WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A new argument for a change of venue for the James Staley capital murder trial has been submitted by his defense team, which included the elevator problem at the Wichita County Courthouse.
Attorneys have been awaiting a ruling from appointed Judge Everett Young on whether the trial will be moved to another county.
Staley is charged with the murder of two-year-old Wilder McDaniel in 2018.
On Tuesday, July 26, Lisa Tanner, the special assistant district attorney who is assisting prosecutors, filed a response to two new arguments she said were filed just that day by the defense.
She said the new arguments are a final attempt to persuade the court to move the trial.
She said the first of the new arguments called for the move because some of the attorneys and witnesses live outside Wichita County. She said a majority of the witnesses being called to testify live in Wichita County and moving a trial for the convenience of parties involved is not a valid reason for a change of venue.
The argument concerning the elevator situation at the courthouse states that the main elevator has broken down and the old jail elevator is now being used for those unable to use stairs to get to the courtrooms.
She said the defense’s point that due process rights of a defendant prohibit jurors from seeing him in handcuffs or restraints is a “spurious” argument, in that Staley is out on bond and would not be coming to court from jail.
Tanner said regardless, the court should easily be able to arrange things so that jurors can come into court “without suffering prejudice.”
She said there is still an operable elevator in use, and that trials and court hearings have been proceeding without problems.
Finally, she said if, after considering all these points, the judge does move the trial elsewhere, they request it be moved to adjoining Wilbarger County, or if not there, to consider Taylor, Potter or Randall counties.