Second day of McDaniel trial starts with photos the day Wilder was found dead

The Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth, TX - Tarrant County.
The Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth, TX - Tarrant County.(KAUZ)
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 11:17 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 13, 2023 at 4:58 PM CDT
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FORT WORTH, Texas (KAUZ) - The second day of Amber McDaniel’s sentencing trial started at 9 a.m. today, Sept. 13, 2023.

District Attorney John Gillespie started the day by showing the jury photos of Staley’s home and asking Detective Nelson, who was on the stand, questions about what he had witnessed when he responded there when Wilder was found dead.

Gillespie then started to show photos of Wilder when he was found dead and photos of blood on the crib. Amber could be heard loudly crying in the courtroom when these photos were being shown.

Amber’s interviews with law enforcement were then shown to the courtroom, and Gillespie asked Nelson if Amber had lied about what Wilder had said the night of the bed incident, to which Nelson replied with “Yes.”

In the second interview shown with Amber and law enforcement, Amber admitted, “I think James hurt my baby.” She spoke about how James would get mad and yell at Wilder while calling him profanities.

Amber continues in the recorded interview by admitting Wilder never wanted to be around James, but she thought it was just because he was someone new.

Gillespie asked Nelson if he found it shocking that less than 24 hours after finding her child dead, Amber was already lying. Nelson says, “Yes.”

The state then presented screenshots of a Facebook Messenger exchange where Staley said mean things about Wilder. Detective Nelson said Amber described these messages as an “isolated incident” rather than something that happened often. Prosecutors also presented the photo of Wilder with the bruise on his forehead, which Staley claimed happened because he fell off the bed.

After lunch, the state re-played part of an interview where Amber told police the Facebook messages were the “one and only” time James had acted that way. Det. Nelson said that was false.

Prosecutors then began playing a different recorded interview from Jan. 25, 2019. In the video, Amber said that specific deleted texts were the only mean things James had said, which Det. Nelson later found out that was not true. The texts referenced Wilder and his father as people that “should be culled.”

When asked about the mean texts, Amber said, “It was not like that every single day.”

The interview video continued and showed Amber recounting the day of Wilder’s death. She said the night Wilder died, she was bathing him, and James came in the room and freaked out when Wilder said, “No James.” Amber asked Wilder if he was scared of James because he yelled at him. Wilder said yes, and Amber replied, “You don’t have to be scared. Momma’s here.”

After the jury viewed the two-hour Jan. 2019 interview, Gillespie re-visited Amber’s statements from the day she testified at James Staley’s trial. When asked why Wilder was not at daycare the day after the bruising on his face from the bed incident, she said, “Because I did not want people to think Wilder was abused.”

A licensed professional counselor took the stand and said she believed Amber’s grief after Wilder’s death was real.

Alyssa Osterdock is in the courtroom, covering the latest developments. Be sure to stick with News Channel 6 for updates during the court proceedings, and read the first day’s coverage here.


Live at 6:00 p.m. with Alyssa Osterdock