James Staley murder trial: Jury selection continues

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 5:39 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The jury selection process continued for its second day on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, for the trial of the man accused of murdering 2-year-old Jason Wilder McDaniel in his home in October of 2018.

Judge Everett Young presided over jury selection for James Staley III’s case at the Tarrant County Courthouse in Fort Worth.

Former Texas Assistant Attorney General Lisa Tanner began what she called the “process of elimination” by making sure the potential jurors truly qualify to take the juror’s oath.

Both Tanner and Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie broke down the ground rules for the jury selection, such as not discussing the details of the case with anyone, including each other. They also discussed the roles of the judge, state and jury, like separating physical evidence from personal feelings and public opinion.

The potential jurors were given the opportunity to ask questions to clarify the logistics of the case, such as the differences between murder and capital murder - the latter being what Staley is accused of.

The state concluded by clarifying the purpose of this trial is to prove without a reasonable doubt that Staley intentionally and knowingly caused McDaniel’s death.

Staley’s trial is expected to last up to two weeks, according to Judge Young. Jury selection is scheduled to continue on Friday. Staley’s attorney is Mark G. Daniel, while Tanner will be assisting Gillespie.

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 from Wichita County 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.