CHARLOTTE, TN (WSMV) - It was a rare Saturday in the Dickson County courthouse as the trial of Joseph Daniels continues.
Daniels is charged for killing his 5-year-old son, Joe Clyde Daniels, in 2018.
Saturday, both the defense and prosecution finished questioning Detective Sarah McCartney with the Dickson County Sheriff’s Department.
McCartney was one of the first investigators on the scene of the Daniels’ home the day Joe Clyde was reported missing. She says she reviewed 24 hours of security camera footage from inside and outside places near the Daniels' residence. The videos include footage from Dollar General, Love’s Truck Stop, and the Pruitt Springs property.
One of the videos from Pruitt Springs shows Matthew Ledford, the Daniels' neighbor going into his driveway the night of Joe Clyde’s disappearance. She says her focus was the minuscule light in the bottom right corner.
“As you can see, because you’ve seen multiple vehicles in this video, those lights do not act or behave like any other vehicles that you see in the video,” says McCartney. “A couple of weeks later, I actually went out and did a test drive. And I pulled into Mr. Matt Ledford’s driveway and I backed out. And I collected the same video surveillance and it does not look like what you just saw.”
On the second day of testimony in murder trial of Joseph Daniels, the first responders were brought to the stand who were the first people to search the residence on the day the boy was reported missing.
But it was a recording prosecutors played in court that shows Joseph Daniels couldn’t keep his story straight when he was questioned by investigators. One of those was Agent Steven Kennard, with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, who took the stand Saturday morning.
Could Joe Clyde escape his home in the middle of the night? That’s the question investigators tried to uncover in an interview with Joseph Daniels the afternoon after Joe Clyde went missing.
“For a long time, I had a legitimate fear that this would happen, unfortunately,” says Joseph Daniels to TBI investigators in the recording.
Daniels told investigators his son had a history of escaping his home on Garners Creek Road. He says he and his wife, Krystal Daniels, put locks and furniture in front of doors to stop him. But he says the lock was something Joe Clyde tried to pick.
“I’ve never seen him actually do it,” Daniels tells investigators. “Krystal said one day when she was home, he had taken a chair and was trying to actually unlock the door. The key was in the padlock was what she said.”
The trial of Joseph Daniels began on Thursday afternoon with opening statements from the prosecution and defense at the Dickson County courthouse.
He says that’s what happened the night of April 4, 2018. Joe Clyde moved the coffee table and unlocked the padlock on the back door.
“I noticed something weird was going on because the coffee table that sits in the living room was pointed toward the two doors to the room that he was sleeping in,” says Daniels. “And I walked in and he wasn’t there.”
A TBI Agent asks Daniels:
“I don’t want you to take offense by this, but Joe, did you have anything to do with this little boy’s disappearance?”
“No,” replies Daniels.
“Have you done anything to him? Or caused anything to happen to him?”
“Or after the fact?”
“And everything you told us has been accurate and true?”
While Daniels confirms what he told investigators is true, one of them tells him his storyline is off from that morning.
“There’s just two things that changed from when I talked to you this morning to now, there’s been some new thing you added that I didn’t know about,” says one of the TBI agents on the scene.
The TBI agents say Daniels first told him he never checked the back door. Now, he says he checked the door and saw the coffee table. Daniels also tells agents Joe Clyde and his siblings were playing outside the day before but came inside at 4PM. He later moves that time to 6PM.
The trial will resume at 8AM Monday. Kennard will not be questioned and has been removed from the subpoena due to a scheduling conflict with the Delke trial.