James Staley is sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Wilder McDaniel
A descendant of oil barons convicted of capital murder of his ex-girlfriend’s two-year-old son was reportedly shouted down by trial participants as he pleaded innocent while being jailed for life without parole.
It took a jury in Wichita County, Texas, about four hours to find James Irven Staley III guilty Monday of murdering two-year-old Jason Wilder McDaniel in October 2018 by smothering the boy in his cot with a pillow. After sentencing and while he was being tied up, the Wichita Falls Times Record News reported, Staley stated, “I didn’t kill Wilder McDaniel.”
This claim of innocence was immediately rejected by the trial participants.
“Of course you have! Yes you did!” Court observers reportedly shouted as the judge demanded order in the courtroom.
Despite suspicions of Staley’s guilt in the years following Wilder’s death, the long and convoluted murder case did not reach oil scion Wichita Falls until October 2020. Six months after the murder, the victim’s mother, Amber Odom McDaniel, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Staley and married Wilder’s father Bubba McDaniel.
Amber McDaniel reportedly admitted in court to deleting her text messages with Staley and said she would testify because they “owe.”[d] it to [her] Son.” She testified against Staley without a settlement with prosecutors, though charges of child endangerment and evidence tampering remain pending against her.
The evidence reportedly showed that Staley had sent Amber a series of shocking messages, which he dismissed as dark jokes — messages like, “Maybe he’ll get SIDS” or sudden infant death syndrome; “I want to smack him in the face, but he’s too cute”; “I like to smack him in the face when he whines, but it gets old”; and “Don’t worry, if this doesn’t work, I’ll kill you. So it will be the last relationship you are in.”
Investigators in the case argued that the messages were “strong evidence” that Staley hated Wilder and was carrying out his wish for the boy’s violent death.
After the sentencing, both Amber and Bubba McDaniel called the defendant a coward.
“I didn’t actually prepare a statement, but I think my son deserves this. I’ve waited 4 1/2 years to look you in the eye and tell you that my 2.5 year old son is more man than you will ever be. You never earned Wilder in your life. You destroyed everything. My son, who is not even a year old, will never meet his brother because of you. You may have thought you could get away with it and you may have gotten away with many other things in your life but my 2 year old son put you down. You’re evil,” said Amber McDaniel, reported KAUZ.
I love you Jason Wilder McDaniel. I know that my father welcomed you in heaven with open arms. You finally meet your uncle Jason, who we used to talk to you about. Until we meet again❤️ #JasonWilder #ErnstJason pic.twitter.com/172woNqEPX
— Celeste Hernandez (@Ceeleesteeeeeee) October 14, 2018
“It takes a real piece of shit to stay in this cycle of abusing people who are small and defenseless,” observed Bubba McDaniel. “You’ll be in a cell with other men, and those men will love you because they know a child killer is with them for the rest of their lives.”
Wichita County District Attorney John Gillespie reportedly added in a statement of his own that it took a long time to charge and convict the case because real life is “not like CSI or TV shows.”
“Some of the tests took 18 months to two years to create the entire case,” the prosecutor said.
Staley is now in custody at Tarrant County Corrections Center, Law&Crime records show.
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https://lawandcrime.com/crime/courtroom-shouts-yes-you-did-as-piece-of-s-scion-of-oil-barons-insists-he-didnt-smother-2-year-old-boy-with-pillow/ James Staley is sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Wilder McDaniel