Charlotte prepares for national spotlight as the Joe Clyde Daniels murder trial begins

Posted at 5:59 PM, Jun 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-02 19:39:14-04

CHARLOTTE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The Joe Clyde Daniels murder trial begins in Charlotte Thursday afternoon, thrusting the small Dickson County town into the national spotlight.

The only thing close to rush hour traffic in Charlotte is the lunch line at Wall's BBQ. But even that food serving line isn't in a big hurry. "Charlotte’s been a sleepy little town," said James Boyd Wall, owner of the meat and three. "Country atmosphere."

That will all change Thursday, when Wall's BBQ gets to be a fly on the wall of the biggest trial this town has ever seen. "It’s on everybody’s mind, it’s in everybody’s mouth, everybody wants to talk about it," said Alonna Wall, a server at the restaurant.

Charlotte citizens haven't just been spectators, most of the town searched for little Joe Clyde Daniels when he first went missing April 4, 2018. "I think everyone’s just on edge and we want to know what happened," said Alonna.

Residents here have been folloing every twist and turn since -- including the arrest of Joe Clyde's father Joseph for murder. "Because he confessed twice and then he said his wife did it, so a lot of going around in circles," she said.

The population of Charlotte is just under 2,000 people, and it may feel like that number doubles, between all of the reporters and the people interested in this trial, coming to the courthouse to watch. "Really tugs at the heart of people,' said James.

But the town's moment on the national stage could have its bright spots, at least for business. "We’re excited to see new people and hear about the process and how it’s going," said Alonna.

The family decided to double the restaurant's dining room when they learned the new Dickson County Justice Center was opening right across the street. "We knew it was coming and that was the plan," she said.

But even more than the rush of customers, the Walls are hoping for answers so this community can start to heal. "It’s just one of those things that happened that never should have happened in Dickson County," said James.