Tracey Martin, the attorney for Vaden, 22, Carl Junction, who is charged with second degree murder and felony child abuse for the murder of three-year-old Jayda Kyle, filed a motion Friday asking for Dankelson to recuse himself because of his close relationship with Jayda's maternal grandfather Judd McPherson and with Carl Junction Police Chief Delmar Haase whose department investigated the murder.
Dankelson insisted this morning that he did not have a close relationship with McPherson and while he and Haase are friends they do not go to each other's homes or attend social gatherings together.
Dankelson also pointed out that McPherson's name was not even on the witness list. That comes as something of a surprise, since McPherson's wife Carmen is listed. The witness list was filed in Jasper County Circuit Court today.
Though, Haase's name is on the witness list, Dankelson said it did not matter because the murder investigation was almost immediately turned over to the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.
That assertion seems to be at odds with the witness list which shows eight Carl Junction police officers, including Haase, listed as witnesses.
The refusal to recuse was a bit unexpected since normally ethical judges will err on the side of caution when asked to recuse themselves from cases in which there is even a hint of a conflict of interest.
In this case, the result was the same. After Dankelson's refusal to recuse, Martin asked for a change of judge, which under Missouri law is granted automatically.
Essentially, Dankelson's initial refusal meant that Martin will no longer have the ability to request an automatic change of judge, though she retains the right to ask for a change of judge for cause.
The next hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. February 5 before Judge David Mouton.
Jalen Vaden's lawyer asks for change of judge, cites Dankelson's close relationship with Judd McPherson
Jalen Vaden bond decision delayed, preliminary hearing waived
Accused killer of Jayda Kyle to waive preliminary hearing
Bond motion filed for accused killer of three-year-old Jayda Kyle
Jasper County Sheriff: We are still investigating Jayda Kyle's death
Children's Division documents: Grandfather attempting to manipulate Jayda Kyle murder investigation
Juvenile Office documents: Jayda Kyle suffered bleeding from brain, severely torn retina, probably already brain dead when she arrived in K. C.
Some thoughts on the Joplin Globe's article on the Jayda Kyle murder investigation
Probable cause: Carl Junction man abused three-year-old, left her on the floor bloody, unconscious
Jayda Kyle obituary