Joseph Ray Daniels

Joseph Ray Daniels,31, was found guilty of murdering his five year old son. After initially saying his son had escaped, after being interrogated by police he gave a confession, and apparently believed he had killed his son but had no memory of it. Joseph made several statements where he had put the body, but no body was found in any of the locations.

According to a news report:

The state’s case lacked thoroughness and the confession was coerced, said defense attorney Matt Mitchell, who argued that Joe Clyde did leave that home through an unlocked door. He maintained prosecutors did not even prove the ostensible reason why Joseph Ray allegedly beat Baby Joe: for peeing on the floor. They literally tore out the carpet but did not prove it, Mitchell said. As described by the defense, this was representative of a investigation that did not cover every base it could have, with authorities ignoring other leads after they got the confession. This included someone reportedly seeing a child in muddy pajamas, or authorities failing to confirm whether a spot on the carpet was bleach.

According to the defense, the confession was coerced, with Daniels taking the fall for Alex after it was suggested that the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation would investigate the boy, who was then age 8. Mitchell, however, explicitly said he was not going to call Alex a liar, describing him instead as a child who presented the facts he was given. The boy’s story changed over time and that’s in large part because of Joseph Ray Daniels, the defense maintained.

Public Defender Jake Lockert spoke to the media after the verdict was announced and said they would be filing an appeal for a new trial. Lockert, who’s retiring soon, said he would not be leading that effort.”In a case like this where your client confesses multiple times and makes admissions against interest multiple times, it’s a difficult case to defend,” said Lockert.Lockert said the testimony of Joe Clyde’s half-brother, Alex, made the difference in the case.When asked if he would have done anything differently, Lockert said he would have put on more proof for the defense. He said they had an “eyewitness” who was in the house and would have testified that what Alex said happened did not happen.”In hindsight, we would have gone ahead and put on more proof, but at the time, we thought the best strategy was to cut the DA off so they couldn’t put on 28 more witnesses and the jury listen to phone call after phone call of our client confessing and saying things he shouldn’t be saying,” Lockert added.Lockert also said he still believes Joseph Daniels’ confession was coerced.

From a news report on on the testimony of Alex:

The child said he went through around 50 of the investigative interviews and therapy sessions at the Child Advocacy Center.
“I told the other story, but this one’s obviously a lie. To be 100 percent honest, I just wanted to get out of there,” he testified Monday.

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