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11-Year-Old Boy Testifies Against Stepfather, Says He Heard Loud Bang and Saw ‘Baby Joe’ on the Floor


An 11-year-old boy testified on Monday that he saw his stepfather, 31-year-old murder defendant Joseph Ray Daniels, beat 5-year-old victim Joe Clyde Daniels with a whip in 2018. The boy said he heard a loud bang later in the night and saw the younger Daniels, known as “Baby Joe,” on the floor.

Defendant Daniels threatened to kill him if he did not help, said the witness identified Alex, who was 8 years old at the time. Alex opened a vehicle trunk for his stepfather, who instead carried Baby Joe away, according to this story.

The beating happened after Baby Joe, who lived with autism, peed on the floor, the 11-year-old said.

Authorities have said that Joseph Ray Daniels is responsible for the April 4, 2018 disappearance and presumed death of Baby Joe in Dickson County, Tennessee. The defendant first claimed the child left the house alone, then changed the story to say he killed the boy, but he also gave two different stories on where investigators could find the body. Baby Joe’s whereabouts remain publicly unknown. The defense is arguing the confession was coerced.

Alex and Baby Joe were half-brothers. Their biological mother, Krystal Daniels, 30, is charged with aggravated child neglect. Krystal Daniels allegedly admitted to being at home when Joseph Ray Daniels beat the child to death, but later recanted, claiming this was a coerced confession.

The defense worked to highlight inconsistencies in the stories that Alex told over the years. The 11-year-old acknowledged on the stand that he previously told a “fake” story.

[Screengrab of Joseph Ray Daniels via Law&Crime Network]

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