FORT WORTH (KFDX/KJTL) — The third day of testimony in the capital murder trial of James Irven Staley, III, concluded around 3:45 p.m. on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.
Following a recess for lunch after the testimonies of Detective Chad Nelson and the aunt of James Staley’s daughter, Amber Campisi, testimony resumed on Wednesday afternoon.
First to take the stand on Wednesday afternoon was Betty Dean, a retired detective with the Wichita Falls Police Department who spent 30 years there, and responded to Staley’s residence on October 11, 2018.
Dean testified that after she arrived on the scene, she saw blood around Wilder’s mouth, then checked the frenulum, or the small sliver of tissue connecting the top of the gums and the lip on the inside of the mouth.
It has previously been discussed during proceedings that a sign of death by suffocation or asphyxiation is damaging or tearing of the frenulum. Dean noted Wilder’s frenulum was not damaged
Dean later testified that she was present at Staley’s residence during the execution of a search warrant on October 22, 2018, and that she took Staley’s phone, but he declined to give her the passcode.
During cross-examination, Dean testified that Detective Nelson was leaning heavily on her during the investigation, as it was his first homicide investigation.
She also said that although she investigated Wilder’s body, she noted that she observed no injuries to Wilder’s tongue, nose, face, or frenulum, nor did she find any type of fabric in his mouth.
Following Dean’s testimony, WFPD Officer Walter Vermillion was called to take the stand and testified about his role in collecting evidence on October 11, 2018, saying he removed a Mac Mini and HP laptop from the residence.
The last witness to take the stand was Amber Koch, a former co-worker of Staley’s, who testified she received a video from Staley of Wilder apparently pooping, which she was unsure of why it was sent to her.
Koch testified of Staley’s apprehension of being a stepfather to Wilder, and she testified that he was manipulative.
Testimony is set to resume on Thursday, March 2, 2023, at 9 a.m.
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.