WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — 1,614 days passed between October 11, 2018, the day Wilder McDaniel was found murdered, and Monday, March 13, 2023, the day James Irven Staley, III, was found guilty of taking Wilder’s life and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Following a hearing held on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, in the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Tarrant County, Staley was declared indigent and the court appointed an attorney to represent him during the process of appealing his conviction.
John Gillespie, Wichita County’s District Attorney, who lead the prosecution in Staley’s capital murder trial, said Tuesday, March 14, 2023, marked the first day since he took office that Wilder’s death wasn’t an open case.
“I woke up Tuesday morning with a lightness that I haven’t had in the entire four years plus that this has been pending,” Gillespie said.
For the first time since January 1, 2019, when Gillespie was sworn in as the District Attorney, there were answers. There was closure.
There was justice for Wilder.
“It was a long time coming, and it was a lot of teamwork, but we are finally there,” Gillespie said. “The world knows what he did, the jury knew what he did, and he was convicted and convicted relatively quickly of that.”
The Tarrant County jury took less than four hours to return a unanimous decision.
“It was kind of fun to watch the reality hit him because he had been so overconfident this whole time,” Gillespie said.
Following the reading of the guilty verdict at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth, Gillespie said he wasn’t going to be outspent by Staley. He wanted to make sure that Staley’s wealth wouldn’t secure his freedom. As of Thursday, March 16, 2023, Staley has neither.
“All he has to his name now is a pickup truck,” Gillespie said. “He signed a power of attorney to a relative to sell the pickup truck.”
At the hearing held in Fort Worth on Wednesday, March 15, Staley was declared “too poor to employ counsel”. Judge Everett Young ordered the court to appoint an attorney to represent Staley during the appeal process.
“They brought him down yesterday in a paper gown because he’s suicidal, so he can’t have normal clothing on,” Gillespie said. “He wept through the entire proceedings. He grabbed his lawyers, crying, I guess for himself. I guarantee you there were no tears shed for the little boy that he murdered.”
On October 11, 2018, everything was taken from the loved ones of Wilder McDaniel. Now, sentenced to life in prison, wearing a paper gown without a dollar to his name, everything has been taken from Staley.
Justice for Wilder, indeed.
“I don’t have any sympathy for him,” Gillespie said. “He started out a rich psychopath, and he ends this case a poor psychopath who will be told what to do for the rest of his life.”
Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for more from Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie regarding the capital murder trial of James Irven Staley, III.