WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - James Staley III was found guilty of capital murder in the death of Jason Wilder McDaniel on March 13, 2023.
Staley was sentenced to life in prison without parole around 4:20 p.m. The jury came back with the verdict after over four hours of deliberation following
closing arguments made by the prosecution and defense. Jurors had heard just over nine days of testimonies in this case.
Before the verdict, Staley’s father was escorted out because he took a picture on his phone.
As Staley was being handcuffed, he yelled to everyone, “I did not kill Wilder McDaniel.” Staley’s attorneys said they did not have a comment.
“I actually did not prepare a statement, but I feel my son deserves this. I’ve waited 4 1/2 years to look you in your eyes and tell you that my 2.5-year-old son is more of a man than you will ever be. You never deserved Wilder in your life. You have destroyed everything. My son, who is not even a year old yet, will never know his brother because of you. You may have thought you were going to get away with this, and you may have gotten away with many other things in your life, but my 2-year-old son took you down. You are evil.”
“I have so many thoughts in my head. The first one I think of is I lost a 2-year-old. You coward. Coward who thought that my son was to be a part of your vicious cycle. You thought it was okay to take a 2-year-old out of this world. You thought because of your money, this will be okay. My son was two. He should have never known the fear you put in him. It takes a real piece of s*** to stay in that cycle and abuse people who are small and defenseless. You’ll get to sit in a cell with other men, and those men are going to love you because they’ll know a child killer is with them the rest of his life. Just remember that I never hurt you. The hardest thing I ever did in my life was not hurt you. I get to live the rest of my life with my child and my grandchildren. You’ll never know those things and what they’re like. I’ll get to keep Wilder’s name alive. Other people gave up, but I didn’t. We didn’t. Every time people hear Staley, all they will think about is the baby killer. You will always be a villain.”
“It’s a big relief off of all of our shoulders. It’s like, we’ve been waiting so long, trying to push, get justice, all these protests we’ve been to, and it finally happened. So it’s like a big relief.”
“It felt like it could never get here in one sense, and then in the other, it felt like it happened yesterday. It just feels surreal that this day came. He’s right where he needs to be so he doesn’t hurt another child. It doesn’t bring Wilder back, but he’s a danger. He walked free for 4 1/2 years and he’s where he needs to be.” To Wilder, “We miss him everyday. We know he’s in Heaven and it’s where he needs to be. He’s happy and he doesn’t have to be in this cruel world, but that we love him and we miss him so much.”
“It was a long road and it took a long time to do the testing. We were methodically working through the case from day one with the Wichita Falls Police Department. I just want to say I appreciate everyone that did believe in us because it takes forever. It’s not like CSI or TV shows where testing is done and you get the results back before the first commercial break. Some of the testing took 18 months to two years to build the entire case. For everyone that believed in us, that knew we were doing our best to put that case together, I want to say thank you. For those of you that doubted us, just know there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in a case like this that we can’t talk about. We can’t have a press conference saying what the state of the evidence is. We took our time. I appreciate the Wichita Falls Police Department, my chief investigator Todd Davis, and our other DA investigator and so many prosecutors. It was a team effort. Lisa Tanner, the special prosecutors that I brought in who is an expert in forensics, and I think you saw terrific she was, but it was a team effort. We got him and he will never harm another child and he’s getting what he deserves in prison for the rest of his natural life.”
Gillespie’s full statement can be watched below:
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