa County to locate a new office and home. Staley can travel to Dallas County to see his legal counsel and his doctor.

Staley’s trial is scheduled to take place in 2021.

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