DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — The younger sibling of Joe Clyde Daniels asked a first responder if his brother was dead on the morning of April 4, 2018, to which the boy’s aunt responded “Yes baby, Joe dead,” according to testimony provided Friday morning during the trial of Joseph Daniels.
Brent Morris with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency first took the stand during a motions hearing, prior to the jury entering the Dickson County courtroom on day two of the trial for Joseph Daniels, the man accused of murdering his son Joe Clyde, known as “Baby Joe.”
Morris explained that he had responded to assist in the search for Joe Clyde on April 4, 2018, during which time Joe Clyde’s three-year-old sibling, Noah, approached him and asked, “Joe dead? Joe dead? Joe dead?”
Morris said the child’s aunt, Joyce said “Yes baby, Joe dead.”
William Bailey with Maury County Search and Rescue then reinforced the comments were made by Noah and Joyce.
The defense asked Bailey how he knew Noah and Joyce had actually seen anything, to which Bailey replied, “From my experience, children don’t lie much.”
The testimony from Morris and Bailey was made prior to the jury entering the courtroom Friday morning.
The defense called this “hearsay” and argued Morris and Bailey should not be able to make those statements during the trial because they had no proof that Joyce and Noah had actually seen anything.
Dickson County Circuit Court Judge David Wolfe ruled the statements could be made by Morris and Bailey, allowing both to include those in their official testimony in front of jurors Friday morning.
The first witness called to the stand Friday morning was Deputy Timothy Simmons with the Dickson County Sheriff’s Office, a K-9 handler who responded on April 4, 2018, to the search for Joe Clyde.
Simmons said the dog appeared to be following a scent for “a couple miles” but eventually became exhausted and stopped with nothing found.
The “scent article” used was a piece of clothing out of the dirty clothes hamper, according to Simmons.
Dash camera video from Simmons’ vehicle was played during the trial, showing Joseph and Krystal Daniels speaking with the deputy. There was no audio attached to the video.
A juror asked Deputy Simmons if the article of clothing used was in a hamper along with other peoples’ clothing, would that make it more difficult for the K-9 to follow Joe Clyde’s scent?
Deputy Simmons responded, “The hope is that the clothes were on Joe Clyde. We as people shed skin cells everyday and hopefully that would be the main odor that was on the clothes. So, it shouldn’t interfere because the odor should be trapped inside the clothes,” he said.
Morris and Bailey each took the stand after Deputy Simmons, testifying about the comments made by three-year-old Noah and his aunt, Joyce.
The trial for Joseph Daniels began Thursday afternoon and is expected to last for approximately two weeks, including Saturdays.
Court documents allege Joseph Daniels reported Joe Clyde missing on April 4, 2018, but later confessed to fatally beating the child, who had autism and was non-verbal, while his wife, Krystal Daniels witnessed the assault and went to bed, instead of helping her son.
During a four-hour taped confession, Joseph Daniels admitted he dumped Joe Clyde’s body in a remote area, but the boy’s remains have never been located.
Jake Lockert, the public defender representing Joseph Daniels, has argued the confession was coerced, but a judge ruled it can be played at trial.
Joseph Daniels faces multiple charges, including first-degree murder and evidence tampering. He was jailed at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville but will be housed in the Dickson County jail during the trial.
Krystal Daniels, who is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect, remains in the Dickson County jail, as well. She will be tried separately from her husband.