Staley’s ex takes the stand in McDaniel trial

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. 15, 2023 at 9:30 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2023 at 4:08 PM CDT
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TARRANT COUNTY, Texas (KAUZ) - Arguments closed at approximately 4 p.m. today. The defense has not yet rested, and the trial is expected to continue Monday morning, Sept. 18.

Alyssa Osterdock is in the courtroom in the Tim Curry Justice Center following the latest developments. Be sure to stick with News Channel 6 as we follow the court proceedings.

Read yesterday’s coverage on our website.

After returning from lunch at 1:45 p.m., the defense called WFPD officer Jesse Bartow to the stand. Officer Bartow responded to a verbal altercation between Amber and Bubba in Jan. 2019. Bartow said Amber said she wished she were dead and tried to stab herself in front of the police. Officers were able to stop and restrain her, and she was taken to the state hospital.

Bartow said that once she arrived at the hospital, Amber wished the police would have shot her.

Gillespie is asked if stabbing knives into oneself one foot from a police officer is the most efficient way to kill oneself, and Officer Bartow said no.

Next, the defense called Detective Chad Nelson. After Staley’s guilty verdict, Detective Nelson visited Amber and Bubba’s home to express gratitude that they got the guilty verdict they wanted.

Gillespie once again pointed out that Amber withheld what he said would have been important information in the investigation.

The defense calls Bubba McDaniel’s sister, Courtney Bachman, who spoke about a previous abusive relationship she had been in. During his cross-examination, Gillespie pointed out that Bachman had taken the steps to protect her daughter and left her ex.

During her testimony, Bachman said she never knew Wilder was terrified of Staley or that Amber was even dating anyone. She said she would have taken action if she knew Wilder was being abused.

Wichita Co. District Attorney John Gillespie began his cross-examination of Campisi at approximately 10 a.m. He started by talking about how Campisi saw Staely as a psycho and took the appropriate steps to get out of her relationship with him.

He also pointed out how, even though Campisi might not have wanted to believe her child’s father killed someone, she still cooperated with the police’s investigation by interviewing with Gillespie.

The defense calls Karen Burke, Robert “Bubba” McDaniel’s mother, to the stand. She said Amber was an amazing mother.

Next, the defense called prosecuting attorney Lisa Tanner to the stand. She testified about how she assisted Gillespie in the Staley trial back in March 2023 and said that Amber did not have to testify at the trial. She spoke about Amber’s cooperation during the investigation and about how she had seen many men manipulate women.

Tanner said she told Gillespie she does not believe Amber had anything to do directly with Wilder’s death.

During cross-examination, Gillespie asked Tanner about their time working on Staley’s trial together. He pointed out how a witness without credibility can cause issues and mentioned how Amber lied during the investigation.

Amber McDaniel’s punishment trial continues for the fourth day of testimony as the defense calls James Staley’s ex, Tara Campisi, to the stand. Campisis is also the mother of Staley’s now nine-year-old daughter.

Campisi testified that her relationship with Staley was very toxic, with mental, verbal, and psychological abuse. She said Staley was manipulative and called her names. According to Campisi, he had a way of turning things around to make everything her fault and beating her down. Campisi said she still has scars from the emotional beat-downs.

Campisi said she walked on pins and needles around him daily and fell victim to his manipulation and controlling behaviors.

Campisi and Stalry’s daughter was four years old at Wilder’s murder. Campisi said Staley called their daughter “dumpster,” and he referred to Campisis as a “wet blanket.” She said she could pull up thousands of messages that would be disturbing if she showed them.

Campisi said her family told her they felt like she was wearing a mask, and when she lived with Staley in Wichita Falls, she would come home to Dallas every weekend to be with her family so she could be happy.

According to her, Staley’s ex-fiance, whom he dated before her, reached out to her after Campisi and Staley broke up and said she is glad she got out because she fears for their daughter to be around them.

Campisi said Staley would send threatening messages to her. She spoke about an incident where Staley threw her to the ground. She went to drive back to Dallas but then turned around and went to the Wichita Falls Police Department. Campisi said she supported James after Wilder’s death because she knew how it felt to find someone deceased.

Campisi said her daughter was scared of Staley. She explained that James would never wake up if the child wanted or needed something. She spoke about when her daughter wanted chocolate milk but couldn’t wake Staely, so she FaceTimed Campisi from her iPad, crying. Tara had Okmulgee police do a welfare check but couldn’t get in the building. Staley woke, took the iPad from his daughter, and told Tara to suck a [expletive].

Campisi said she thinks it will affect her daughter later in life and wants to know what happened to Wilder. She doesn’t believe her daughter fully understands, but she has pleasant memories of Amber.

Alyssa Osterdock is in the courtroom in the Tim Curry Justice Center following the latest developments. Be sure to stick with News Channel 6 as we follow the court proceedings.

Read yesterday’s coverage on our website.