CHARLOTTE, TN (WSMV) - On the second day of testimony in the murder trial of Joseph Daniels, first responders were brought to the stand who searched the residence the day the boy was reported missing.
Joseph Daniels is charged for killing his 5-year-old son, Joe Clyde Daniels, back in 2018. Joe Clyde Daniels was reported missing in April 2018. Days later, Joseph confessed to murdering his son. The boy's body has never been recovered, authorities said.
Brent Morse, with Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, said when they got to the Daniels home multiple family members were inside. The state showed photos of the outside and inside of the house to set the scene for jurors.
He also recalled this conversation with Noah, Joe Clyde’s 3-year-old brother:
“Noah had come into the room, that was the first time I recalled seeing Noah. He had come up to my right and he stated, or asked more, “Joe dead? Joe dead? Joe dead?”
He says Aunt Joyce replied, “Yes baby, Joe dead.”
The photos showed back door had a latch on the inside, plus a Master Lock and key on the fireplace mantle. Chad Bailey, with Maury County Emergency Management, said those are what Joseph told first responders Joe Clyde used to escape.
TODAY we are in Dickson County for day 2 of the Joseph Daniels trial in the case of Joe Clyde Daniels. FOLLOW this thread for live updates. We will have live coverage on https://t.co/v99k7rMDPc, Facebook, and will have updates on-air at 4P, 5P and 6P on News4.— Marissa Sulek (@marissa_sulek) June 4, 2021
“He said he believed that he pushed that table over, climbed up on top of the table, found a key and unlocked it," Bailey said. "And then at some point must have pushed the table back to where it was and exit the residence, all while they were asleep.”
On Thursday, Joe Clyde’s teacher took the stand and said Joe Clyde had difficulty with locks and keys. That’s one motor skill she worked on with him.
Friday afternoon, Detective Sarah McCartney with the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office, took the stand. She says she took pictures of the Daniels’ home on April 4, 2018. She took photos of Joe Clyde’s cowboy boots on the back steps, and the coffee table inside. The coffee table was covered in a plaid shirt and jeans.
Pictures of a Master lock and keys were also shown to the jury. That’s what McCartney says Joseph Daniels told her Joe Clyde used to escape the home that evening. But in a car ride recording with detectives on April 4, 2018, Joseph admits Joe Clyde had trouble with locks and keys.
The trial of Joseph Daniels began on Thursday afternoon with opening statements from the prosecution and defense at the Dickson County courthouse.
“I asked him if he thought it was possible that Joe Clyde could unlock the lock,” says McCartney. “And he said, “that’s a good question because there’s some things he’s been doing recently. He’s been progressing and doing things better, so it’s a really good question if he did or not. I know recently he’s been getting better at doing things. He’s been progressing, but he hasn’t really. I haven’t seen him unlock the door”.”
The state called Timothy Simmons, a canine handler for the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office, to the stand. Jeffrey Bledsoe, former Dickson County Sheriff, testified on Friday, as well as Agent Patrick Looney, with TBI Aviation.
Daniels is charged with five counts: first degree murder, first degree murder in perpetration of a felony, aggravated child abuse, initiating a false report, and tampering with evidence.
All 16 jurors, including alternates, have never heard of this case and are brought from Chattanooga. The judge made a statement on Friday this jury is smart. The jurors asked 4 questions on Friday. When they ask a question, they must exit the room while the judge discusses with the counsel. The trial is expected to last about two weeks.