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Watch: Joseph Daniels Murder Trial in Death of Autistic Son


Joseph Ray Daniels, 31, stands trial in the alleged murder of his missing son Joe Clyde Daniels, 5. Opening statements are scheduled to begin 1 p.m. CT / 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, June 3. Court will be held on Saturdays. You can watch in the player above.

Defendant Daniels called 911 on April 4, 2018 to say his son “escaped.”

“We cannot find him,” he said in audio obtained by WKRN.

But he ended up confessing to beating baby Joe to death, saying the child had peed on the floor, authorities said.

As seen on video, Daniels broke down in tears while wearing a shirt labeled “Super Dad.”

“I was just so angry with him,” he said. Asked how many times he hit baby Joe, he said a “couple” of times while the boy was crying.

Baby Joe was on the autism spectrum and non-verbal.

At first, defendant Daniels said he put the body in a remote area, but when investigators did not find Joe, Daniels claimed he put the remains in a pond. Again, they did not find the body, and Joe remains missing to this day.

Daniels’ defense has argued that the confession was coerced. He is charged with first-degree murder, child abuse, aggravated child abuse causing serious bodily injury, child neglect, filing a false report, and tampering or fabricating evidence.

The boy’s mother Krystal Daniels is also charged with aggravated child neglect. She allegedly admitted to being at the home when Joseph Daniels beat the child to death, but like her co-defendant, she recanted the story, saying it was coerced.

A 2019 jailhouse call showed Joseph Daniels claiming it was Krystal who killed Joe by smothering him with a pillow. But as far as authorities are concerned, it was he who ended the child’s life.

[Mugshot via Tennessee Bureau of Investigation]

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