Daniels Manslaughter Trial Begins with Emotional Testimony

By: Cameron Taylor Email
By: Cameron Taylor Email

Testimony began Wednesday in the manslaughter trial of 21-year-old Edward Daniels Jr.

Daniels Jr. is accused of allowing his dogs to attack 7-year-old Tyler Jett back in April, inflicting wounds that led to his death five days later at a Pensacola hospital.

Edward Daniels Jr's trial began calmly with attorneys presenting opening statements.

Assistant State Attorney, Larry Basford, described the choice Tyler Jett made minutes before he was attacked by Daniels' two dogs.

"That's when he made that fatal mistake. That innocent act, that fatal mistake to go outside to play and ride his bike," said Basford.

Assistant Public Defender, Kevin Carlisle, then conceded Daniels' dogs were at fault.

"There are two elements that need to be proven in this case and we're admitting one of them now. Tyler Jett is dead. His death was caused by those two dogs," said Carlisle.

He's contesting the manslaughter and evidence tampering charges.

During testimony, witnesses told jurors about past incidents they'd had with Daniels' dogs.

"He placed the dog, the brindle, inside of his house and he brought back a leash and handed it to me. He asked me if I would go get it and I brought the dog out and handed it over to him and I told him it does not need to happen again because if those dogs got out again, they're going to kill a kid," said Stanlee Himebaugh, a witness.

Bay County Animal Control officers say they'd previously cited Daniels for violating a loose dog ordinance in Callaway.

All of that paled in comparison to the April attack on 7-year-old Tyler Jett.

Tyler's mother, Brandy Wilhite, was quite emotional when she took the stand Wednesday afternoon describing what happened that day as she was getting ready for work.
"I was fixing to get my uniform on and I heard somebody scream "oh my god, come get Tyler," said Wilhite.

Some family friends say they're still shocked by the tragedy.

"I seen Tyler laying there with the dogs on him," said Shannon Washington, a witness.
'What do you start doing Mr. Washington?,' said Basford.
"I went and trying to yell at the dogs trying to get them off of him," said Washington.

Testimony will continue Thursday morning at the Bay County Courthouse. The trial could last until the end of the week.

If convicted, Edward Daniels Jr. could face up to 15 years in prison.

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