WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — A judge has ordered a change of venue for the trial of James Staley, who is charged with the murder of two-year-old Wilder McDaniel in 2018.

Judge Everett Young’s decision was signed on Wednesday, August 10, 2022, which agreed with the defense’s motion from May 2022 that Staley cannot receive a fair and impartial trial in Wichita County.

Staley’s trial will now take place in Tarrant County District Court in Fort Worth, according to Judge Young’s decision.

The decision comes exactly three months after the original motion was filed in 89th District Court.

Judge Young said media coverage of the trial has been pervasive and mostly prejudicial against Staley and sympathetic to McDaniel’s family, though he said the coverage has been mostly factual and not inflammatory.

According to Judge Young, the case has received more extensive coverage than any other case in Wichita County in the past several years.

Further, Judge Young said most of the inflammatory information has been initiated by Wilder’s father, Bubba McDaniel, who the judge said promoted a threat to kill Staley on October 26, 2018, with a $10,000 reward to anyone providing his location.

Staley’s defense team submitted additional reasons for a venue change in July 2022, one of which was the fact that the Wichita County Courthouse has a single elevator that currently does not operate.

Judge Young said the faulty elevator in the Wichita County Courthouse was a moot point in granting the change of venue since Staley is out of jail on bond.

This is a breaking news story. Stick with Texoma’s Homepage for updates as they become available.

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