DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Joseph Daniels was convicted Saturday on multiple charges, including felony murder and second-degree murder, for fatally beating his five-year-old son, Joe Clyde, known as “Baby Joe.”
The jury began deliberating around 2 p.m. Friday and returned the guilty verdict just before noon Saturday, following a weeklong trial in Dickson County.
The jury found Joseph Daniels guilty of five charges, including first-degree murder in perpetration of a felony, second-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, filing a false report, and evidence tampering.
Joseph Daniels will serve life in prison with the possibility of parole on the murder charges. He will be sentenced for the additional charges during a hearing scheduled for Sept. 14 at 1 p.m.
He will be jailed at Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville.
Daniels called 911 around 6:22 a.m. on the morning of April 4, 2018, and said Joe Clyde had “escaped” from the family’s residence on Garners Creek Road.
Two days later, in a recorded interview with law enforcement, he confessed to the fatal beating of his son, who had autism and was non-verbal, after the five-year-old had urinated on the floor of a bedroom. He told investigators that he dumped Joe Clyde’s body in a rural area.
Multiple searches were conducted over the days, months and years that followed, but the child’s body has never been found.
Jake Lockert, the public defender representing Joseph Daniels, has argued that his client’s confession was coerced, but the judge allowed it to be played and used as evidence in the trial.
The jury, which consisted of 12 members, was chosen from a pool of people in Chattanooga, all of which the judge said had never heard the name “Baby Joe.”
Krystal Daniels witnessed the fatal beating, but went to bed instead of helping her son, according to investigators.
She is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect and will go to trial at a later date that has not been determined.