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Day 2 of Joseph Daniels trial resumes with law enforcement testimony

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Posted at 7:09 AM, Jun 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-05 10:57:47-04

CHARLOTTE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Multiple members of emergency and law enforcement agencies testified during day two of Joseph Daniels’ trial in Charlotte.

Watch gavel-to-gavel coverage below:

A few words said by Joe Clyde’s younger brother within earshot of investigators could be a critical piece of evidence.

Six different witnesses were called - all of them responded to the Daniels home the morning Joe Clyde was reported missing.

Two emergency responders -- one from TEMA and the other from Maury County EMA -- testified that they heard Joe Clyde’s 3-year-old brother ask his aunt if Joe Clyde was dead. District Attorney Ray Crouch said they heard the younger brother ask, “Joe dead? Joe dead? Joe dead?,” and his Aunt Joyce replied, "yes baby, Joe dead."

There was some controversy about this testimony being shown in front of a jury. The defense argued that this was hearsay and inadmissible. But Judge David Wolfe ultimately ruled in favor of the prosecution, saying Tennessee case law supported it.

Also on the stand, the defense asked Brent Morse from TEMA if the thought of Joe Clyde being dead had been brought up before the 3-year-old asked that question, but Morse said at that point, they were "working under the assumption we had a missing child."

The state also reviewed additional photos of the Daniels’ mobile home and property. The photos include the master lock and key that were reportedly on the door the night Joe Clyde went missing.

In opening statements, the DA said the timeline the defense is suggesting -- that Joe Clyde climbed on a coffee table and took off the lock himself -- is impossible.

Chad Bailey with Maury County EMA also testified that Joseph Daniels told him and other investigators that he believed Joe Clyde pushed the coffee table to the door, climbed on top, unlocked the master lock, climbed back down and moved the table back. This was the afternoon after Joe Clyde went missing.

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The prosecution said this is the lock and key on the Daniels' home outside door that was meant to keep Joe Clyde inside the home.
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The prosecution said this is the lock and key on the Daniels' home outside door that was meant to keep Joe Clyde inside the home.
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Lock and key on the Daniels' home outside door that was meant to keep Joe Clyde inside the home.

Lockert cross-examined Bailey about where they searched and where they didn’t.

After a break for lunch, former Dickson County Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe took the stand and was asked about the scope of the search and investigation through pictures, videos and maps.

At one point, the state put up a list of searches for Joe Clyde, and Bledsoe confirmed there was a search as recently as a few weeks ago. "We’ve never stopped searching," he said.

While cross-examining Bledsoe, the defense asked him about any physical evidence in this case and the former sheriff said that to this day there has not been any physical evidence pointing to the murder of Joe.

"And was any physical evidence found indicating that Joe Clyde Daniels was murdered," the attorney asked.

"Not that I was involved with," Bledsoe answered.

"And was their any physical evidence that indicated Joe Clyde Daniels was even dead?"

"No sir. Not that I’m aware of," Bledsoe answered.

The final witness of the day recorded a conversation with Joseph Daniels as they drove around with him looking for Joe Clyde. They discussed possible places Joe could have gone and talked to neighbors in the area.

The trial will continue Saturday morning at 8 a.m.

The trial began Thursday afternoon with opening statements from each side, laying out what they hope to prove over the course of the next few weeks. Both sides spent a lot of time talking about the taped confession of Joseph Daniels.

DA Crouch told the jury they will be able to prove certain aspects of Joseph Daniel’s confession — which is required under Tennessee law before it can be shown to the jury. The state also argues it wasn’t coerced.

But Defense Attorney Jake Lockert argued in his opening statement that not only did investigators feed his “mentally ill client” with information, but that the state ignored other evidence once they had the confession.

We also heard from the first three witnesses, including Joe Clyde’s speech pathologist, his school bus driver, and the 911 operator that Joseph called the night Joe Clyde disappeared.

Previous story:

Joseph Daniels Trial Day 1: Jury hears from Joe Clyde's teacher, deputies who were first to the scene