Fort Worth

Man who dismembered corpse in 2010 ordered held without bail in burglary case

Daniel Wayne Staley
Daniel Wayne Staley Courtesy

A mentally ill man accused of burglary two days after his release from a mental health facility, where he had been detained for allegedly texting a crisis hotline about his desires to kill and dismember a woman, has been ordered held without bail until a mental evaluation can be done.

Daniel Wayne Staley, 24, has been held at the Tarrant County Jail since Jan. 8, when he was arrested on allegations that he used a rock to break in into a University of North Texas Health Science Center business office at 1412 May St. and stole some equipment.

A police report states Staley admitted to a UNTHSC officer that he broke into a building and was “messed up.”

Bail in the burglary of a building case was initially set at $2,000, but on Wednesday prosecutors filed a motion asking the court to hold Staley’s bond amount insufficient, calling Staley “a significant risk to the community” and a flight risk.

Staley “has an extremely length history of mental illness and was released two days earlier from a mental facility for reporting that he was looking for a female to hit in the head with a hammer, load into his vehicle and take her somewhere to dismember her,” Assistant District Attorney Lisa Callaghan wrote in the motion. “He had previously been committed for activities including digging up a dead body and removing the foot.”

This Defendant is a significant risk to the community

Assistant District Attorney Lisa Callaghan in a motion to the court

The motion states Staley also has a history of violence and that his mental illness issues are likely to interfere with his ability to comply with proceedings in the case. With no place to live, the motion states, Staley is a flight risk as well as a risk for not complying with the bond.

State District Judge Scott Wisch ordered that Staley be held without bail until a mental health evaluation can be done, court records show.

David Pearson, Staley’s court-appointed defense attorney, did not immediately return a call Friday morning seeking comment.

CPS involved since he was a child

Tarrant County court records indicate Staley has been in and out of mental facilities since childhood.

In February 2006, he was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital after he was found cutting himself and threatening suicide at an alternative school he was attending.

Court records say hospital staff contacted the boy’s mother, but she refused to come to the hospital and sign in her son, telling staff she had no gas in her car, was packing for a planned move and “does not want Daniel anymore because she is tired of dealing with him.”

She stated that she is sorry, but the State will have to take her child

Delinda Vallejo to CPS workers regarding her son in February 2006

In a later conversation with a Child Protective Services employee, Delinda Vallejo acknowledged that her son needs help but that she couldn’t take care of him.

She declined to provide information to CPS about other relatives, including the whereabouts of her ex-husband (Staley’s father), and said she had faxed a note to JPS informing them she was “releasing” her parental rights, the records state.

“She stated that she is sorry, but the State will have to take her child,” the records state.

CPS was granted temporary custody of Staley in March 2006 and permanent custody that November.

Committed to state mental hospital

Staley bounced from therapeutic foster homes to psychiatric hospitals to residential treatment centers over the next few years, records show. At least four times he ran away, twice he stayed at shelters, and twice he was held at juvenile detention centers.

When he turned 16, Staley was placed by the state in a program to help prepare him for independent living. Records show his father, Russell Staley, had at one time been open to allowing his son to live with him and assist him in working toward independent living but changed his mind due to his son harming himself and making homicidal threats.

Staley was 18 when he approached Dallas police officers and showed them a foot he had stolen from a grave. He admitted to investigators that he dug into the grave at a private Jewish cemetery, broke into the wooden coffin and removed the foot from the interred corpse, according to a Dallas police report.

Staley was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 2010 Dallas case and committed to a state mental hospital until his release in April 2013.

In a story about Staley’s release, his father, Russell Staley, told WFAA/Channel 8 that he believed it was “a matter of time” before his son killed someone.

A father’s alleged crime

Somewhat ironically, Russell Staley now stands accused in connection with the deaths of four people.

Russell Staley, a truck driver, was charged in June in Murray County, Okla., with four counts of first-degree manslaughter in connection with a September 2014 crash that killed four members of the North Central Texas College softball team.

The team was returning to Gainesville form a scrimmage in Bethany, Okla., when Russell Staley’s northbound rig crossed the median on Interstate 35 near Davis, Okla., and struck the left side of the team’s southbound bus.

Russell Staley had told investigators he was distracted by something in the cab.

4 North Central Texas College softball players died in an Oklahoma crash for which Staley’s father, Russell Staley, is now charged

But the National Transportation Safety Board issued a report indicating Russell Staley was likely high on synthetic drugs when the crash occurred.

The report points to a small pipe containing residue of synthetic marijuana found inside the truck after the crash and that Russell Staley had a history of using synthetic drugs.

Killed in the crash were: Meagan Richardson, 19, of Wylie; Katelynn Woodlee, 18, of Windom; Jaiden Pelton, 20, of Telephone; and Brooke Deckard, 20, of Scurry.

Reached by telephone Friday, Russell Staley’s current wife said that she and her husband had no comment on either matter.

Deanna Boyd: 817-390-7655, @deannaboyd