WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Eighth Administrative Judicial Region Judge David Evans appointed former 2nd Court of Appeals Judge Lee Gabriel to preside over the trial of James Staley in 89th district court.
Gabriel is also a former Denton County district judge.
The case was originally assigned to 30th District Judge David McKnight but he recused himself because he once represented Bubba McDaniel, a possible witness, and father of the victim, while an attorney.
It was then transferred to 89th District Judge Charles Barnard, who also filed for recusal because of a possible conflict.
Staley has a pretrial scheduled on August 12.
He is accused of killing two-year-old Wilder McDaniel.
The toddler was found dead in October of 2018 in the home Staley and Wilder’s mother lived in.
Staley has at least two veteran trial attorneys retained. One is a former first assistant district attorney for Dallas County who also spent four years as a federal prosecutor.