Joseph Daniels Wiki
Joseph Daniels Biography
Who is Joseph Daniels?
Joseph Daniels was convicted of first degree murder in the commission of a felony, a conviction that carries an automatic sentence of life in prison in Tennessee. In this case, the related offense was aggravated child abuse.
He was also charged with first degree first degree murder, but was convicted of the lesser count of second degree murder on that count. He was also convicted of aggravated child abuse, initiating a false report, and tampering with the evidence.
The jury, elected from Hamilton County, announced its verdict Saturday after an eight-day trial and nearly 10 hours of deliberation over two days.
Joseph Daniels Age
The age of Joseph Daniels is unknown.
Joseph Daniels was charged with murdering his 5-year-old son
Daniels was accused of killing the boy after his disappearance in early April 2018.
Joe Clyde had autism and did not speak, but teachers and friends remembered him as a “very funny” and “energetic” child who “loved to eat” and “loved his boots.”
The small, tight-knit Dickson County community was rocked by the disappearance and murder charges. He followed the case intensively for three years. When Daniels was initially questioned in the days after the disappearance, he told TBI agents that he had beaten “Baby Joe” to death after learning that the boy had urinated on the ground.
He said he disposed of Joe Clyde’s body at an undisclosed remote location, investigators said. The child’s body has not been found. He has since retracted that confession, but Dickson County Circuit Court Judge David D. Wolfe allowed it to be shared in court.
“The question of whether it is a false confession or not is the question of the jury,” Wolfe said.
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Throughout the trial, the defense repeatedly tried to undermine his client’s abilities, apparently in an effort to cast doubt on his ability to carry out and cover up a murder.
Defense attorney Matthew Mitchell told the jury that his client is a liar, urging them not to trust a recorded confession and repeated follow-up statements.
“He’s lied to you about everything,” Mitchell said Friday, then asked, “But do you have to believe him that he killed his son?”
Mitchell argued that police decided early on that Daniels was the prime suspect and suggested investigators may have ignored other leads in the search for Joe.
In response, prosecutors told the jury not to reward anyone for getting away with it. District Attorney General Ray Crouch reminded jurors that hundreds of law enforcement officers and volunteers with dogs and helicopters searched the area for days looking for the missing child.
Daniels’ defense suggested that the boy may have escaped the home on his own account and been lost in a fairly rural area of Dickson County. Prosecutors pointed to a series of locks on the door.
Without concrete evidence in the form of dead bodies or strong forensic traces, both parties have struggled to find definitively what Daniels is suspected of doing to harm the boy. Prosecutors said Daniels was concerned that his wife was planning to leave him and believed that he would depend on government funds for Joe’s care to support himself and the other children.
Daniels’ defense attorney, public defender Jake Lockert, spoke briefly with reporters after the verdict was read. He indicated that he believed that the testimony of another child in the home was instrumental in the guilty verdict against his client.
Lockert plans to file an appeal of the conviction. Before the jury began deliberating on Friday, Wolfe explained the charges against Daniels and that some of the charges against him had other lesser charges that they could choose from if they felt there were reasonable doubts for a harsher sentence.
David Raybin, a Nashville defense attorney who was not involved in the case, said in an email that the second-degree murder conviction will likely “merge” with the first-degree felony murder conviction. The judge will decide whether sentences for the remaining charges will run concurrently or consecutively to life in prison, Raybin said.
A life sentence for felony murder under Tennessee law requires a mandatory minimum of 51 years without the possibility of parole, according to Raybin.