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Closing arguments in Joseph Daniels murder case to begin Friday morning

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CHARLOTTE, TN (WSMV) - Joseph Daniels will not testify in his murder case in Dickson County, he told the judge on Thursday.

Daniels' defense team also said they would not call any witnesses. Closing arguments will begin Friday morning at 8 a.m. before hit goes to the jury. 

Daniels is accused of killing his 5-year-old son Joe Clyde in April 2018 and then getting rid of his body, which has not been found.

Daniels faces five charges in connection with the case – first degree murder, first degree murder in perpetration of a felony, aggravated child abuse, initiating a false report and tampering with evidence.

Joseph Daniels won't testify

Joseph Daniels won't testify

Joseph Daniels tells Judge David Wolfe that he will not testify in his murder case.

Public defender Jake Lockert, who is representing Daniels, said counsel discussed whether Daniels will testify. 

TBI Special Agent Zachary Burkhart spent much of the day on the witness stand. Burkhart shared an email Daniels had with DaVita Kidney Care around April 3, 2018, but there was some difficulty verifying parts of his background check. 

TBI Special Agent Zach Burkhart

TBI Special Agent Zach Burkhart

TBI Special Agent Zach Burkhart testifies on Day 7 of the Joseph Daniels murder trial in Dickson County.

Dash cam video on officers arriving at the Daniels’ home on April 4, 2018 shows Daniels drive away at 7:36 a.m. and return home at 9:19 a.m. Daniels is seen driving past Bethany Retreat House about three miles away. But around 9:13 a.m. phone data shows Daniels called Nashville State Community College to verify documentation for his job with DaVita before returning home.

Burkhart noted that Daniels called Nashville State while dozens of people were out searching for 5-year-old Joe Clyde on April 4.

Video also showed Daniels leaving his house around 2:15 a.m. on April 5, 2018, and going to the Love’s Truck Stop. Videos shows him at the store at 2:44 a.m. and at 3:04 a.m. He returns home that day at 3:28 a.m.

Burkhart also testified about photos inside the Daniels’ home taken on April 4 and April 7. He testified three days later the living room is cleaned up and no toys were scattered about.

Circuit Court Judge David Wolfe

Circuit Court Judge David Wolfe

Circuit Court Judge David Wolfe

District Attorney General Ray Crouch asked if it’s significant that the items were moved. Burkhart said it shows that evidence can be destroyed or disappear during that time.

Evidence that Krystal Daniels, Joseph’s wife and Joe Clyde’s mom, was having an affair was also presented to the jury. There were 20,000 pages of direct messages between Thomas Richard and Krystal Daniels admitted as evidence. The judge warned the jury there was offensive language of a sexual nature in messages between them. The messages stated Krystal Daniels wasn’t happy the last three years and wanted a divorce. Krystal Daniels told Richards in March of 2018 she was unhappy.

Evidence was also introduced that Daniels searched anonymous parental tests, how he can get a paternity test without his parents knowing, and flight and rental car information in Wichita, KS, which is where Richards lives.

The defense argued there was no evidence Daniels had read the messages, but Burkhart responded Krystal Daniels sent the messages from her son Alex’s tablet.

Daniels also messaged his mom on March 31, 2018, “by the time you see this message I’ll be 6 feet under.”

The state also shows a letter to Daniels from Logical LLC that verified Daniels resigned from his job with them on Feb. 27, 2018, because of the demand of the job. The letter was found in Daniels’ car.

According to Daniels’ resume, he was a computer science major.

During a lengthy exchange with Burkhart, Jake Lockert, Daniels’ public defender, tries to prove that law enforcement didn’t check everything. He argues certain locations, neighbors, and a pair of boots taken from a nearby porch were not investigated. 

Lockert argues that Alex Nolan’s story and Daniel’s confession did line up. Alex is Daniel’s stepson and was 8 at the time of Joe Clyde’s disappearance.

Daniels said he put Joe Clyde in his car trunk while Alex testified he saw Daniels carry Joe Clyde away from the house. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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