UPDATE: The jury reached a verdict on Saturday, June 12, 2021. Joseph Daniels was found guilty of murdering his son Joe Clyde Daniels. Joseph Daniels was convicted on a charge of first-degree murder in perpetration of a felony, as well as second-degree murder, for fatally beating five-year-old Joe Clyde, whose body has never been located.
DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Three of the four alternate jurors in the Joseph Daniels trial would have chosen to convict the Dickson County man on a charge of first-degree murder in the death of his five-year-old son, Joe Clyde, according to his attorneys.
The defense told News 2 on Friday evening that a court officer spoke with the alternates, three of which said they wanted Joseph Daniels to be found guilty of first-degree murder, while the other would have chosen to convict him on a second-degree murder charge.
Sixteen people were chosen from Chattanooga to serve on the jury. Prior to deliberations Friday afternoon, Judge David Wolfe chose four of them at random, deeming those the alternates, as the official jury would only be made up of 12 people.
All four of the alternates were immediately bused back to Hamilton County and would have no say in the fate of Joseph Daniels, who is on trial for killing his son, known as “Baby Joe.”
The deliberations began around 2 p.m. Friday. About four hours later, the jury requested to re-watch portions of the suspect’s nearly three-hour-long confession video in the courtroom with no one else present, rather than in the jury deliberation room.
The jury was allowed to return to the courtroom around 6:30 p.m. and watch those clips again alongside the judge, prosecution and defense.
The first day of deliberations concluded just before 8:30 p.m. Friday and the jury returned at 9 a.m. Saturday to continue working toward a verdict.
The five charges against Joseph Daniels, include first-degree murder, first-degree murder in perpetration of a felony, aggravated child abuse, filing a false report and evidence tampering.
The state rested its case Thursday afternoon and the defense chose not to call any witnesses.
Joseph Daniels called 911 around 6:22 a.m. on the morning of April 4, 2018 and said Joe Clyde had “escaped” from the family’s residence on Garners Creek Road in Dickson County.
Two days later, in a recorded interview with law enforcement, Joseph Daniels confessed to the fatal beating of his son, who had autism and was non-verbal, after the five-year-old had urinated on the floor of a bedroom. He told investigators that he dumped Joe Clyde’s body in a rural area.
The child’s body has never been located.
Jake Lockert, the public defender representing Joseph Daniels, has said his client’s confession was coerced, but the judge allowed it to be played and used as evidence in the trial.
Joseph Daniels’ wife, Krystal witnessed the fatal beating, but went to bed instead of helping her son, according to investigators.
She is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect and will be tried separately from her husband.
The attorney representing Krystal Daniels has said a date for her trial will be set after a verdict is reached in her husband’s case.
News 2 will have live streaming coverage of Joseph Daniels’ trial at WKRN.com. Josh Breslow will be joined by News 2’s legal expert, Grover Collins to provide analysis on the trial from the opening statements to the verdict.