Child abuse expert testifies at Staley’s murder trial
dr Suzanne Dakil approaches Subtrial Room A at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center. (Josh Hoggard, KFDX/KJTL)
FORT WORTH (KFDX/KJTL) — The murder trial of James Irven Staley III in the death of 2-year-old Jason Wilder McDaniel is scheduled to continue with testimony on the ninth day of trial at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Tarrant County.
Thursday, March 9, 2023 marks the ninth day of testimony in the trial where the state of Texas is nearing completion in presenting its case to the jury before Staley’s defense team has a chance to present its case.
An ongoing live blog of Thursday’s testimony can be found below. This story will be updated regularly as testimonies and cross-examination of various witnesses progress.
9:53 a.m – Defense attorney Terri Moore began calling Dr. To question Suzanne Dakil about her role in her current position and found that she was taken to the hospital and REACH clinic for counseling on child abuse cases.
Prosecutor Lisa Tanner hands the witness over to the defense team for cross-examination.
9:50 a.m – District Attorney Lisa Tanner asked Dr. Suzanne Dakil on whether her medical opinion on Wilder’s death was that he was suffocated by someone else. dr Dakil testified that it was her opinion. Tanner pointed out that this was the same opinion as the coroner who performed Wilder’s autopsy, noting that they came to the same conclusion in different ways.
9:48 a.m – District Attorney Lisa Tanner asked Dr. Suzanne Dakil on whether she would expect the type of bruising Wilder had on his head and face after the September 1, 2018 incident to be a result of the abuse shown in the GoPro video. dr Dakil replied, “Oh, yes.” Defendant Staley seemed to hang his head as the court was shown a still from the GoPro video.
9:45 o clock – dr Suzanne Dakil testified that she was unaware of the GoPro video showing James Staley Wilder hitting McDaniel in her sleep when she formed her first medical opinion in 2020. She testified that she has since seen this video.
9:42 a.m – dr Suzanne Dakil testified that her medical opinion on Wilder’s cause of death is that Wilder was choked or choked by someone else’s hands.
9:40 a.m – dr Suzanne Dakil testified that there was no evidence of an accidental or natural death in Wilder McDaniel’s case. dr Dakil testified that SIDS was not possible due to Wilder’s age.
9:38 a.m – dr Suzanne Dakil testified that the leading cause of death in fatal errors was bleeding between the skull and the brain. dr Dakil testified that no bleeding of this type was found at Wilder’s autopsy. dr Dakil testified that a fall would likely cause some type of fracture as well, and that no fractures were found at Wilder’s autopsy.
9:34 a.m – District Attorney Lisa Tanner asked Dr. Suzanne Dakil on whether it’s common for children to fall out of a cot and Dr. Dakil said that was the case. Tanner then asked if it was common for children to die from falls, and Dr. Dakil said no. dr Dakil testified that when a child dies by falling out of a crib, the most common symptom would be a hemorrhage in the head.
9:31 a.m – District Attorney Lisa Tanner asked Dr. Suzanne Dakil on whether she is familiar with the AAP standard, which was expressed to the jury several times by James Staley’s defense team that Wilder was too big to be in a cot. dr Dakil testified that Wilder’s age and size was not a cause for concern unless he had repeated falls from the cot, with previous testimonies suggesting he had never fallen out of the cot. Tanner asked if the AAP was the law for parents, and Dr. Dakil replied, “Absolutely not.”
9:26 a.m – dr Suzanne Dakil testified that in analyzing Wilder’s death she found no natural cause for Wilder’s death. She said she then looked for signs of accidental trauma that may have led to Wilder’s death.
9:22 a.m – dr Suzanne Dakil testified that the number of petechiae found in Wilder’s body after his death indicates direct compression of the neck.
9:16 a.m – The analysis of Dr. Dakil was instrumental in prosecuting Wilder’s death. “The autopsy, while suspicious of murder, was ruled indeterminate,” Wichita District Attorney John Gillespie said in October 2020. “Dr. Dakil provided us with some very important medical evidence and also helped bring together the forensic evidence.”
9:15 a.m — dr Suzanne Dakil is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. She is certified in child abuse by the American Board of Pediatrics, is a member of REACH at Children’s Medical Center, and director of the Child Abuse Fellowship at UT Southwestern.
This is an evolving story. Stay tuned to Texoma’s homepage for updates as the murder trial of James Staley in connection with the death of Wilder McDaniel is taking place at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth, Texas.