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Affidavit alleges body of murdered two-year-old staged, Staley back in jail

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WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — Capital murder defendant James Staley is back in jail following a pretrial hearing Thursday afternoon after new charges were filed in sealed indictments.

In addition to his murder charge, he now is charged with injury to a child and tampering with evidence.

James Staley Wichita County Jail booking photo August 12, 2021

Following his pretrial hearing with a special judge in 89th District Court, Staley was handcuffed and escorted to jail.

The tampering with evidence charge alleges Staley staged the body of two-year-old Wilder McDaniel so it would appear he had fallen from his crib.

The injury to a child charge alleges Staley hit and or kicked wilder in the head or body and pushed him off the bed causing him to strike his head.

He has two additional $25,000 bonds on these charges.

Before the new charges, Staley had been out on $1.2 million bonds, with a requirement to wear an ankle monitor.

District Attorney John Gillespie has also filed notice that the state is waiving the death penalty in this case and will seek life without parole.

And, the prosecution filed a notice of a special prosecutor to assist in the trial.

That special prosecutor is Eric Nickols, a former Crimes Against Children Prosecutor from Tarrant County.

Staley’s former girlfriend and the mother of Wilder, Amber McDaniel, faces trial for child endangerment and tampering with evidence after being indicted in July.

The toddler was found dead in October of 2018 in the home Staley and Amber McDaniel lived in.

The case is being presided over by an appointed senior district judge from Tarrant County after two local judges disqualified themselves and another special judge also recused herself.

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