Staley defense team cites elevator issues in new change of venue request

James Staley III.
James Staley III.(KAUZ)
Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 5:44 PM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - James Staley III’s defense team has made another change of venue request, citing two additional reasons to move his trial out of Wichita County.

Staley has pleaded not guilty to charges of murdering 2-year-old Wilder McDaniel in his home in October of 2018.

In court documents, Staley’s defense team argued the trial should be moved out of convenience because some attorneys and anticipated witnesses live outside of Wichita County. Prosecutors countered this, stating most of the witnesses who will testify live in Wichita County, and adding the reason given by Staley’s team was insufficient unless both parties consented to the move.

The filing also cited the currently inoperable Wichita County Courthouse elevator as a reason why the venue should be changed: “Fundamental due process prohibits jurors . . . from viewing the accused in handcuffs or restraints during a criminal trial,” argued Staley’s team in court documents.

However, prosecutors said jurors are unlikely to see Staley in handcuffs or restraints because he is currently free on bond.

Court documents also stated an elevator associated with the “former jail facility” is currently being used to assist parties, attorneys and members of the public who are unable to use stairs to reach courtrooms.

Judge Everett Young has yet to decide on this change of venue request.

Staley’s attorneys previously asked for a change of venue in May of 2022 after arguing the local jury pool has been tainted against him due to media coverage and Facebook outcry, and the safety of Staley and anyone connected to the case was also a concern. This request was denied.

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