James Staley trial to begin on Feb. 22

James Staley III.
James Staley III.(KAUZ)
Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 11:42 AM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The trial for the man accused of murdering 2-year-old Wilder McDaniel in his home in October of 2018 will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, in Tarrant County, according to Wichita County Judge Jim Johnson.

Wichita County commissioners approved a consent agenda item on Monday to sign an agreement with the residence inn in Fort Worth to reserve a courtesy block of rooms for the Wichita County District Attorney’s Office to utilize in the coming weeks during James Staley III’s case.

Johnson said the the 2023 budget, approved in September of 2022, had funds set aside for Staley’s trial. County officials knew it would be expensive since the trial is happening in another county, so they overbudgeted for the expense to make sure they had enough funds, according to Johnson.

In addition to the county funds in the budget, Johnson said Wichita County also utilized funding from a state grant around $200K to help defray costs related to capital murder cases.

Staley has pleaded not guilty to the crime. In August of 2022, Staley’s change of venue request was approved and his trial was moved to Tarrant County.

Staley’s attorneys had said 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.