The man who babysat his girlfriend’s 2-year-old son and k*illed him has been found guilty of capital mu*rder. James Staley III, 40, was found guilty of killing Wilder McDaniel in 2018 by a jury on Monday, after a nine-day trial.
He was given a life sentence in prison without the chance of parole.”I did not k*ill Wilder McDaniel,” Staley yelled as he was being handcuffed and led out of court, according to KAUZ.
On October 11, 2018, the toddler’s mother found him dead on the floor next to his cot while he was staying at Staley’s $500,000 home in the country club area of Wichita Falls, Texas. This is how the cr*ime was discovered.
The Times Record News says that the boy’s mother, Amber McDaniel, was living with Staley while she was on a break from the boy’s father. The paper says she had Staley watch Wilder while she worked at a pub.
People say that after the boy died, Staley moved to Okmulgee, Oklahoma, and that’s where he was caught in October 2020. He was arrested after being charged with capital mur*der and first-degree felony mur*der in the de*ath of the boy.
The Times Record News reports that an autopsy report from January 24, 2019, said it was likely mu*rder because the child died of suffocation from a pillow.
Reports from the autopsy in Dallas County say that the boy’s pillow had blood on it, which “suggests someone placed a pillow over the child’s mouth, ultimately suffocating him,” according to KFDX.
According to KFDX, the autopsy report said, “The scene information is irregular and highly suspicious of a mur*der de*ath.” “No one says how [McDaniel] got to be on the floor or where the blood might have come from, or why the things that looked like they were bloody were still in the cot.”
“[McDaniel] had no reported history of previously getting out of the cot and there were no fatal injuries present consistent with a fall from the cot to the floor having caused the death,” the autopsy report said.
A report in the Times Record News says that police also said it looked like Staley set up the scene to make it look like an accident.
According to the Times Record News, the boy’s mother, McDaniel, told police about another scary event in August 2018: Staley texted her to say that Wilder had fallen off the bed.
The video was found on Staley’s cell phone by investigators: The Times Record News says that in the video, Staley is talking to McDaniel while holding the little boy, who has skin on his head.
In the video, Staley tells the boy, “It’s the real deal.” You think I pushed you off the bed?”
As soon as the boy answers “yes,” Staley says, “That’s not what happened.”
Mother Arrested and Charged
KFDX reports that McDaniel was charged with one count of having a child abandoned and put in danger and one count of tampering with evidence in 2021.
KFDX reports that the indictment says she let Staley keep access to her son even after he sent her several texts and Facebook messages saying he wanted to hurt the boy.
The indictment says that Staley told investigators that he wanted to beat or punch the boy and had already done so in text messages that they found after they unlocked his phone.
In other texts, he said he had pushed the boy’s face in a dirty nappy and then pushed it in the toilet. He also said he wanted to or had put Wilder in a tinderbox, the indictment says.
The indictment said that Statley repeatedly showed violence and hatred towards the boy, telling him things like “he thought Jason Wilder McDaniel needed to be ‘culled.'”
“Despite the aforementioned warnings,” McDaniel “continued to entrust” Staley to watch her son. The indictment says that her son also stayed at Staley’s house “while she was asleep and/or drunk in the other room.”
The complaint also says that even though she saw that Staley had watched Wilder and caused bruises on his face, she still let Staley see her son, according to KFDX.
She has said that she is not guilty of the charges.
People asked lawyers for McDaniel and Staley for comments, but they didn’t respond right away.