The man convicted of killing 2-year-old Jason Wilder McDaniel bragged about his oil wealth to the child’s mother in 2018 when pressuring her to quit her job at a bar. But Wednesday, a judge deemed James Irven Staley III too poor to hire a lawyer to appeal his capital murder conviction.
Instead, Wichita County taxpayers will foot the bill for a court-appointed attorney for James Staley’s appeal, according to officials. The case is expected to land any minute in the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth.
Senior District Judge Everett Young appointed criminal defense attorney J. Warren St. John on Wednesday to represent James Staley for the appeal of his conviction on Monday for murdering Wilder Oct. 11, 2018, in a Wichita Falls home, court records show.
Wichita County tax rolls show James Staley owns a home with three bedrooms, four baths, a swimming pool and almost an acre of land in posh Country Club Estates valued at $525,013. It was once listed for sale on Zillow.
Land records indicate he put up the home in the 2000 block of Irving Place, a diamond ring, and oil and gas leases in Archer, Ward and Wichita counties to get extensions of credit and financial accommodations from a relative in 2021.
The home and diamond ring are listed as security for an $860,000 loan in a Jan. 8, 2021, deed of trust. A maturity date for the loan is referenced, but it is not specified in the document.
Staley mortgaged his interests in oil and gas leases in another Jan. 8, 2021, deed of trust related to a promissory note. The amount of the note was not specified.
In short, James Staley borrowed a lot of money from the Joe H. Staley Jr. Trust, apparently using oil and gas leases, a ring and the Country Club home to secure the cash after he moved to Okmulgee, Okla., according to the agreements.
More:Staley conviction carried a high price tag
Dallas attorney John H. Bonnett III was designated as trustee to act for the benefit of the trust. The trust was based at a Dallas home where attorney Joe H. Staley Jr. lived before he passed away Sept. 11, 2021.
The property James Staley used as security includes a ring described as a platinum Tiffany-style solitaire mounting with a European-cut diamond weighing about 5.72 carats, as well as any furnishings, art, machinery, appliances, equipment and more at the home on Irving Place.
Staley requested a free court reporter’s record of his trial Wednesday so he could file it for his appeal, saying he was too poor to pay for it.
However, Young signed an order the same day for Staley to provide the funds to pay the court reporter for a record of his trial. The judge based his decision on the picture Staley provided of his finances, saying the order could be amended.
Not long after Staley was convicted and sentenced to life without parole on Monday, defense attorney Mark G. Daniel filed a notice that his client would appeal.
The judge granted a motion for withdrawal to Daniel and the other lawyer who represented Staley in the murder trial, Terri Moore, on Wednesday, court records show.
The attorneys’ motion said they were never formally hired to represent Staley for the charges of injury to a child and tampering with evidence against him.
A jury of 12 people found Staley guilty of capital murder of a person younger than 10 Monday afternoon at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in downtown Fort Worth. The jury took about four hours to reach a verdict.
Young sentenced Staley to life in prison without parole, an automatic sentence, Monday. The verdict came after a grueling trial, including nine days of testimony in an eighth-floor courtroom during which prosecutors contended Staley smothered Wilder with a pillow.
More:Blog: WEEK ONE James Staley trial coverage
More:Blog: Follow WEEK TWO live updates for Staley trial here
More:Blog: WEEK THREE live updates for Staley trial
Wilder’s mother, Amber McDaniel, testified that she discovered her child dead on the floor of a bedroom in Staley’s home on the morning of Oct. 11, 2018.
On Monday, Staley was led from the courtroom in handcuffs by deputies. He was still being held Thursday morning in the Tarrant County Jail.
Young has signed an order to allow Staley’s transfer from jail to prison after Friday, court records show.
Trish Choate, enterprise watchdog reporter for the Times Record News, covers education, courts, breaking news and more. Contact her with news tips at email@example.com. Her Twitter handle is @Trishapedia.