CHARLOTTE, TN (WSMV) - Detectives in charge of the search for 5-year-old Joe Clyde Daniels testified on Wednesday in the sixth day of the Joseph Daniels murder trial.
Daniels faces five charges – first degree murder, first degree murder in perpetration of a felony, aggravated child abuse, initiating a false report and tampering with evidence – in the death of Joe Clyde Daniels in April 2018. Joe Clyde’s body has not been found.
Dickson County Sheriff Detective Trevor Daniel helped organize the search for Baby Joe in the area of Garners Creek Road on April 4, 2018.
Daniel said he interviewed Daniels on April 4 and was told that Joe Clyde escaped by climbing on the coffee table and unlocking the padlock. He said Daniels asked them to check his trunk, which the detective said was odd.
Daniel testified that Joseph’s story changed from what he told him earlier in the morning.
Before, he said he immediately looked at the back door and noticed the lock wasn’t there. Later, he said he didn’t look at the door and didn’t see the lock.
The detective testified that Daniels didn’t tell him that Alex, Joe Clyde’s older brother, woke him saying Joe Clyde had urinated on the floor.
The state played audio clips of Daniels showing detectives where he brought Joe Clyde’s body after the confession on April 6, 2018.
In one clip, you can hear Daniels breaking down on the way to the location.
“I don’t want to see him. I didn’t want this to happen,” Daniels said on the recording.
Daniels also says, “My dad is going to kill me”. Detectives assured him they wouldn’t let that happen and attempted to calm him down.
“I just want to tell my wife I’m sorry,” Daniels is heard saying on another clip.
When they tried to find where Daniels had taken Joe Clyde, he said he may have covered the 5-year-old with grass.
“Why did I do this? What just happened,” Daniels is heard saying on the clip.
He then says, “He’s (Alex) a good boy, he doesn’t lie – he tells the truth.”
Daniels said on the clip that he put Joe Clyde’s body in a field next to a tree, buried him and covered him with grass.
“He’s in that field. I know it’s a big field, but he’s in that field,” Daniels said in the clip.
He also said in one of the clips heard in the courtroom that he tried to strangle himself at one point with a belt.
The defense asked Daniel about the TBI’s interview with Daniels. The detective said he was outside the door and heard two parts of the interrogation.
The defense also asked Daniel about the inconsistencies in Daniels’ story.
“People don’t always remember things the first time,” the defense stated.
“Not always,” Daniel replied.
Brandt Holt, who was a TBI agent at the time of Joe Clyde’s disappearance, said he picked up Daniels on April 7. Daniels was read his rights and wanted to show the location where Joe Clyde’s body could be.
Holt said Daniels told him he took Joe Clyde’s body to the Piney River in Hickman County and dropped it off the bridge.
Law enforcement searched that area for Joe Clyde’s body. The body has not been found.
Holt testified that at one point Big Joe, Daniels’ father, got in the car with them. Daniels told his dad that he beat his child. Holt said this confession was not forced. Holt said he heard Daniels say Alex saw this and “would have to see this the rest of his life.”
Lavone Robins, who works at Love’s Truck Stop, said she saw Joseph and Joe Clyde come in around Easter time. Joe Clyde had on pajamas that weren’t typical, according to the witness.
She said on the overnight hours of April 5 around 3 a.m., she had taken her dog out during her break. When she drove back, Robins said she saw Daniels driving that night a very slow speed on a high-speed road.
When she returned, she saw a maroon car and a person in a hood at a pump who she said was Daniels.
Daniels is seen on video inside Love’s Truck Stop at 2:45 a.m. and is seen buying something at the counter and having a lengthy conversation with the employees. Another clip from 3:03-3:09 a.m. shows Daniels come back in and show them a picture of Joe Clyde.
Robins also said Daniels’ father called the truck stop twice after Daniels had left after 3:09 a.m.
Gregg Fort, a member of the TBI Violent Crime Response Team, said he was called to the Daniels’ home on April 7, three days after Joe Clyde’s disappearance.
Fort took around 1,200 photos inside and outside the Daniels’ Garner Creek Road home on that day. Photos showed the home was clean and straightened up.
Fort said his team used “blue star,” a chemical that shows blood on a crime scene. He said there were several markers inside the living room that tested positive. He said blood doesn’t have to be red or brown. It can even look orange or mask itself.
Fort said blue star is used to narrow their focus, but the results still have to be sent to a lab to test and verify. Once tested in the lab, Fort said all the areas tested negative for blood and DNA. The spots were not tested in the lab for urine or juice.
The afternoon was full of testimony from six TBI witnesses. All of them verified there is no physical evidence that could link Joseph to killing Joe Clyde.
The state is expected to rest its case on Thursday morning. The defense may go into the weekend with the rebuttal. Circuit Court Judge David Wolfe hopes to send the case to the jury by the weekend.
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