Attorney for Baby Joe’s father claims mental illness medication prompted murder confession

Local News

DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Joe Clyde Daniels would be celebrating his eighth birthday today, his father’s attorney said if investigators hadn’t stopped the search when the father admitted to killing him and dumping his body in a field.

“My client was being treated for mental illness from the time he was about five years old,” Public Defender Jake Lockert told News 2.

Lockert has filed several motions in court, one of them to throw out Joe Daniels’ confession of killing his 5-year-old son, claiming it was a coerced false confession.

“People often wonder why someone would do that, but DNA exoneration cases showed that right about 25 percent of victims that had been convicted had given false confessions,” Lockert explained, “People that have mental illnesses, like my client, are much more susceptible to being pressured into giving false confession.”

Lockert said Daniels was on lithium, rasitol, and 200 milligrams of Trazodone– medicines for depression and bipolar disorder.

He added there is plenty of other evidence to prove Daniels didn’t murder his son.

“There’s video surveillance from a neighbors camera that the vehicle didn’t leave. So that’s not true. If he had beaten that child to the extent his head was bleeding, face, legs, just by virtue of all the capillaries in the forehead, one of the wounds described in the confession was in the forehead, you would have blood everywhere. On the floor, in the coffee table in the living room,” he said.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation never found Baby Joe’s blood anywhere. One year ago, the district attorney announced they had found Joe Daniels’ blood on a shovel but had not released any further details since.

“We also know from witnesses that Baby Joe was spotted alive 420 yards down the road, 45 minutes to an hour after my client said he killed the victim, gotten rid of the body and gone home and gotten back in bed. There were also sightings of a young boy meeting this description in Benton County later on that day,” Lockert added.

He said evidence shows that TBI stopped the bulk of their investigation after arresting Daniels, just days after Baby Joe disappeared.

He also stated that TBI never searched the more than ten sex offenders homes in the area.

“That child, we believe, was abducted, and had law enforcement continue to work it as a missing person and a possible abduction, maybe they would’ve found that victim by now,” he said.

Motions to get the confession thrown out, as well as admitting more evidence detailing witnesses accounts and surveillance will be determined in court on starting on September 4.

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