Lawyers for the man charged with the murder of 2-year-old Jason Wilder McDaniel are asking for a change of venue, citing vigilante threats, news reports and social media while criticizing the Justice for Wilder campaign, the district attorney and other members of law enforcement. community, according to court records.
Attorneys for James Irven Staley III filed the motion Wednesday in the 30th District Court on the day of a preliminary hearing for the murder case.
The Wichita County District Attorney’s Office must file an objection to the motion and evidence challenging the location change request before an upcoming hearing in the murder case of a 38-year-old Okmulgee, Oklahoma man.
Come back with www.timesrecordnews.com for more on this developing story.
Staley’s attorneys also found much to criticize in Robert “Bubba” Charles McDaniel Jr., Wilder’s father, in the motion to persuade Senior District Judge Everett Young to move the trial to another county.
Bubba is “spreading despicable and dirty language” threatening Staley and his lawyers on social media, according to allegations in the motion to change venue.
“I think anyone cut from my cloth can agree that Vigilante Justice given to those who deserve it makes me feel like that’s when things are good in the world. . . . Our system of laws is so defective,” Bubba wrote in a Dec. February 23, 2020, social media post included in motion.
As for the Justice for Wilder campaign, Staley’s attorneys say it has fueled “unrest and criticism of police and the district attorney who somehow two years passed without arrest,” according to court records.
His lawyers said in the motion that the campaign had effectively escalated pressure for an arrest, regardless of the facts and evidence.
Additionally, the Justice for Wilder campaign, widespread negative publicity and community discussion have tainted the pool of prospective jurors in Wichita County, making a fair trial impossible, defense attorneys claim.
Law enforcement officials believe Wilder was murdered on Oct. 11, 2018, by James Irven Staley III at his Wichita Falls home, according to allegations contained in court documents.
Staley and Wilder’s mother, Amber Nichole McDaniel, dated during a time when she was not with Bubba, according to court documents.
Officials say Wilder was suffocated with a pillow at Staley’s home in the 2000 block of Irving Place, according to allegations in court records.
In their motion, Staley’s attorneys had a list of charges and allegations against Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie.
They ranged from Gillespie wearing a Justice for Wilder cap, allegedly buying experts to advance the case against Staley and, with Wichita Falls Police Chief Manuel Borrego, igniting the community by touting an expert during a press conference on October 8, 2020, according to the defense request.
Additionally, defense attorneys challenged the prosecutor’s dismissal of a misdemeanor terrorism threat charge against Bubba.
A probable cause affidavit attached to the motion alleges that Bubba told officers on October 26, 2018 that he was going to kill Staley if he could find him. Others present told police that Bubba was distraught after learning new details about his son’s death.
Additionally, Bubba had posted a live video on social media saying he was going to shoot Staley in the head and stab him, and was offering $10,000 to anyone who could tell him Staley’s whereabouts, according to the allegations. of the affidavit.
The charge was dismissed “in the interests of justice”, according to court documents.
Staley’s attorneys argue that Bubba’s threats of violence “were indirectly condoned” by the prosecutor’s office because charges were not pursued, according to the motion.
Two Wichita County residents provided affidavits in support of the location change request, but those documents are sealed due to fears of retaliation, according to the defense motion.
Staley has been charged with capital murder of a person under the age of 10 and first degree murder in connection with Wilder’s death.
Staley faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder and life in prison without parole if convicted of capital murder, according to court documents.
A jury should choose one of two murder charges. Staley pleaded not guilty to them.
He was later charged with injuring a child with intent to cause bodily harm and tampering with/fabricating physical evidence in connection with the Wilder murder case, according to court documents.
He is accused of physically abusing Wilder and staging the death scene after the child’s murder, according to allegations in court documents.
The charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Amber was charged with endangering a child because she brought Wilder around Staley, and she was charged with tampering with cellphone evidence, according to court records.
She faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted of tampering and up to two years in state prison if convicted of child endangerment.
Following: Fourth judge takes over Wilder murder case
Trish Choate, business watch reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news, politics and more. Contact Trish with topical advice at [email protected] Her Twitter account is @Trishapedia.
This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Lawyers for James Staley seek change of venue, cite vigilante threats