‘Baby Joe’ murder confession from father can be used in trial, judge rules

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DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The taped confession in the murder case of five-year-old “Baby Joe” will be allowed at trial, Dickson County Judge David Wolfe ruled Friday. 

That more than four-hour, post polygraph confession tape has been hotly debated for months. The defense wants it thrown out, saying it’s a false confession and the child’s father Joseph Daniels was coerced. 

The confession is key in a case where we’ve seen very little evidence from the state. 

Judge Wolfe ruled Friday the confession was voluntary. 

“It was persistent, but not extremely prolonged or hostile. He was advised of constitutional rights before he took the polygraph. He advised he had adequate sleep and even though he mentioned he had been diagnosed as bipolar, he advised he had taken his medication the night before,” the judge explained.

The state, however, will have to corroborate the confession with independent evidence prior to it being submitted before a jury. 

“Without corroboration it can’t come in, and if it can’t come in then not only can it not come in, they have no case,” the judge stated. 

The defense was hoping to hear proof from the state before jury selection begins; the state assured the court they will show proof when the trial starts. 

The judge also ruled some of the statements Joseph Daniels made outside of the taped confession admitting to the killing will also be allowed at trial. 

The trial is set to begin June 1st. 

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