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Day 4 of Joseph Daniels trial: Joe Clyde's older brother testifies

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Posted at 6:40 AM, Jun 07, 2021

CHARLOTTE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Testimony resumed Monday in the trial of Joseph Daniels, with Joe Clyde Daniels' half-brother taking the stand.

The first witness to testify was Jeff Smithson, who lives across the street from the Daniels’ residence. After that, the prosecution called Joe Clyde's older half-brother, Alex Nolan, who was 8 at the time.

He was sharing a bed with Joe Clyde the night he disappeared and claimed he witnessed a lot of what happened that evening.

The defense first requested an out-of-jury hearing to determine if the boy should be able to testify. However, Judge David Wolfe ruled the boy is competent to testify, and the jury was brought back into the courtroom.

Alex testified that he heard a loud thump, but hesitated to go out of the bedroom “to let things cool down.” He walked out of the bedroom and said he saw Joe Clyde lying in the floor. Alex said he then saw Joseph carry Joe Clyde out the back door into the yard.

Alex testified that he watched as Joseph walked down their driveway with Joe Clyde in his arms and then turned right down Garner Creek Road. Alex said he eventually followed them up the driveway to watch before going back inside.

He said Joseph spotted him watching and threatened him.

"He threatened that he would kill me if I didn’t help," said Alex.

"And did you help him," asked Crouch. "Yes," said Alex.

Alex then explained that he remembers opening a car door for Joseph but doesn't remember what vehicle.

The next morning, Alex said the family told him his brother ran away.

When asked, Alex testified that he never saw Joe Clyde moving the coffee table on purpose -- only accidentally while playing. He also said he never saw Joe Clyde climb up and try to unlock the door.

After the state finished its questioning, the defense asked Alex about giving a false story. Alex testified that he initially did but said he didn’t change his story after talking to family or investigators.

The defense then played a lengthy recording where he left a lot of that information out. When asked why he changed his story, Alex testified he lied three years ago to protect his stepfather.

In the recorded interview, Alex told the investigator that his “Papa tells mean jokes” and that Big Joe sometimes hits him in the face, referring to Joseph’s father, who's currently referred to Big Joe.

During the video interview, Alex told investigators that when Joe Clyde urinated on the floor, he went and got Joseph, and after that, Joe Clyde must have escaped.

He also told investigators in the taped recording that Joe Clyde had never escaped in the middle of the night before.

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Still of Alex Nolan's video interview with investigators after Joe Clyde Daniels' disappearance. He testified in court on Monday, June 7, 2021.

The video interview ended with the investigator asking if there was anything else he wanted to share that he hadn't said already. Alex answered no.

Alex also testified that he was able to recall some of the events from three years ago recently because he had blacked out in his memories due to trauma.

After a recess for lunch, testimony resumed with the defense playing a second interview with Alex, during which he appeared a little more uncomfortable. At times, he seemed more fidgety, was doing different voices and just nervous overall. He also made odd statements like seeing a blue man, seeing his dad have and use a sword.

By the time that interview took place, his parents had been arrested, and he was living with an aunt and uncle on his mother’s side.

In the recorded video from 2018, Alex told investigators that Joseph told him he had killed Baby Joe. While on the stand Monday, Alex clarified that never happened. He said Joseph never confessed to him.

The woman who conducted both interviews, Jessica Tigert with the Child Advocacy Center, testified as an expert witness as to why Alex may have withheld some information in the days following Joe's disappearance.

"They could be scared, someone could have threatened them, they’re not ready to admit something has happened to them, they have to go back home where it possibly can continue to happen," she said.

Over the weekend, jurors saw body camera footage of authorities speaking with Krystal and Joseph Daniels, as well as surveillance footage from homes and businesses in the area.

The jury also heard a recording of Joseph Daniels talking with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation the day after Joe Clyde was reported missing.

Joseph told TBI agent Steven Kennard that he had nothing to do with Joe Clyde's disappearance. During the interview, Joseph also hypothesized that a sex offender possibly kidnapped the child.

"I don't know where he's at. Nobody does except for him," said Daniels.

Other investigators questioned Daniels on inconsistencies in what happened he said happened the morning Joe Clyde went missing.

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.

Chris Davis is covering this trial from the courtroom. Check back for updates.

Previous stories:

Day 3 of Joseph Daniels Trial: Jury hears part of interview of Daniels with investigators

Day 2 of Joseph Daniels trial resumes with law enforcement testimony

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