James Staley scheduled to appear in court for murder of two-year-old Wilder McDaniel

CW39

WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — A trial date for capital murder defendant James Staley could be closer after a pretrial hearing Thursday afternoon.

This will be the first in-person hearing in this case and will be presided over by a special senior district judge from Tarrant County after two local judges disqualified themselves and another special judge also recused herself.

James Staley Wichita County Jail booking photo

The purpose of the hearing is to determine if Staley plans to plead guilty, and if not the case will be placed on the trial docket.

There has been no filing of any plea offer from the District Attorney.

Staley is accused of killing two-year-old Wilder McDaniel.

The toddler was found dead in October of 2018 in the home Staley and wilder’s mother lived in.

Staley has at least two veteran trial attorneys retained.

Staley is free on a $1.2 million bond which requires him to wear an ankle monitor. He is now living in Oklahoma.

Wilder’s mother, Amber McDaniel, was indicted last month in this case, for child endangerment and tampering with evidence.

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